Into the Wild

Into the Wild

4.1 879
by Jon Krakauer

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In a compelling book that evokes the writings of Thoreau, Muir, and Jack London, Krakauer recounts the haunting and tragic mystery of 22-year-old Chris McCandless who disappeared in April 1992 into the Alaskan wilderness in search of a raw, transcendent experience. His emaciated corpse was discovered four months later. Maps. NPR sponsorship.  See more details below


In a compelling book that evokes the writings of Thoreau, Muir, and Jack London, Krakauer recounts the haunting and tragic mystery of 22-year-old Chris McCandless who disappeared in April 1992 into the Alaskan wilderness in search of a raw, transcendent experience. His emaciated corpse was discovered four months later. Maps. NPR sponsorship.

Editorial Reviews

Portland Oregonian
Haunting...few outdoor writers can match Krakauer for bringing outside adventure to life on the page.
San Francisco Chronicle
Compelling and tragic...Hard to put down.
Entertainment Weekly
It may be nonfiction, but Into the Wild is a mystery of the highest order.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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, Virginia, 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' 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' death, which he attributes to logistical blunders and to accidental poisoning from eating toxic seed pods.
Gilbert Taylor
Some Alaskans reacted contemptuously to Krakauer's magazine article about a young man who starved to death one summer in the shadow of Denali. Chris McCandless was an idealistic fool, they said. He didn't equip himself properly, couldn't tell moose from caribou, didn't know Alaskan rivers become unfordable torrents in the summer melt: hubristic ignorance dictated his fate. Such acid responses won't greet this book-length expansion of the article, a drama constructed deftly enough to earn a place in the canon of American nature writing. First, there is mystery: the emaciated body found in September 1992 in a bus-hut had no identity papers, just a name and a terse diary of final days. Then there is the question of personal identity: What existential longing led the twentysomething McCandless to that bus and at what cost to himself and his family? And finally, there is the majestic stage set of the American Far West, which Krakauer draws on to create his lyrical, mesmerizing testament to McCandless' odyssey. Krakauer starts with the discovery of McCandless' body and works backward, revealing that McCandless graduated from Emory University, severed contact with his family, assumed the alias 'Alexander Supertramp,' and began two years of vagabondage in search of Truth in living as advocated by Thoreau and Tolstoy, of whose works 'Alex' was enamored. His earnestness indelibly impressed the itinerants he easily befriended -- whom he, in truth, somewhat callously jettisoned -- as Krakauer reveals throughout this sensitive narrative. A moving story that reiterates the bewitching attraction of the Far West.
Voice Literary Supplement
A clear refinement of character, spirit, peace.
The Portland Oregonian
Haunting...few outdoor writers can match Krakauer for bringing outside adventure to life on the page.
The Seattle Times absorbing story.
The New York Times
Terrifying...eloquent...A heart-rending drama of human yearning.
The Washington Post
Gripping stuff...a detailed narrative of arresting force.
LA Times Book Review
Engrossing...with a telling eye for detail, Krakauer has captured the sad saga of a stubborn, idealistic young man.

In mid-1992, Christopher McCandless trekked alone into the Alaska wilds. One hundred and nineteen days later, he was dead, a victim of starvation. What caused this young Emory University graduate to abandon his friends, family, and money for a perilous life in the far north wilderness was the subject of a bestselling 1996 Jon Krakauer book and the popular 2007 film that shared its title. A featured trade paperback and NOOK Book.

From the Publisher
"Terrifying...Eloquent...A heart-rending drama of human yearning."
New York Times

"A narrative of arresting force.  Anyone who ever fancied wandering off to face nature on its own harsh terms should give a look.  It's gripping stuff."
Washington Post

"Compelling and tragic...Hard to put down."  
San Francisco Chronicle

"Engrossing...with a telling eye for detail, Krakauer has captured the sad saga of a stubborn, idealistic young man."
Los Angeles Times Book Review

"It may be nonfiction, but Into the Wild is a mystery of the highest order."
Entertainment Weekly

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.43(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.87(d)

Read an Excerpt


April 27th, 1992

Greetings from Fairbanks! This is the last you shall hear from me, Wayne. Arrived here 2 days ago. It was very difficult to catch rides in the Yukon Territory. But I finally got here.

