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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Jon Krakauer uses journal entries, letters, maps, and interviews to tell the true story of Chris McCandless, who gave away his possessions and walked into the Alaskan wilderness—only to meet his death a few months later. McCandless himself was a fascinating character: He was a stubbornly idealistic loner, but he charmed and inspired everyone he met, from the drivers who picked him up hitchhiking to a lonely 80-year-old man who offered to adopt him. Krakauer’s thought-provoking book wonders whether McCandless should be remembered as a modern-day John Muir or just a foolhardy and arrogant young man. It’s a must-read for lovers of real-life survival stories.
After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he went to live in the wilderness. Four months later, he turned up dead. His diary, letters and two notes found at a remote campsite tell of his desperate effort to survive, apparently stranded by an injury and slowly starving. They also reflect the posturing of a confused young man, raised in affluent Annandale, Va., who self-consciously adopted a Tolstoyan renunciation of wealth and return to nature. Krakauer, a contributing editor to Outside and Men's Journal, retraces McCandless's ill-fated antagonism toward his father, Walt, an eminent aerospace engineer. Krakauer also draws parallels to his own reckless youthful exploit in 1977 when he climbed Devils Thumb, a mountain on the Alaska-British Columbia border, partly as a symbolic act of rebellion against his autocratic father. In a moving narrative, Krakauer probes the mystery of McCandless's death, which he attributes to logistical blunders and to accidental poisoning from eating toxic seed pods. Maps. 35,000 first printing; author tour.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A beautiful tragedy
Stunning, inspiring,beautiful and tragic. At once the author shows us the best of humanity's aspirations and will and the hollow sadness of our hubris and folly. Here is a work where you can't help but admire it's focus Mr. McCandless while also pitying the ignorance and confusion that lead him to seek some form of truth in a deadly environment. The novel presents these contradictions in a very human centered tour de force. A must read.
BEST BOOK EVER
I loved this book so much! I have so many amazing quotes out of this book. I write them down to motivate me. As a person who loves the out doors this book is PERFECT. also I believe that when the author put in his own life stories of climbing was a little edgy but he did it in such a good way I can't complain [ thus the five stars ]. Also some people think that chris was mentally ill. He wasn't. He was a college educated young man who had a education so he knew exactly what he was doing. He was living in the confides of a secure life style, which he did not enjoy. This was his calling. The wild. Just has a horn player knows it's his passion from the first time he picks it up. Or when a swimmer jumps into a pool and has natural talent. This was what he wanted. One if his famous quotes are " there is nothing more damaging to a mans spirit then a secure future." I live by those words. Chris was a man. Not a pycho not a freak not ill. He was original. He actlly went outside he wanted to get dirty he enjoyed his solitary. You might call him a pilgrim perhaps. That is my review great book. Not crazy. Enjoy :)
The author did a wonderful job at documenting mcandless' journey. He even related his own life into several chapters, in an attempt to relate to chris mcandless...a man who died before the author could have met him. The book has inspired me to backpack around the world...which I'm doing right now!