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Extended Audio Sample The Last American Man Audiobook, by Elizabeth Gilbert Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.69 out of 53.69 out of 53.69 out of 53.69 out of 53.69 out of 5 3.69 (36 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elizabeth Gilbert Narrator: Patricia Kalember Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2009 ISBN: 9781101154472
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In this rousing examination of contemporary American male identity, acclaimed author and journalist Elizabeth Gilbert explores the fascinating true story of Eustace Conway. In 1977, at the age of seventeen, Conway left his family’s comfortable suburban home to move to the Appalachian Mountains. For more than two decades he has lived there, making fire with sticks, wearing skins from animals he trapped, and trying to convince Americans to give up their materialistic lifestyles and return with him back to nature.

To Gilbert, Conway's mythical character challenges all our assumptions about what it is to be a modern man in America; he is a symbol of much we feel about how our men should be, but rarely are.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Wickedly well-written…Without compromising her obvious admiration, Ms. Gilbert presents a warts-and-all portrait of Mr. Conway and a sophisticated understanding of why those warts are only natural…A vigorous, engaging book.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Gilbert artfully taps into this unique life to create a fascinating, deeply thought-out, and enthralling narrative.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A vivid, nuanced portrait of an endlessly complicated man.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • The Last American Man relates the riveting story of Conway’s odyssey from a child of affluent parents, to mountain man, to the owner of 1,000 acres of woods and fields in western North Carolina. Gilbert sees in Conway’s life a parable for our time, a way of capturing how our culture is sapping us of all that is vital.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “There are so many reasons to read this book. Read it for the portrait of a man who isn’t divorced from the land below and the sky above. Read it to watch his youthful ambitions fade into tired gasps. Read it to see how Gilbert gets at her subject without ever stabbing him in the back.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Conway is a character almost too good to believe…In Gilbert, he may have found the perfect writer to tell his story…From Conway’s life, Gilbert takes off on delightful tangents about the nature of manhood, the appeal of utopian communities, the history of the frontier, and the lingering myth of the frontiersman. The subject becomes much broader than one man’s life. It’s about what has been lost with progress, and what can be reclaimed.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “An important book, and well-wrought to boot…Gilbert just plain catches him: It is hard to imagine a deeper, more insightful portrait…Her book is wise and knowing.”

    Men’s Journal

  • “The finest examination of American masculinity and wilderness since Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild.”

    Outside

  • A 2002 National Book Award Finalist
  • A 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elise | 2/13/2014

    " don't expect to like the main guy in this book.. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amron | 2/12/2014

    " Eustace Conway as the last frontiersman of the nation. He wields incredible skill and commitment to being a Davy Crockett of this century. A true story, from a great writer and friend of the subject. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mike Riley | 2/1/2014

    " Good ideals, but questionable motives and personality "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rexanne Emigh | 1/30/2014

    " What an interesting character "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ronald Jr. | 1/30/2014

    " The book made some good points on how today's man is so out of tune with nature and doing things with his hands. But it also depicts that man is man, and although living in nature and doing things for himself, the battle in his mind and with the people in his life continue. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hope Sherman | 1/28/2014

    " what a gem - great surprise - killer story, so interesting, had to check him out Eustace on google afterwards. he is for real! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 cynthia Clark | 1/24/2014

    " A very in-depth portrait of a perfectionist naturalistic man full of paradox. He abhors society and yet can't seem stay out of the public spotlight. He accomplishes amazing feats and yet what he wants most (love) is unattainable because of the rigorously high standards he places on himself and others. Also some interested insight on modern american male psychology - the frontier is gone; how are men to focus their primal instincts? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erik | 1/10/2014

    " An interesting read, the story of a true "Mountain Man" who has chosen a life off of the land. Very interesting, though it did seem to drag on in places. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracey Dunning | 1/4/2014

    " very interesting biographical book about a guy who has no hope for american men and lives his life off of the land. Had some good humorous stories in it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 12/31/2013

    " It is a great book. The amazing bio of a man that is more natural than most of us know; certainly me. He is an man worth knowing. If not in person by this book. The author is his friend and knows him. READ IT. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne Kadet | 12/19/2013