Please return all mail I receive to the sender. It might be a very long time before I return South. If this adventure proves fatal and you don't ever hear from me again I want you to know you're a great man. I now walk into the wild. —Alex.

(Postcard received by Wayne Westerberg in Carthage, South Dakota.)

Jim Gallien had driven four miles out of Fairbanks when he spotted the hitchhiker standing in the snow beside the road, thumb raised high, shivering in the gray Alaska dawn. He didn't appear to be very old: eighteen, maybe nineteen at most. A rifle protruded from the young man's backpack, but he looked friendly enough; a hitchhiker with a Remington semiautomatic isn't the sort of thing that gives motorists pause in the forty-ninth state. Gallien steered his truck onto the shoulder and told the kid to climb in.

The hitchhiker swung his pack into the bed of the Ford and introduced himself as Alex. "Alex?" Gallien responded, fishing for a last name.

"Just Alex," the young man replied, pointedly rejecting the bait. Five feet seven or eight with a wiry build, he claimed to be twenty-four years old and said he was from South Dakota. He explained that he wanted a ride as far as the edge of Denali National Park, where he intended to walk deep into the bush and "live off the land for a few months."

Gallien, a union electrician, was on his way to Anchorage, 240 miles beyond Denali on the George Parks Highway; he told Alex he'd drop him off wherever he wanted. Alex's backpack looked as though it weighed only twenty-five or thirty pounds, which struck Gallien—an accomplished hunter and woodsman—as an improbably light load for a stay of several months in the backcountry, especially so early in the spring. "He wasn't carrying anywhere near as much food and gear as you'd expect a guy to be carrying for that kind of trip," Gallien recalls.

The sun came up. As they rolled down from the forested ridges above the Tanana River, Alex gazed across the expanse of windswept muskeg stretching to the south. Gallien wondered whether he'd picked up one of those crackpots from the lower forty-eight who come north to live out ill-considered Jack London fantasies. Alaska has long been a magnet for dreamers and misfits, people who think the unsullied enormity of the Last Frontier will patch all the holes in their lives. The bush is an unforgiving place, however, that cares nothing for hope or longing.

"People from Outside," reports Gallien in a slow, sonorous drawl, "they'll pick up a copy of Alaska magazine, thumb through it, get to thinkin' 'Hey, I'm goin' to get on up there, live off the land, go claim me a piece of the good life.' But when they get here and actually head out into the bush—well, it isn't like the magazines make it out to be. The rivers are big and fast. The mosquitoes eat you alive. Most places, there aren't a lot of animals to hunt. Livin' in the bush isn't no picnic."

It was a two-hour drive from Fairbanks to the edge of Denali Park. The more they talked, the less Alex struck Gallien as a nutcase. He was congenial and seemed well educated. He peppered Gallien with thoughtful questions about the kind of small game that live in the country, the kinds of berries he could eat—"that kind of thing."

Still, Gallien was concerned. Alex admitted that the only food in his pack was a ten-pound bag of rice. His gear seemed exceedingly minimal for the harsh conditions of the interior, which in April still lay buried under the winter snowpack. Alex's cheap leather hiking boots were neither waterproof nor well insulated. His rifle was only .22 caliber, a bore too small to rely on if he expected to kill large animals like moose and caribou, which he would have to eat if he hoped to remain very long in the country. He had no ax, no bug dope, no snowshoes, no compass. The only navigational aid in his possession was a tattered state road map he'd scrounged at a gas station.

A hundred miles out of Fairbanks the highway begins to climb into the foothills of the Alaska Range. As the truck lurched over a bridge across the Nenana River, Alex looked down at the swift current and remarked that he was afraid of the water. "A year ago down in Mexico," he told Gallien, "I was out on the ocean in a canoe, and I almost drowned when a storm came up."

