Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

76%

14 Critic Reviews

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer...A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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.
 

About Jon Krakauer

See more books from this Author
Jon Krakauer is a part-time mountaineer and a full-time writer. He is a contributing editor at Outside magazine and writes for many national magazines and newspapers. He lives in Seattle, Washington. "From the Paperback edition.
 
Published September 21, 2009 by Anchor. 216 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Into the Wild
All: 14 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Good
on May 20 2010

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer...A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Dec 07 2015

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.

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Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
on Jan 19 1996

Over the two years, McCandless rarely stopped writing in his journal. He also sent postcards to the people who fed him, let him sleep on their sofas, or gave him work. And he took lots of photographs. With a tracker’s zeal, Krakauer uses these artifacts to construct a sometimes day-by-day account of McCandless’ final years.

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Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by kaiii on Jun 04 2015

This exciting (AND TRUE) story about Christopher is absolutely insane to most people. Why would anyone give up such a promising future? The author does a great job of digging deep down into Christopher’s journey...It’s an empowering story that anyone can find interest in. I highly recommend this to anyone that loves a great adventure.

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Teen Ink

Above average
on Jun 04 2015

This true and exciting story was about the biography of a young adventurer known to be Chris McCandless...In my personal opinion, I really enjoyed the story and I even think it would be an amazing experience to hike to bus 142.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by WendyyPizarroo on Jun 04 2015

Into the Wild provides details of Chris’s journey and an interesting plot structure. Even though I didn’t understand Chris’s decision to leave his family I could relate to the relationship he had with his father. I recommend young male teens to read this book, and anyone who loves adventure.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by guillermo123 on Jun 04 2015

Since Krakauer doesn't follow the usual story plot, and begins writing from the end of the story...The reader has the task of placing events in chronological order. The flashback and flash forwards tend to take away from the story because the readers expends energy placing events in order it makes it difficult to keep reading.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Kyle on Jun 04 2015

This book really leaves you feeling incomplete. It’s excellent but ends in an Of Mice and Men kind of way which leaves me unsure of how I feel. I would recommend it to anyone, though, because Chris McCandless is unlike any character I have ever known and his story is absolutely fascinating.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by CHSsoftball5 on Jun 04 2015

One flaw of this book is that after Krakauer tells his story, he rambles on comparing McCandless to other adventurers, even himself; it's pretty dull and adds nothing to the story. This diminishes some of the awe you initially feel at Chris's effect on people. Up until that point, however, Into The Wild is a book that you won't be able to put down.

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Fyrefly's Book Blog

Good
Reviewed by Nicki on Sep 08 2008

Overall, the book itself is a quick if somewhat disturbing read. I was most bothered by Krakauer’s obvious bias, but at least he’s up-front about it from the get-go. He also tended to repeat material to some extent...An fascinating, haunting piece of journalistic non-fiction. Not exactly enjoyable, but definitely worth reading.

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Inverarity is not a Scottish village

Above average
Reviewed by Inverarity on Apr 10 2012

His tale is sad, especially as writer Jon Krakauer follows his trail and interviews his family...This was an interesting story, which Krakauer livens up with some of the other interesting and offbeat characters McCandless encountered, but as real-life protagonists go, Chris McCandless was not the most sympathetic.

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bigWOWO

Above average
Reviewed by bigWOWO on Oct 13 2013

Jon Krakauer brings this story to life, detailing Chris McCandless’s prior, safe life with the life of adventure he eventually chooses. He delves deep into the struggles that McCandless has with his father...Outdoors enthusiasts will love this book, as will any man who has never fit society’s prescription of conformity.

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DeFlip Side

Good
Reviewed by Christopher DeFilippis on Jun 04 2015

Krakauer does a wonderful job of reconstructing McCandless with the scanty material he has to work with and presents us with a compelling and disturbing sketch of a young man who was too idealistic—and stubborn—for his own good.

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Book Addiction

Above average
Reviewed by Richard on Aug 21 2009

It's a painful story, the death and short life of Chris McCandless. He doesn't make it all that easy for just anyone to like him...Krakauer does a good job with his characters and story, and I think he did a really nice job of building his own experiences into the story

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