I immediately liked Keith from the first few lines of the book. Not only did he live in West Sussex, where I spent a good deal of my early life but he is a Spurs fan as well. A good start to the book for me even before the walking started.
The Last Englishman, the reason for the title of the book reveals itself later on, is an entertaining and absorbing story of Keith Foskett’s (Fossie) 2650 mile hike along the complete length of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) running from the Mexican border with the USA to the Canadian border. The book was short listed last year for Outdoor Book of the Year by the Great Outdoors Magazine.
Of course there are many such books which tell the tale of a long journey and some keep the reader wanting more as your progress through the book and other accounts end up a “long journey” reading them. Fortunately Keith’s book is in the former category.
Keith is a good story teller and the book is a lot more than a journal of day to day hiking a long distance trail. It is pretty funny from his concerns about bears and rattlesnakes to putting down difficult restaurant/bar employees.
I was amazed how many other hikers Keith met on the way and how many he hooked up with and camped with or stayed in small hotels when taking a “zero” in town. A zero is a day off when you do zero miles. However for a good part of the journey he walked with one or two hikers that he became close friends with.
I found the book made you want to get out and go backpacking. I would love to try and do an extended backpack, but the reality of running a business and family life prevents me from dedicating a big chunk of time to this – so I always admire a person who doesn’t follow the norm. Books like the Last Englishman allow me at least some exposure to what it would be like to walk for weeks at a time carrying just what you need for that journey on your back.
Whilst I am sure the cost of incorporating photos in a book which is self published would increase the overall price of the book, I do believe it would have added significantly to the reader’s experience of the journey. You can however found photos of the journey on Keith’s website along with tips, advice and a gear list.
The book costs me £8.96 from Amazon. Here is the link