A little later Alex pulled out his crude map and pointed to a dashed red line that intersected the road near the coal-mining town of Healy. It represented a route called the Stampede Trail. Seldom traveled, it isn't even marked on most road maps of Alaska. On Alex's map, nevertheless, the broken line meandered west from the Parks Highway for forty miles or so before petering out in the middle of trackless wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. This, Alex announced to Gallien, was where he intended to go.

Gallien thought the hitchhiker's scheme was foolhardy and tried repeatedly to dissuade him: "I said the hunting wasn't easy where he was going, that he could go for days without killing any game. When that didn't work, I tried to scare him with bear stories. I told him that a twenty-two probably wouldn't do anything to a grizzly except make him mad. Alex didn't seem too worried. 'I'll climb a tree' is all he said. So I explained that trees don't grow real big in that part of the state, that a bear could knock down one of them skinny little black spruce without even trying. But he wouldn't give an inch. He had an answer for everything I threw at him."

Gallien offered to drive Alex all the way to Anchorage, buy him some decent gear, and then drive him back to wherever he wanted to go.

"No, thanks anyway,"Alex replied, "I'll be fine with what I've got."

Gallien asked whether he had a hunting license.

"Hell, no," Alex scoffed. "How I feed myself is none of the government's business. Fuck their stupid rules."

When Gallien asked whether his parents or a friend knew what he was up to—whether there was anyone who would sound the alarm if he got into trouble and was overdue Alex answered calmly that no, nobody knew of his plans, that in fact he hadn't spoken to his family in nearly two years. "I'm absolutely positive," he assured Gallien, "I won't run into anything I can't deal with on my own."

"There was just no talking the guy out of it," Gallien remembers. "He was determined. Real gung ho. The word that comes to mind is excited. He couldn't wait to head out there and get started."

Three hours out of Fairbanks, Gallien turned off the highway and steered his beat-up 4 x 4 down a snow-packed side road. For the first few miles the Stampede Trail was well graded and led past cabins scattered among weedy stands of spruce and aspen. Beyond the last of the log shacks, however, the road rapidly deteriorated. Washed out and overgrown with alders, it turned into a rough, unmaintained track.

In summer the road here would have been sketchy but passable; now it was made unnavigable by a foot and a half of mushy spring snow. Ten miles from the highway, worried that he'd get stuck if he drove farther, Gallien stopped his rig on the crest of a low rise. The icy summits of the highest mountain range in North America gleamed on the southwestern horizon.

Alex insisted on giving Gallien his watch, his comb, and what he said was all his money: eighty-five cents in loose change. "I don't want your money," Gallien protested, "and I already have a watch."

"If you don't take it, I'm going to throw it away," Alex cheerfully retorted. "I don't want to know what time it is. I don't want to know what day it is or where I am. None of that matters."

Before Alex left the pickup, Gallien reached behind the seat, pulled out an old pair of rubber work boots, and persuaded the boy to take them. "They were too big for him," Gallien recalls. "But I said, 'Wear two pair of socks, and your feet ought to stay halfway warm and dry.'"

"How much do I owe you?"

"Don't worry about it," Gallien answered. Then he gave the kid a slip of paper with his phone number on it, which Alex carefully tucked into a nylon wallet.

"If you make it out alive, give me a call, and I'll tell you how to get the boots back to me."

Gallien's wife had packed him two grilled-cheese-and-tuna sandwiches and a bag of corn chips for lunch; he persuaded the young hitchhiker to accept the food as well. Alex pulled a camera from his backpack and asked Gallien to snap a picture of him shouldering his rifle at the trailhead. Then, smiling broadly, he disappeared down the snow-covered track. The date was Tuesday, April 28, 1992.

Gallien turned the truck around, made his way back to the Parks Highway, and continued toward Anchorage. A few miles down the road he came to the small community of Healy, where the Alaska State Troopers maintain a post. Gallien briefly considered stopping and telling the authorities about Alex, then thought better of it. "I figured he'd be OK," he explains. "I thought he'd probably get hungry pretty quick and just walk out to the highway. That's what any normal person would do."

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Terrifying...Eloquent...A heart-rending drama of human yearning."
New York Times

"A narrative of arresting force.  Anyone who ever fancied wandering off to face nature on its own harsh terms should give a look.  It's gripping stuff."
Washington Post

"Compelling and tragic...Hard to put down."  
San Francisco Chronicle

"Engrossing...with a telling eye for detail, Krakauer has captured the sad saga of a stubborn, idealistic young man."
Los Angeles Times Book Review

"It may be nonfiction, but Into the Wild is a mystery of the highest order."
Entertainment Weekly

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Into the Wild 4.1 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 879 reviews.
fleurfairy More than 1 year ago
I think a person generally falls under two categories after reading this book: those that dismiss Chris McCandless as a nut, an idiot, an arrogant naive kid. And then those that see Chris McCandless as a hero of sorts, a person to greatly admire. I fall into the latter category, but not because I think he was infallible. I acknowledge his faults, but I find so much to admire about the journey he undertook and the courage he had to make his dreams happen. Krakauer's writing is arresting, absorbing, you feel like you are right there with the figures in the story. I say "story" loosely because this is not a work of fiction. Chris's family is out there, still grieving over the enormous pain he left for them to endure. That this is a true story that happened not long ago makes it all the more haunting. It stayed with me months after reading it. There will be those that brush off this story with cynicism. But at the heart, this is a story about a young man who would settle for nothing less than the full realization of his dreams - to go out into the wild alone and challenge himself against God and nature. I would say this book changed my life. It woke me up and made me realize I wasn't living my life to the fullest. Thank you Mr. Krakauer for this masterpiece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book had a very powerful underlying message. For Chris it wasn't about going into the Alaskan wilderness with all of his loving posessions. He was seeking answers about where he was in his life and what it meant. I felt a strong connection to Chris in many ways. I feel that I have the same strong will and guts of steel that he posessed. Jon Krakauer kept me intently flipping the pages as I learned the story of Chris McCandless.
ClarrisaW88 More than 1 year ago
Inspiring story about letting go of the daily grind and giving up everything to taste life in the wilderness. At it's heart, into the wild, like every adventure, is a spiritual quest for life's true meaning. Wonderful book and movie.
hound48 More than 1 year ago
this book is for anyone who belives you don't have to follow the crowd. for anyone who has an imiganation and has desired to explore life "outside the box".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hoping this book would be similar to Into Thin Air in that you couldn't put it down. I could. The beginning and end were good, but the middle dragged on. Interesting story but will probably not re-read or recommend it to too many people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, you could literally feel the emotion when you read it and its touching. This is definitely my favorite, it's inspired me in so many ways, His love for the wild and just wanting to escape society was a no news flash cause there's people now wanting to do the same. The story of Christopher McCandless is a great story to tell and this book narrows his adventure down. Of course I would recommend this to anyone it's great and you will not be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all I've become quite insulted by the way his defenders try to belittle people who find his story critical. One such reviewer said that most people who view McCandless negatively are in grade 8 and do not understand the meaning of life. The truth is, most people who critisize McCandless have a deep respect for life which is why we would never trek into a dangerous environment with intentionally no provisions and not even bother to call our families to see how were doing. So who are people who remain critical of McCandless's story? I'll give you a portrait. One such man is a TV producer. He 30, married with a baby daughter. He is adventurous: he came to Canada from Serbia. He plans someday to visit Antartica. He values his life and the lives of people around him. He has made an independent name for himself. That is the portrait of someone who critisizes McCandless. Chances are the most who admkire him are under 25 and have never been to a children's cancer ward. Anyway, let's get to the book. The book seeks to glorify and render the actions of what can only be described as a troubled youth. Chris was not out to become independent and adventurous. And his story in no way relates to that of the author. First of all, lots of youth want to become independent and explore the world. But I don't find anything independent about a boy who doesn't work and depends on the kindness of strangers to survive. Secondly, this was not a young man on a great adventure. This was a suicide mission. Most young people, including myself, set off on adventures to get back alive. We make plans to survive the environment we trek into. This was boy who went into the Alaskan tundra without shelter, without food and without a map to find his way out. Is that adventurous or suicidal? The author is romantisizing a angry and self-destructive youth. This not a healthy message for young people who think that they are above nature and everyone they love around them. For the story of a truly heroic, independent and adventurous young man who truly valued life, consider a read about Terry Fox.