Historic Summer Reads
Historic Summer Reads

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE IN TO THE nuanced stories of American history along the A.T. this summer. Our picks will send you back in time — and maybe inspire you to plan a future visit to a hallowed place of historical significance in the Wild East.

Hiking through History: Civil War Sites on the Appalachian Trail
By Leanna Joyner
Our featured pick, Hiking through History: Civil War Sites on the Appalachian Trail, was written to “share the history of place with Appalachian Trail lovers, and to share the A.T. with history lovers,” says author Leanna Joyner. “I knew from my own experience as a 2,000-miler who hiked the length of the Trail from Georgia to Maine in 2003, that history was easy to overlook in the midst of the physical and present-moment experience of long-distance hiking.” Her book meets the typical hiker’s tactile experience of the Trail with knowledge that deepens one’s appreciation of what happened here. “Rather than presenting a lot of regiment details or the minutia of military operations, it captures the purpose, action, and outcomes in a way that brings to life the moments that shaped our American history that we get to explore on our Appalachian Trail,” says Joyner who — while not initially a history buff — made it her goal to connect the past with the footpath. “I did that by presenting pieces of stories that have never been told before in A.T. guides, described ways that the landscape looked, then compared to how we see it now, and described the characters who knew the land before it was ever imagined as part of this long-distance trail,” she says.

Sparked by her research, Joyner set out on hikes to retrace the steps of regiments, United States presidents, and freed slaves. Other hikes she included offer the perspective from the height of land to see the paths of advance or retreat where armies traveled. Together, there are 25 hikes in the book, giving readers the opportunity to explore both the history and the beauty of the A.T.

More Historical Reads Available at the A.T. Store:
Underfoot: A Geologic Guide to the Appalachian Trail
By V. Collins Chew
The only A.T. guidebook of its kind offering a step-by-step tour of the geologic features and background on how the Appalachian Mountains developed over billions of years.
A Walker’s Guide to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
By David T. Gibert
A comprehensive guidebook to walking tours of Lower Town Harpers Ferry, Virginius Island, Maryland Heights, and Loudoun Heights that provides visitors a glimpse into Harpers Ferry’s past, from historic floods to the Civil War as well as details on historical structures.
Walking with the Ghost Whisperers, Lore and Legends of the Appalachian Trail
By J.R. “Model-T” Tat
Scores of stories take you across the threshold of American history and make the A.T. come alive in your mind’s eye, through lore, legends, and anecdotes that spark the imagination and help you truly realize what it means “to see what you see.
Civil War Battlefields: Walking the Trails of History
By David T. Gilbert
Rarely seen archival photos, maps, and stunning contemporary photography. This information-packed book explores more than 30 Civil War battlefields — from Antietam to Chancellorsville, Gettysburg to Shiloh — including the first five national battlefield parks preserved by veterans in the 1890s.
Images of America Along the Appalachian Trail
By Leonard M. Adkins and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
A series of six books with many never-before-published vintage photographs, their back stories, and the history along the A.T. in their regions:
Along Maine’s Appalachian Trail*
Along the Appalachian Trail in Georgia,
North Carolina & Tennessee
North Carolina & Tennessee
Along the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia,
Maryland and Pennsylvania
Along the Appalachian Trail:
Massachusetts, Vermont, and
New Hampshire
Along the Appalachian Trail:
New Jersey, New York & Connecticut
Along Virginia’s Appalachian Trail
*By David B. Field

Purchase one of these great reads at: