To Hell and High Water tells the story of the quest of two brothers to conquer the extreme conditions of outback Australia, recreating the Bourke to Hungerford `tramp' that influenced some of Australian literary legend Henry Lawson's greatest works. The book is part autobiography and part biography. It is an autobiography of the author's experiences with his brother overcoming significant obstacles to achieve his dream of walking in Lawson's footsteps. It paints a vivid picture of some of Australia's most remote country, the challenges and dangers, the heat, the distance, mosquitoes, blisters and thirst. At the same time it blends in the biography of Henry Lawson's captivating life including his marriage, struggles with alcoholism, his suicide attempt, influences upon his writing and his ideals of mateship. Extracts of Lawson's own writing have been carefully selected and woven into the narrative in a manner that draws parallels between the two experiences and offers fresh insights into his life.
Gregory Bryan is a professor in literacy education who has co-authored a number of books and articles and presented at conferences across Australia and the world. His knowledge of Henry Lawson’s life and appreciation of the quality and significance of his writing are borne of a lifetime of study of his life and works. Bryan is passionate about Australia’s natural and social history. Together with his brother, in 2011, he became the first person ever to recreate Henry Lawson’s 1893 walk from Bourke to Hungerford and back.