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Innocent. Young. Brilliant. Visionary. Complicated. Stubborn. Christopher Johnson McCandless¿s personality was enriched with all of these characteristics. John Krakauer¿s novel Into the Wild, tells the tale of this unorthodox young man as he departs on a hitchhiking voyage across the country, to the desolate area of northern Mt. McKinley. Immediately after graduating with honors from Emory University, McCandless leaves behind all his parents¿ ambition, most of his possessions, and his twenty-four thousand dollar savings to charity. He invents a new life for himself, and presents the determination of finding a raw and conceptual adventure. His family does not know what has become of him until, in 1992, a group of hunters discovered his starved and decomposed corpse. Krakauer pursued many of the individuals that interacted with McCandless, researched journal entries, postcards, and photographs, and even interrupts the story with his own youth narratives, to obtain a view on the controversy that the public generated on the different motives and psychological state of McCandless¿s mind. This exposure into the deeper meanings of his intentions satisfied the hunger and attraction that Krakauer and many other individuals developed when they heard McCandless¿s story. The author expressed many underlying discoveries as well, like the fascination that American minds have with nature, the excitement of risky actions young men feel, and the effects of father-son bonds as he journeyed through the life of McCandless. Into the Wild displayed the excitement of adventure, and used it to tell a real-life event. Anyone who likes adventure, drama, or philosophizing would enjoy reading this book. It is a fantastic change to read something that makes everyone think, and establish different opinions throughout the story. Krakuaer¿s novel provides a scoop of reality along with the pull that fiction has on readers. It also included little details that made an impact on what Krakauer was trying to convey to his audience. However, those who like to become truly engrossed in a book may fail to locate that in Into the Wild. It fell just short of being an amazing book due to a lack of construction in the plot, and having that certain surprise that hooks the reader. There was no ¿giving away the ending,¿ or even ¿emotion that touches the soul.¿ One must remember though that Into the Wild is a non-fiction book, and overall, a great one at that.
NcLovin More than 1 year ago
Although the story of Christopher McCandless, AKA Alexander Supertramp, is a tale known to many, this book takes it to a whole new level. After writing an article in Outsider Magazine about McCandless' untimely demise in the Alaskan wilderness, there was much controversy surrounding McCandless' mental state and motives. The author, Jon Krakauer tracks down and interviews many individuals McCandless interacted with during his years hitchhiking across the country. Through numerous interviews and letters, Krakauer strings together a synthetic Chris McCandless, a description with such depth the reader almost feels as if they knew the young man before his untimely death. Krakauer produces ruminations surrounding McCandless' motives and feelings while trekking across the country to fulfill his dream of a "Great Alaskan Odyssey." Insights surrounding McCandless' death change misconceptions surrounding his death, McCandless may not have been as ill-equipped for such an undertaking as may have been thought. The introduction and background given about McCandless make the beginning of the book very interesting, and although the bulk of the book, conveying McCandless' travels gets kind of repetitive, the book Is tied together nicely, recounting his death in the wild.
DanielP More than 1 year ago
Jon Krakauer really did a swell job with this book Into the Wild. He had extensive research and interviewed the McCandless family. The book was great from beginning to end. The only downside I would see to this book is that the middle was dragging too much. I think Mr. Krakauer was trying to prove a point, but I started to get bored after Waterman and McCunn. In a way it made me read faster so I could get back to the part about Chris McCandless. I also liked how he had all those maps to show where Chris was on his trip. The best thing I found about this book was the many journal entries that Mr. Krakauer added to the book to show us exactly how Chris was feeling and what his thoughts were. I also liked the little passages that started every chapter. It must've taken a ton of effort and perseverance to take all those little passages and put them in the right chapter. Jon Krakauer has done quality research that makes this book both interesting and accurate. I highly recommend this book.
