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Into the Wild
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What would possess a gifted young man recently graduated from college to literally walk away from his life? Noted outdoor writer and mountaineer Jon Krakauer tackles that question in his reporting on Chris McCandless, whose emaciated body was found in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992.
Described by friends and relatives as smart, literate, compassionate and funny, did McCandless simply read too much Thoreau and Jack London and lose sight of the dangers of heading into the wilderness alone? Krakauer, whose own adventures have taken him to the perilous heights of Everest, provides some answers by exploring the pull the outdoors, seductive yet often dangerous, has had on his own life. --Amazon.com --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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)
It may be nonfiction, but Into the Wild is a mystery of the highest order. (Entertainment Weekly)
An astonishingly gifted writer: his account of 'Alex Supertramp' is powerfully dramatic, eliciting sympathy for both the idealistic, anti-consumerist boy - and his parents. (Guardian)
A compelling tale of tragic idealism. (The Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Jon Krakauer explores Chris’ McCandless’s life, and death, through his family, Chris’ own notes, photographs and letters, plus the people he met on his travels, most of whom felt a compelling pull towards the young man and came to love him.
Basically, I’m not sure what to think. Here’s a highly academically intelligent young man who had a privileged upbringing, protesting strongly against world hunger and the wastage of food. He was angry at his father who lead a double life for several years, which is understandable. Perhaps it was a combination of these things, coupled with the books he was fond of reading by authors such as Jack London, Tolstoy and Thoreau to name just a few, which fired his imagination and passions for the idea of travel and survival in remote and unforgiving areas, ultimately the wilderness. He believed a person should own nothing apart from whatever they could carry. No longer would he answer to Chris McCandless; he was now Alexander Supertramp, master of his own destiny.
The story begins on April 27th, 1992 as Chris, or Alex as he now calls himself, is hitching from Fairbanks, Alaska and is offered a lift by Jim Gallien.Read more ›
I found this book to be a good read, well researched and well written. The glimpses of other people's wilderness experiences and of the books that Chris McCandless read up to his death are enlightening.
At the end of it you are still left asking 'why?'. It is unsettling. Here was a young man who had a comfortable upbringing, a high-achiever who opted out of the life path that already seemed to be mapped out for him.
I think part of his motivation was the negative. The need to move out from the shadow of an ultra-achieving parent, the need to assert your own personality, an almost 'I'll show you' attitude as he displayed his own independence, perhaps exacerbated by a late discovery of the skeleton in the family cupboard.
But there is also a degree of irresponsibility - covering his tracks, effectively penalising those who cared about him, and the episode where he drove his car illegally far into the parklands, abandoning it in the gulch after a flood.
After time spent tramping the country, trying to improve his skills along the way, he seemed to be looking for the ultimate 'back to the wild' experience. Just what is this ultimate experience? Is it driving a well-stocked 4x4 down the tracks, parking up where other people might pass, telling friends and family where you are, putting the steaks on the barbecue and opening a few beers, taking a radio, maps, a decent hunting rifle, all the paraphernalia that modern society can provide? Or is it something else? I think Chris McCandless wanted this ultimate experience on his own terms.Read more ›
The author researches this young man's short life in an attempt to explain why someone who has everything going for him would have chosen this way of life. It is a shame that an obviously bright and intelligent person would have ventured into the wild without even a compass and a good map.
I highly recommend this book. The film and soundtrack are also excellent.
If you have certain sensibilities then the product synopsis will be enough for you to want to read this book. The story of a man who leaves civilised society to discover 'the truth of his own existence', to chase adventure, meaning, truth and beauty in life could be the work of a great fiction novelist. But the story is true and Krakauer's account of Chris McCandless is incredibly moving but also honest; outlining his follies as well as his heart,spirit and intelligence.
One of the best things about this book is that it is not an exercise in pulling in sympathy for Chris or his family. As I said it is very honest and written from the point of view of someone who not only was drawn to the events but who is standing on the outside and wants to understand. In order to do this, John Krakauer draws parallels between Chris McCandless's story and other adventurers' to help uncover what would make someone embark on such a dangerous and brave undertaking. This book is as much of an exploration of human character as it is an account of a tragic 'Alaskan Odyssey'.
This book isnt for you if you are the kind of person who reads the synopsis and dismisses McCandless (and people like him) as arrogant and foolhardy. This book is for you if you have that own sense of adventure yourself. If you do, I dare you to not be moved and drawn into this poignant tale.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this book jumbled and no real story flow others may think differently. Different from the books I would usually readPublished 28 days ago by Caroline
Contains possibly the worst paragraph of over-written and frankly plain weird prose I have ever encountered. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Obsessed with this story! Saw the film first and had to buy the book! It didn't disappoint. This story about Chris mccandless has really touched me. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dawnie 81
Awful boring drudge and not a true account of Christoper McCandless. About a month after watching this I saw a TV documentary of this guys life. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lenny
Mixed feeling during and after reading this true life story. A mad man, a wild man, a man who was lost in the emptiness of the material world in search of secret of the unknown. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Simon