Into the Wild

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Anchor Books, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 207 pages
2631 Reviews
In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.  How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir.  In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his  cash.  He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented.  Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away.  Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

Jon Krakauer constructs a clarifying prism through which he reassembles the disquieting facts of McCandless's short life.  Admitting an interst that borders on obsession, he searches for the clues to the dries and desires that propelled McCandless.  Digging deeply, he takes an inherently compelling mystery and unravels the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

When McCandless's innocent mistakes turn out to be irreversible and fatal, he becomes the stuff of tabloid headlines and is dismissed for his naiveté, pretensions, and hubris.  He is said  to have had a death wish but wanting to die is a very different thing from being compelled to look over the edge. Krakauer brings McCandless's uncompromising pilgrimage out of the shadows, and the peril, adversity , and renunciation sought by this enigmatic young man are illuminated with a rare understanding--and not an ounce of sentimentality. Mesmerizing, heartbreaking, Into the Wild is a tour de force. The power and luminosity of Jon Krakauer's stoytelling blaze through every page.

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The writing was good and well-researched. - Goodreads
Chris had a dream, sadly it had a sad ending. - Goodreads
A great read with excellently effortless prose. - Goodreads
I think Krakaur is a pompous, self-posessed writer. - Goodreads
interesting insight into a different live style. - Goodreads
natural selection at its finest - Goodreads
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Author is able to re-shape a tragedy into an insightful exploration of a young man's inner life. He chose his own path, and some bad luck did him in. By the end of this story, we no longer blame him, feel sorry for him, nor wish to follow him. But we are glad to have known him, vicariously, through this book. Bought at Dulles Airport 11/15/07. Finished 11/16.  

Review: Into the Wild

User Review  - Jessica Zendejas - Goodreads

I read this for my English class. It was, how should I put this, weird. I think that the main character was incredibly stupid. Not adventurous or independent but stupid! This book is basically a documentary, not my type of genre. Read full review

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About the author (1996)

Jon Krakauer was born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1954. He received a degree in environmental studies from Hampshire College in Massachusetts in 1976. He worked as a carpenter and fisherman. He also wrote articles on mountain climbing, which appeared in several publications including GQ, National Geographic, Architectural Digest, Playboy, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone. In 1996, he climbed Mt. Everest, but a storm took the lives of four of the five teammates who reached the summit with him. An analysis of the calamity he wrote for Outside magazine received a National Magazine Award. An article he wrote for Smithsonian about volcanology received the 1997 Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism. He is the author of several books including Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, When Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, and Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way. His book, Into the Wild, was made into a movie in 2007. His book, Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, was a 2015 New York Times bestseller.

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