CasiusVulnero More than 1 year ago
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer tells the hauntingly beautiful tale of young Chris McCandless' life as he leaves college, and all the aspirations of his family, behind to pursue a life of wandering. Following him around the country to some of the greatest landmarks America is blessed to posses, it chronicles his adventures through interviews, his own journals and photographs, and the letters and postcard he sent to those whom he held dear as he makes his way around America living, for the majority of his time, out of his backpack, with minimal money, the clothes on his back, and the brian in his head. It is masterfully written in both the first, second, and third person from the perspectives of many people, people he went to school with, lived with, stayed with, traveled with, and all whom he marked with his unique and bright mark. The book begins with the end in some cases, as the very first chapters chronicle his death, then jump back two years to his college graduation, the start of an odessey. This is why the book struck me so deeply, because for me it was a metaphor for life, that even when you are gone, the end for you may simply be the beginning for some other woul who will chase you to the ends of the Earth to find out your story. Also, I was struck by Chris himself, and how much he pushes himself, enduring hardships voluntarily that others woudl not dare to comprehend on their own. Into the Wild was a masterful art piece that should be cherished and read by every boy between the ages of 12 and 20 who has a free, wandering spirit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is heart renching tale of a man who disownes his parents and leaves all of his belongings in the dust...literally. Chirstopher "Supertramp" McCandless is a lost soul who wonders into the valley of the lost minds. On the way he discovers who the real Chris is. Unfortunatly Chris becomes powerless against the wilderness and struggles for his life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What seemed like a promising read turned out to be a horrific bore. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, is a story following the author’s journey in retracing the footsteps of Chris McCandless. McCandless, a graduate of Emory University, met an unfortunate death after leaving his privileged life to go into the wild and live with nature. The reader travels with Krakauer throughout his attempts to immerse himself into the dangerous situations of McCandless. However, I do not believe that climbing a mountain is equivalent to spending two years in the lonely wilderness. In addition to the unparalleled circumstances McCandless faces, Krakauer simply had his supplies air dropped, rather than scavenging for them himself. McCandless’ life was degraded by Krakauer’s dastardly attempt to make McCandless’ story known. From the viewpoint of an honors English student, I believe that Into the Wild was more of an attempt to make Krakauer feel better, shortly after he wrote a substandard newspaper article about McCandless, rather than a tribute to his life. Although it may seem so, not all of the book is bad; by learning about McCandless’ life, one also learns about his/herself. The reader gains respect for McCandless as a person because although his choice to go into the wild was extreme, McCandless was aware that he was severely uneducated when experiencing the problems that arose from adopting a new lifestyle. He took everything in stride and pushed himself until he couldn’t push anymore. As a teenager who is planning to attend college next year and knows people who are currently matriculated, I do not believe that Krakauer has accurately described someone like McCandless. Krakauer described him in a broad spectrum, from a drifter to someone that should be put on a pedestal. I believe McCandless should be respected because of what he did, despite the mistakes he made in his life, but he doesn’t deserve to be praised. I appreciate McCandless because not only did he chose a new lifestyle for himself, but his new lifestyle has benefitted children across the world. Before starting his new life, McCandless donated almost all his money to OXFAM America, a charity that helps children suffering from starvation, therefore benefitting the lives of underprivileged children. McCandless died happily, doing something that he always wanted to do, and although his story did not inspire me, it has the power to inspire others to pursue their own passion. In summation, Krakauer did a pitiable job in writing this story, but McCandless did a great job at living his life and, because of that, this story is not half bad.
xx_tiffany_xx8 More than 1 year ago
This is a book that will keep you one the edge of your seat. It's a great book to discuss! I would HIGHLY recommend reading it. This book is thought provoking in every sense of the term and makes you question your own life. It makes you question the steps that you have taken in your own life in order to achieve something. Read this book! You won't regret it!