    " Funny and thinky, nutty and chewy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Maszczak | 11/28/2013

    " This is a wonderful read. A great story about an eccentric yet passionate man. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kyle Kent | 10/27/2013

    " The writing style was fantastic, but I really couldn't empathize with Eustace at all. That made me feel really detached from the stories told. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nhd110 | 10/6/2013

    " Loving this lesser known book by Elizabeth Gilbert- it's the only book that has ever explained the male psyche to me so completely "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erin Knuth | 10/4/2013

    " Eustace is an unlikable person, however Gilbert wants to paint him. Had no desire to finish the book and see where/how he ended up. Enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love immeasurably more! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 6/2/2013

    " This is my favorite of Gilbert's books. I read it years ago and was completely drawn into this strange man's life. She is a master at describing people, at completely immersing herself in a subject or in a person's story and then telling it in her own voice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy Hollister | 4/30/2013

    " Loved the life that a true American man lived, Eustis Conroy sets an example of how life was and brings in elements of what it should be. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeff Goodman | 4/25/2013

    " bored, abandoned it 3/4 of the way through "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Coalbanks | 4/3/2013

    " Eccentricity & rugged individualism come at a price. Society will tolerate some very strange characters as long as they stay out of the public eye & don't write too many letters to the editor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie | 3/25/2013

    " Fascinating, hilarious, and a little sad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 2/12/2013

    " Well written, however the subject is just flat out nuts. I mean, yeah he is cool and what every boy wants to be. But everyone should grow up. dumpster diving is disgusting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brionna | 11/22/2012

    " Fascinating story of Eustace Conway!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 8/29/2012

    " love gilbert... didn't love her main character "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 4/8/2012

    " Eustace has problems, is flawed, greatly, but at the same time is AMAZING. Forget Eat, Pray, Love, it's almost a waste of time, Elizabeth Gilbert outdoes herself with The Last American Man. A must read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 2/17/2012

    " Well written, entertaining and presented some great things to question. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison Brewer | 9/22/2011

    " Very interesting and entertaining autobiography! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna Shartzer | 6/6/2011

    " This is the biography of naturalist/survivalist who lives in the mountains around Boone, NC. It's by the same author as Eat, Pray, Love. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julianne | 3/31/2011

    " This was a great book, a true story, it was excellent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/25/2011

    " This is a really interesting book about a man who taught himself to survive in the wilds of North Carolina. The psychological profile is fascinating. Gilbert is a fine journalist. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 3/17/2011

    " This book really touched me. It's about wanting more......... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 3/1/2011

    " This is my favorite of Gilbert's books. I read it years ago and was completely drawn into this strange man's life. She is a master at describing people, at completely immersing herself in a subject or in a person's story and then telling it in her own voice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 2/2/2011

    " I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Eustace Conway. What an incredible man. If I accomplish one of the things that he has done in his life I would probably be live a pretty satisfied life. He has incredible determination. I learned a lot from him just by reading his book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynne | 1/29/2011

    " LOVED it, could hardly put it down! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 1/28/2011

    " A wild man's look into what it might mean to be a real American man. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robert | 1/26/2011

    " Eustace Conway is a remarkable man. I wish I had half of his motivation and skill. I have a great deal of respect for him and revere his story and long list of accomplishments. That said, he is a colossal dickhead, and I would not want to be around him. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kevin | 1/11/2011

    " Very interesting story/main character but the writing can be pretentious at times (most of the time really). "

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About the Author
Author Elizabeth GilbertElizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big MagicEat Pray Love and several other internationally bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction. Gilbert began her career writing for Harper's BazaarSpin, The New York Times Magazineand 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 inEsquire, Story, One Story, and the Paris Review.
About the Narrator

Patricia Kathryn Kalember is an American actress best known for her role as Georgiana “Georgie” Reed Whitsig in the NBC drama series, Sisters. Kalember also had the leading roles in a number of television films and co-starred in several feature films including Fletch Lives, Signs, The Company Men, and Limitless, as well as recurring roles in the TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.