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The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert


The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert

At the age of seventeen, Eustace Conway ditched the comforts of his suburban existence to escape to the wild. Away from the crushing disapproval of his father, he lived alone in a teepee in the mountains. Everything he needed he built, grew or killed. He made his clothes from deer he killed and skinned before using their sinew as sewing thread. But he didn't stop there. In the years that followed, he stopped at nothing in pursuit of bigger, bolder challenges. He travelled the Mississippi in a handmade wooden canoe; he walked the two-thousand-mile Appalachian Trail; he hiked across the German Alps in trainers; he scaled cliffs in New Zealand. One Christmas, he finished dinner with his family and promptly upped and left - to ride his horse across America. From South Carolina to the Pacific, with his little brother in tow, they dodged cars on the highways, ate road kill and slept on the hard ground. Now, more than twenty years on, Eustace is still in the mountains, residing in a thousand-acre forest where he teaches survival skills and attempts to instil in people a deeper appreciation of nature. But over time he has had to reconcile his ambitious dreams with the sobering realities of modernity. Told with Elizabeth Gilbert's trademark wit and spirit, this is a fascinating, intimate portrait of an endlessly complicated man: a visionary, a narcissist, a brilliant but flawed modern hero. The Last American Man is an unforgettable adventure story of an irrepressible life lived to the extreme. The Last American Man is a New York Times Notable Book and National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist.


'It is almost impossible not to fall under the spell of Eustace Conway

his accomplishments, his joy and vigor, seem almost miraculous'
New York Times Review of Books

'A vigorous, engaging book

Elizabeth Gilbert presents a warts-and-all portrait of Mr. Conway and a sophisticated understanding of why those warts are only natural'
The New York Times

'A vivid, nuanced portrait of an endlessly complicated man'
San Francisco Chronicle

'Gilbert artfully taps into this unique life to create a fascinating, deeply-thought-out and enthralling narrative'
Los Angeles Times

About the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of a short story collection, Pilgrims (a finalist for the PEN/Hemmingway Award), a novel, Stern Men and a book of non fiction, The Last American Man (nominated for the National Book Award and a New York Times Notable Book for 2002). She is a writer-at-large for American GQ where she has received two National Magazine Award nominations for feature writing.

Elizabeth Gilbert currently lives in Philadelphia.

Photograph © Marion Ettlinger

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Book Info

Publication date

1st April 2009


Elizabeth Gilbert

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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


288 pages


Biography: general
Natural history



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