Finalist, 2002 National Book Award
Finalist, 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award
Synopses & Reviews
In The Last American Man
, acclaimed journalist and fiction writer Elizabeth Gilbert offers a fresh cultural examination of contemporary American male identity and the uniquely American desire to return to the wilderness.
Gilbert explores what pushed men to settle the frontier West in the nineteenth century and delves into the history of American utopian communities. But her primary focus is on the fascinating true story of Eustace Conway, who left his comfortable suburban home at the age of seventeen to move into the Appalachian Mountains, where for the last twenty years he has lived off the land.
Conway's romantic character challenges all our assumptions about what it means to be a man today; he is a symbol of much that we feel our men should be, but rarely are. From his example, Gilbert delivers an intriguing exploration into the meaning of American manhood and-from the point of view of a woman-refracts masculine American identity in all its conflicting elements. Like Jon Krakauer's national bestseller Into the Wild, this book will find an enthusiastic audience among women, readers of American history, and those interested in nature and the wild.
"Gilbert has a jaunty, breathless style, and she paints a complicated portrait of American maleness that is as original as it is surprising." Publishers Weekly
"Gilbert, a top-notch journalist and fiction writer, braids keen and provocative observations about the American frontier, the myth of the mountain man, and the peculiar state of contemporary America with its 'profound alienation' from nature into her spirited and canny portrait." Donna Seaman, Booklist
Wickedly well-written... There are two parts to The Last American Man: Conways personal story, which is fascinating enough, and the way it entwines with the American preoccupation with robust, can-do masculinity. James Gorman, The New York Times Book Review (Editors Choice)
"Elizabeth Gilbert has done a marvelous job of profiling Eustace Conway a modern-day Jim Bridger whose every hour roaming American is laden with mythological magic. The Last American Man is, in fact, the best book of New Journalism to appear since Tom Wolfe published The Right Stuff. A truly delightful, outrageous, unforgettable saga." Douglas Brinkley
Acclaimed journalist and fiction writer Gilbert focuses on the fascinating true story of Eustace Conway, who left his comfortable suburban home at the age of 17 to move into the Appalachian Mountains, where for the last 20 years he has lived off the land.
About the Author
Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, and several other internationally bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction. Gilbert began her career writing for Harper's Bazaar, Spin, The New York Times Magazine and GQ, and was a three-time finalist for the National Magazine Award. Her story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award; The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The follow-up memoir Committed became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. Her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, was named a Best Book of 2013 by The New York Times, O Magazine, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The New Yorker. Gilbert's short fiction has appeared in Esquire, Story, One Story, and the Paris Review.