The Longest Walk chronicles the epic unbroken walk of a British merchant seaman-turned-independent-adventurer, George Meegan, from the bottom of South America to the top of North America, which took place 1977-1983. Many Guinness Records were set on the 19,019-mile journey--he also got married and fathered two children during the hike--but the significance of his feat is found in the intrepid spirit of Mr. Meegan himself: One reviewer has called the story 'transcendent;' there is no better word to describe it.
By pushing himself toward his dream, overcoming obstacles that boggle the mind, escaping grim death many times, enduring discomforts that are difficult even to read, interacting with innumerable people (many supportive and kind, many incredibly hostile), embracing presidents and pawns with the same cheerful countenance... George Meegan is the true-blue, real McCoy, all-American dreamer (for some unfathomable reason he adores and adopts America as his soul-country) who is a respected role model for everyone human--and an ET or two.
This is an unforgettable story about an unforgettable journey of an unforgettable noble soul. It will stir you to the depths of your being. You will hate for the story to end. You will come away from the reading wanting to live up to the trite saying that we all heard a hundred times growing up--and which George's exploit embodies: "making this a far better world in which to live."
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From John Taylor Gatto:
George Meegan was twenty-five years old and an elementary school dropout, a British merchant seaman when he decided to take the longest walk in human history, without any special equipment, foundation bankroll, or backing of any kind. Leaving his ship in South America he made his way to Tierra del Fuego alone and just began to walk. Seven years later after crossing the Andes, making his way through the trackless Darien Gap, and after taking a long detour on foot to see Washington, D.C., he arrived at the Arctic Ocean with a wife he met and married along the way, and their two children. In that instant, part of the high academic story of human migrations received its death blow from a dropout. His book, The Longest Walk, was first published in 1982.
His second book, Democracy Reaches the Kids!, is a testament to George's mission and destiny in life to retool, rekindle the joy of learning in all the children in all the cultures of the world. To preserve and flower those vast treasures.
You can find a thorough encyclopedic entry for Mr. Meegan at Wikipedia.
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