Summary and book reviews of Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into The Wild

By Jon Krakauer

Into The Wild
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  • Hardcover: Dec 1995,
    207 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 1997,
    255 pages.

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Book Summary

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 interest 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 storytelling blaze through every page.

THE ALASKA INTERIOR
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...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
San Francisco Chronicle

Compelling and tragic...Hard to put down.

Los Angeles Times Book Review

Engrossing...with a telling eye for detail, Krakauer has captured the sad saga of a stubborn, idealistic young man.

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.

Los Angeles Times Book Review

Engrossing...with a telling eye for detail, Krakauer has captured the sad saga of a stubborn, idealistic young man.

New York Times

Terrifying...Eloquent...A heart-rending drama of human yearning.

New York Times

Terrifying...Eloquent...A heart-rending drama of human yearning.

Washington Post

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

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.

Reader Reviews
Victoria

DON'T READ
I "read" this book for my 10th grade English class, I HATE to read anyways. but this is seriously the worst book ever. I read the first few chapters and stopped because it was so bad. after the fact we found out he hitchhiked to Alaska with...   Read More

kyler

this book was so boring i threw up
It's good his story got out but he needed to summarize it. I had to read a book based on a movie and I'll tell you what, I have a book report with a third of the ending guessed up into bland none exciting details. I think hobo stories belong as ...   Read More

AAC

SUPER BORING!!
I was suppose to read this for English but really only read a couple of chapters. the beginning was alright but after that I just had to stop reading it. I was not interested in how this guy met lots of people and hitchhiked to Alaska to be away from...   Read More

ema-lee

A novel-lovers dream
This book, Into the wild, is a fascinating, amazing, beautifully written, a novel lovers dream. While reading this book, the many emotions make it like you were living it, like it was your hopes, dreams and adventures. However I must say that this ...   Read More

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