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Into the Wild [Paperback]

Jon Krakauer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (789 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 21 2007

National Bestseller 

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....

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Product Description

From Amazon

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers 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, 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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dark side of idealism June 10 2004
Last Christmas I gave this book to my father. I thought he might enjoy the adventures of Alex (though you know from the start his life will end badly), and thought if things went well I might use this to try to explain to him why it is that I spend all my extra money on travel and why I do illogical things in pursuit of my dreams. His reaction, though, was nothing but frustration with Alex's "idiocy."
The difference between my response to the book - that Chris/Alex lived an extreme form of the longing I and many others feel - and my father's response is the same gulf that this story seeks to bridge. Jon Krakauer, who has also sacrificed a great deal and risked his life in pursuit of his dreams, clearly feels some sympathy for Alex's wild decisions. But the result of Alex's tramping is his own death and the heartbreak that ensues, which seems to outweigh any selfish satisfaction Alex may have received from his experiences.
When people create great art or invent something remarkable, society celebrates their achievements in spite of any collateral damage. But Alex is an example of someone whose idealism was far greater than his accomplishments. The art he left behind in his notebooks is unremarkable, and the few friends he made in his travels have not been catalysts for improvement in the world. His one success (or failure) was that he was able to unbind himself from his expected, normal life and give himself wholly to his ideals. So many of us secretly wish that we had the courage to do something similar, and this book forces us to confront that desire. Is the pursuit of a dream a worthwhile end, in and of itself?
There are no clear answers, in this book or in life, but the question is worth asking, no matter whether you see Alex as someone to be admired or throttled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read this for English Feb. 1 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's an interesting non-fiction story about a boy who roams America and meets a very unfortunate fate. Very "relatable" to a certain personality type. I gave this book a lower rating because the writing is a little pretentious: It is written at about a grade 9 level, but every other page an obscure, antiquated word is thrown in so the author can make himself sound smart. The order is not chronological either; for no apparent reason it jumps back and forth and all over the place making it a little hard to follow. Good story nonetheless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Statement About Society May 27 2013
To avoid repeating what so many others have already said about the facts of this tragic case, I will just say that in my opinion, this book is as much a statement about society as a study of Chris McCandless's ill fated actions.

Jon Krakauer presents a unique and quite fascinating account of the many subtle psychological and sociological factors which may have influenced this unusual young man, and I think he did it very well.

I don't think it is possible to put him into any category. He was true to himself, and above the petty judgments of others, so quick to call him names, who nevertheless fall short of Chris's boundless courage and his idealism.

I believe that in time McCandless will become an icon for other idealistic young men who are sensitive to the call of the wild, and feel the spiritual impoverishment of our society. Many are sensitive to that mystic call.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising perspective April 2 2013
By Cooker
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed all of Jon Krakauer's books, but found this one surprising in its accomplishment of taking what on the surface seems a cut and dried story (foolish idealist from urban environment pursues wilderness adventure completely unprepared and perishes kilometres from civilization), and provides a completely reasonable and unexpected account of the facts and of the character behind the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the Wild Feb. 7 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Saw the movie by accident, found the book. Every word kept me intersted, well written, looked up places mention. Young fellow was very adventures and should make all of us get out and explore even if is our neighbour hoods. Made me add Alaska to bucket list to visit. Wrote some of his quotes down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quick delivery and well packed June 11 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First of all, I watched the movie first, but always wanted to read this book. As you know, all good movies are based on books, but books have better stories. I am enjoying to read it. Lovely.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book April 2 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Skip the movie and dive right into this book! You won't be disappointed at all. A great story of adventure and sadness. Jon Krakauer does an excellent job researching McCandless' life and sharing it with the world. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that's looking for a great non-fiction read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great! Jan. 10 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am still reading this book, and it is one of the best short storys i have ever read, I say this because every chapter I am left in tears, it is a touching story and makes you ponder your life, and how you are living! read this book and you will not be sorry!
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