Trespassing Across America

  • by Ken Ilgunas
  • Narrated by Andrew Eiden
  • 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Told with sincerity, humor, and wit, Trespassing Across America is both a fascinating account of one man's remarkable journey along the Keystone XL pipeline and a meditation on climate change, the beauty of the natural world, and the extremes to which we can push ourselves - both physically and mentally.
It started as a far-fetched idea - to hike the entire length of the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline. But in the months that followed, it grew into something more for Ken Ilgunas.
It became an irresistible adventure - an opportunity not only to draw attention to global warming but to explore his personal limits. So in September 2012, he strapped on his backpack, stuck out his thumb on the interstate just north of Denver, Colorado, and hitchhiked 1,500 miles to the Alberta tar sands. Once there, he turned around and began his 1,900-mile trek to the XL's endpoint on the Gulf Coast of Texas, a journey he would complete entirely on foot, almost exclusively walking across private property.
Both a travel memoir and a reflection on climate change, Trespassing Across America is filled with colorful characters, harrowing physical trials, and strange encounters with the weather, terrain, and animals of America's plains. A tribute to the Great Plains and the people who live there, Ilgunas' memoir grapples with difficult questions about our place in the world: What is our personal responsibility as stewards of the land? As members of a rapidly warming planet? As mere individuals up against something as powerful as the fossil fuel industry? Ultimately, Trespassing Across America is a call to embrace the belief that a life lived not half wild is a life only half lived.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Exasperating Journey

I thought this would be an inspiring tale of man, personal limits, nature's beauty, and a call to really think about how our habits and oil consumption affect our fellow man and the earth. Instead it's a diatribe by a man who 1) calls attention to how cattle ranches/cattle contribute to global warming (true), but who downs cheeseburgers like there's no tomorrow; 2) Is anti-oil, but glosses over how it's kind of necessary if you're receiving care packages via air through the mail, and if your clothes are made from petroleum-based fabrics; 3) Rails about what we've done to the buffalo, but chaws and chews on buffalo jerky; 4) Is really peeved that there are so many "No Trespassing" signs to keep strangers off land, but who goes to great lengths to put distance between himself and strangers he (admittedly) knee-jerk distrusts.
There is some seriously good stuff here: Ken's relationship to cows is pathologically funny. They're referred to as "gangs of cows," and he's ultra-paranoid, though he's been told: "You DO know they're herbivores, right?" And the few bits of nature and creatures are well-written. Andrew Eiden's narration is decent, but it neither detracts nor adds to anything.
I get it; really, I do, Ken. Changes need to be made (although, in the last 20 mins. you kinda sorta question that... ?!? What was the book about then?), and I honestly respect your trek. But I really would've liked a bit more on the beauty, the life we'd like to preserve. And respect for our fellow man. Please stop calling people idiots; it doesn't serve the movement well. Especially not when so many people helped you.
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- Gillian

Overall worth the read

I found this book randomly while searching for bikepacking guides, and I've been listening to it on my train and walking commute in NYC. It has been a highlight of my last few weeks, and I definitely caught some of the book's own nostalgia as I neared the end. There are a few sections that could have been pared down or left out (especially self-effacing or ego-centric journal entry-type narratives, although sometimes endearing). At other times one wonders if the author would have more authentic and interesting conversations if he just grew a spine and was more up-front with his interlocutors. But just as I would get frustrated, I would stumble on wonderfully entertaining writing and some truly enlightened insights. Ilgunas holds very little back, and curing these defects would definitely make a different book. As a millennial, I identified with the strengths and weaknesses and inner thoughts of the author, which made it a truly meaningful read. I will also miss the Plains!
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- Taryn Arbeiter

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-19-2016
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.