Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship
By Tom Ryan
(William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780061997105, 288pp.)
Publication Date: September 2011
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In the mountains Atticus became more of what hed always been, and I became lessless frantic, less stressed, less worried, and less harried. I felt comfortable letting him lead, and he seemed to know what I needed. He always chose the best route, if ever there was a question, and my only job was to follow.
Middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan and miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshires four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. In a rare test of endurance, Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. Little did they know that their most difficult test would lie ahead, after they returned home. . . .
At the heart of this remarkable journey is an extraordinary relationship that blurs the line between man and dog, an indelible bond that began when Tom, following the advice of Atticuss breeder, carried the pup wherever he went for the first month of their life together. Following Atticus is ultimately a story of transformation: how a five-pound puppy pierced the heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman, opening his eyes to the worlds beauty and its possibilities. It was a change that led to a new life among the mountains; an unforgettable saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family; and an inspiring tale of finding love and discovering your true self.
Tom Ryan is the founder of the Newburyport, Massachusetts, newspaper the Undertoad and served as its publisher and editor for more than a decade. In 2007 he moved to the White Mountains of New Hampshire with miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch. Over the last five years, Tom and Atticus have climbed more than 450 four-thousand-foot peaks. After raising thousands of dollars for Angell Animal Medical Center in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, the pair was inducted into the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Hall of Fame. Tom currently writes the popular The Adventures of Tom & Atticus column in the Northcountry News and Mountainside Guide, and the blog The Adventures of Tom & Atticus. Tom and Atticus live in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
“Exceptionally evocative writing and [an] engaging story . . . this is a book that can be read more than once. Inspirational and heart-warming.”
“Lyrical. . . . rivetingly portrayed . . . [a] touching chronicle.”
“Heartwarming, surprisingly suspenseful. . . . Part adventure story, part memoir, but most important, a love story . . . [an] entertaining and joyous book.”
“How can you go wrong with a cute little dog who braved the White Mountains’ highest peaks time and again…over the ice, snow and sometimes deadly uncertainty of wild winter altitude in New Hampshire? Far more than just a typical man–and–his–dog account…Ryan and Atticus have delivered on all counts.”
-Manchester Union Leader
“Need your faith in humanity restored? Read this book. It’s lovely to learn about our higher selves from an unlikely source like Atticus M. Finch.”
-The Day (Connecticut)
“Not your standard mountain adventure book. . . . Reading Following Atticus can feel like taking a long walk, or a series of walks, with a great storyteller. Why ‘follow Atticus?’ Because, [Ryan says], ‘Dogs, like mountains, bring you back to yourself.’”
#2 New England Bestseller List
“Ryan . . . is an engaging storyteller whose humorous, self-deprecating descriptions evoke Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering American on the Appalachian Trail and John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America.”
#5 Boston Globe bestseller