RDHPA More than 1 year ago
Very well written and researched. I found it very hard to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't appreciate this story. I found Chris to be a person that wanted to avoid life and rebellion against...what???? He was un-prepared to live in the wild yet chose to go there. Read South and then read this book. South tells the story of 20+ men that survived in the wild for over 500 days. Into the Wild tells the story of a rich kid looking to avoid society.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am in 8th Grade and I read this book I didn't like it because who in the world would come up here to Ak and go out into the wilderness not knowing what they are doing and try to survive on their own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I discovered Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air while on my honeymoon. It happened that the IMAX film on Everest was showing in Charleston, SC. I bought the book and read it in 2 days. I then read Into the Wild the following day. Eiger Dreams came two days following. The story is about the most selfish person I've ever read about. While it was interresting to read the close encounters of McCandlesses adventures. The reader may forget the pain Chris McCandless caused his family, despite their past wrongdoings. Half of the book is about other likeminded romantics with little respect for the dangers of Alaska. I definitely recommend Krakauers other books, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the paperback a few years ago. I cannot but think the person in the story definitely contributed to his own death, sad as it was. Instead of trying to find himself, he should have went to the nearest therapist. What a sad story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most of us will find ourselves on the threshold of praising or ridiculing the short yet seemingly full life that McCandless lived. As someone intent on traveling in the future, I find myself thankful for this book, not because it depicts a life I so desperately wish to live, but rather a life that I fear, a life of loneliness and confusion. Deep within in many of us there is an instinctual need for thrill, excitement, and many times danger. Although most of us come back down to Earth and accept the realities of our mortality, although McCandless does not do the same. This book has, in many ways, opened my eyes to the brevity of life and the importance of it.   The book was beautifully written using Krakauer’s perspective and his multitude of research to describe the extreme complexity of McCandless, with no shortage of detail on the life of McCandless.  Krakauer exhibits a connection to McCandless seeing much of his younger self in the life that McCandless led in the last few years before his death. Krakauer finds his connection with McCandless when he describes himself in the novel: “As a youth, I am told, I was willful, self-absorbed, intermittently reckless, moody” (Krakauer 134). In finding this connection with McCandless, Krakauer could not help but to protect Chris’ image and his ideologies. The McCandless that was and the one that Krakauer portrayed may be completely different, but Krakauer’s empathy for Chris still continues to give the reader a fresh, rare and better insight into his attitude and emotions. The way by which McCandless handled his life might have been deemed brazen, rash and most certainly idiotic. Having graduated from college in the April of 1992, Chris took his old Datsun B210, donated his life earnings of 24,000, and as he wrote in a letter to a friend , “I now walk into the wild” (Krakauer  5). He was by many standards a thrill seeker, a hobo at some points, a nomad, and a man with no direction. He handled his life as if he was the only one who cared for himself, as if no one loved him. McCandless’s life gives a reader a reason to think about the importance of life and the importance of our inner self without riches and luxuries. Growing up in today’s society, even I am forced to take a moment to remember who I am as an individual and what being alive means to me. While I don’t admire McCandless and admit to be quick to judge his actions, it would be wrong of me to judge McCandless as a person since I do not know him, I only know Krakauer’s interpretation of him.  All in all, I believe Into the Wild was a much needed breath of fresh air from the craziness of today’s society, and I would highly recommend it to someone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Readers of this book have to be the opposite of Chris McCandless. Readers must enjoy the journey, not just the destination. McCandless was obsessed with making it to Alaska, Chris didn’t take time to immerse himself in “the moment."  