The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

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Concise and relatively short, “The Stranger in the Woods” is possessed of a readability that borders on the compulsive. Filled with details writ both large and small, the book allows a glimpse (albeit an unavoidably incomplete one) at the sort of man who would willingly embrace such a life.
-The Maine Edge

Synopsis

Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality—not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own. 

New York Times bestseller

In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life—why did he leave? what did he learn?—as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
 

About Michael Finkel

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Michael Finkel has written for the Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic Adventure, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and the New York Times Magazine. He lives in western Montana.
 
Published March 7, 2017 by Knopf. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Nature & Wildlife, Sports & Outdoors, Travel, Science & Math. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Apr 16 2017
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Stranger in the Woods
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Laurie Hertzel on Mar 03 2017

There is no wisdom here. Sometimes a hermit is just a hermit. Sometimes a thief is just a thief. Finkel did his best. The book is interesting, but it is not illuminating.

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The Maine Edge

Excellent
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Mar 01 2017

Concise and relatively short, “The Stranger in the Woods” is possessed of a readability that borders on the compulsive. Filled with details writ both large and small, the book allows a glimpse (albeit an unavoidably incomplete one) at the sort of man who would willingly embrace such a life.

Read Full Review of The Stranger in the Woods: Th...

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jennifer Senior on Mar 16 2017

Finkel appears to have been quite conscientious in writing “The Stranger in the Woods.” He provides notes on sources. He gives the names of his (two!) fact-checkers. But it’s hard not to notice that he’s chosen a story that is, in some sense, impossible to completely nail down.

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Reader Rating for The Stranger in the Woods
84%

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