"Terrifying... Eloquent... A heart-rending drama of human yearning." --New York Times
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. 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 Christopher Johnson 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.
Just read it. Something so simple could cost you so much.55
Exhaustively researched account of the life and death of Chris MaCandless trek into the Alaskan bush. At times repetitive but always kept my interest. Kept thinking what a tragic legacy to leave behind as his epitaph. But Chris did it all his way, stubbornly refusing help that might have kept him alive.45
I became aware of this book and the story of Chris’ disappearance in 2016 while I was touring in Alaska. I was intrigued because we went through the area where he was last seen and the tour guide mentioned it as did a few others in places we stopped. Reading this book I was interested in all the other described locations as we’ve also been along the Colorado, Salton Sea, Joshua Tree area so I could envision his situation wandering and living in those locations. Clearly Krakauer did tremendous research, and worked to understand all the details of the trek Chris was on. It’s an adventure story yes, but not in the usual way that they are exhilarating or scary or triumphant. This book left me still questioning, not what happened, as it became apparent, but the “why” of the life he chose. He seemed to abandon all normalcy and a regular life for the life of a nomadic drifter, and the why he did that still remains unknown. It seems like such a wasted life.35
This is now my favorite book, Jon did an amazing job of sharing Chris’ journey. Excited to read The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless next!55
Self indulgent personal insight ruins the story. There could be so much more as to the why and when.15
Absolutely changed my life. Inspired me to buy an RV and travel full time.55
This story in general is really intriguing and leaves you wondering about McCandless. I wasn't a huge fan of how this was written and wish that the personal insight from the author wasn't included and the comparisons of McCandless and others who ventured into the wilderness felt like fillers for the book. I appreciate the light that krakauer was trying to paint Chris in but the writing style was a little hard to follow and a bit repetitive for me.25
I really enjoyed this book. I can see my self reading this one again.55
Great read and very well written. The movie fell short of all the other crucial details to Chris' journey. Must read if you loved the movie.55