I read this book in my senior honors English class and I, unlike many people in my class, enjoyed the book. I was captivated by Chris’s journey. If readers are expecting a dramatic ending, they won't be satisfied. But if they read it for a good story and great storytelling, they will love it: “Readers admired the boy immensely for his courage and noble ideals; others fulminated that he was a reckless idiot, a wacko, a narcissist who perished out of arrogance and stupidity--and was undeserving of the considerable attention” (Author’s Note). Either way, Krakauer does a wonderful job taking the reader through the journey of McCandless. Krakauer expands the story by making it an investigation of the mindset of individuals that contrive against the norm; he examines people comparable to McCandless such as Gene Rosellini, Carl McCunn, John Waterman, and Everett Ruess. Readers will look through the lens of a lifestyle they may never experience firsthand - the lifestyle of hitchhiking and individualism.  If a reader likes making genuine connections in both a work of literature and in the real world, this book is full of them. Readers will be moved by the lives he touches and come to realize how much of an impact an individual can have on others. Ron Franz is a perfect example of how an individual is able to make a difference in a stranger's life. It was absolutely heartbreaking when Franz learns the news of Chris McCandless’s passing since Chris was the closest person he had since the death his son and wife. But with taking chances comes consequences. It’s not much of a surprise that Chris McCandless died, especially since that detail is revealed in the second chapter.  Some people look to him as an idiot, but upon further examination, I believe he was a martyr. He died doing something he believed in, yet people are still enraged with the events that lead to his death because he was ill-prepared, in over his head and ultimately his death was warranted. When a reader goes into it open minded, they won't be caught up with his death. Yes, Chris McCandless was stubborn, unprepared, and hard-headed, but he was also optimistic, a risk-taker, and enthusiastic. Everyone has good and bad qualities. Sometimes they lead to their demise but it’s worth it to people like Chris. In some ways I envy Chris; he impacted people's lives with gestures as little as sending postcards. People can learn from both his mistakes and successes. In today's world, people get consumed with their own lives.  This book is a breath of fresh air, a chance to sit back, and learn about a boy’s journey who did something he wanted to do when all of society told him not to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a teenager, nothing is more of a drag than being handed a “classic” novel. The funky English and outdated references make it difficult to slog through the story, but more often than not, there’s a reason why these books are known as classics. From The Great Gatsby to A Streetcar Named Desire, the reading my seem long and tedious, but at the end of the story, a thought-provoking message is revealed. While not as revered as the previous literature treasures, Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild is no different than any other classic. Krakauer’s style of writing is initially difficult to adjust to, and the slow, methodical pace of the story can be tedious at times. There are long, uninteresting scenes dedicated to detailed geography and background information on characters who turn out to be rather unimportant to the plot. Krakauer also randomly interrupts the story for a whole two chapters to tell a personal story about him climbing a mountain. Krakauer tries to make a connection between his story and McCandless, but the comparison is a forced stretch at best. I found myself wondering why the novel about Chris McCandless was being rudely interrupted by the tale of the author climbing a mountain. Krakauer offered connections between the two was unsatisfactory and did not contribute at all to my understanding of Chris McCandless, making the 20 minutes I spent on his dull, irrelevant story a waste of time. However, the novel brings to light many interesting debates that left me curious for quite some time. The novel tells the tale of what happens when every boy’s dream of going on adventure comes true, and the horrors and beauties that accompany it. The novel also addresses the cost for happiness and self- accomplishment, the cost for which Chris McCandless paid his life. I continue to debate to myself whether McCandless is a brave hero, blazing his own path in his journey to be free of civilization and become one with himself and the land, or a stupid, unprepared kid, who got what was coming to him after wandering aimlessly into the wild. The story of Chris McCandless is unforgettable, and the slow scenes in the book are paid off in epic proportions as McCandless “Walks upon the land to become lost in the wild” (Krakauer 163).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a great book to read if you love nature and you enjoy reading about other people's adventures. The stories were all well researched and the author has a very descriptive writing style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read if you are into story lines that jerk you out of your element.To feel like you are along for the ride and witness all the emotional joys and terrors that this young man went through; wow. I loved the book.
Arian More than 1 year ago
This book really opens up the eyes of the reader. By the time I finished it, I wanted to retreat from my current life and go on an Alaskan adventure myslef! It is easy to relate to because all of us go through times where we need to escape.