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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild (original 1996; edition 2007)

by Jon Krakauer

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12,049336214 (3.89)1 / 333
Title:Into the Wild
Authors:Jon Krakauer
Info:Anchor (2007), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (1996)

  1. 70
    Walden by Henry David Thoreau (arztriper)
  2. 40
    Walden & On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau (thiagobomfim)
    thiagobomfim: That is a history of a boy inspired by Thoreau and his masterpiece: Wladen.
  3. 30
    Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains by Jon Krakauer (Ronoc)
  4. 20
    The Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell's Fatal Obsession with Alaskan Bears by Nick Jans (stephmo)
    stephmo: Both books deal with idealists and end in Alaska. Both stories present a certain mythology available only from the Alaskan wilderness.
  5. 10
    The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W. H. Davies (Polaris-)
  6. 10
    Survivre en Ville... quand tout s'arrête ! : Vivre sans électricité... et sans eau potable, sans nourriture, sans médicaments... by Jade Allegre (houseandflat)
  7. 10
    Sukkwan Island by David Vann (raton-liseur)
    raton-liseur: Il peut paraître étrange de rapprocher ces deux livres. Pourtant ils sont entrés en résonance lorsque je les ai lus à un an d’intervalle. Tous les deux sont sombres puisqu’il y est question de mort, et tous les deux ont pour fond la beauté rude des paysages glacials de l’Alaska. C’est cette confrontation fatale entre le blanc de la neige et le noir de la mort qui m’a saisie dans ces deux livres, même si les raisons qui sous-tendent ces deux quêtes vers les paysages du Grand Nord sont (à première vue) sans point commun.… (more)
  8. 32
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (Graphirus)
  9. 10
    The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John Vaillant (Anonymous user)
  10. 00
    Finding Everett Ruess: The Life and Unsolved Disappearance of a Legendary Wilderness Explorer by David Roberts (amyblue)
    amyblue: Both books attempt to solve the mystery of how a young man disappeared in the wilderness on a quest for beauty and an authentic life.
  11. 00
    Arctic Daughter by Jean Aspen (suniru)
  12. 00
    Cold Burial: A True Story of Endurance and Disaster by Clive Powell-Williams (bluetongue)
  13. 00
    Scenes in America Deserta by Reyner Banham (nilsr)
  14. 00
    American Nomads: Travels with Lost Conquistadors, Mountain Men, Cowboys, Indians, Hoboes, Truckers, and Bullriders by Richard Grant (cwflatt)
  15. 55
    On the Road by Jack Kerouac (thiagobomfim)
  16. 00
    Hunger by Knut Hamsun (nilsr)
  17. 01
    Drop City by T. C. Boyle (suniru)
  18. 01
    Off the Map by Hib (Anonymous user)

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English (315)  Italian (5)  German (4)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (335)
Showing 1-5 of 315 (next | show all)
I put this book off for along time because I thought I knew the ending, little did I know that was only the beginning. A highly enjoyable read. ( )
  supermanboidy | Aug 22, 2016 |
"ველურ პირობებში" ქართველი კინომოყვარულებისთვის უც​ნობი არ იქნება. ჩემი საყვარელი ფილმია და წიგნით ამ​იტომაც დავინტერესდი. თუმცა წიგნი უფრო მეტ ინფორმაც​იას გაძლევს კრის მაკანდლისზე და საშაულებას გაძლევს​ მეტად ჩაიხედო მოხეტიალის ცხოვრებაში, მაგრამ ფილმი​ უფრო მომწონს, ალბათ მეტი ემოცია ჩანს ფილმში.​
წიგნიც და ფილმიც მომწონს არა იმიტომ რომ "სუპერმაწა​ნწალამ" რაიმე გმირობა ჩაიდინა. არამედ იმიტომ რომ ნ​აჩვენებია ბუნებისადმი, პირველყოფილებაში დაბრუნების​ადმი გამოხატული ნოსტალგია,ბუნებასთან კონტაქტი რომე​ლსაც თანამედროვე ცივილიზაცია ხელიდან გვგლეჯს. თუმც​ა კრისისგან განსხვავებით მე ცივილიზაციაც მიყვარს დ​ა მისგან თავის დაღწევის სურვილიც მაქვს ხოლმე. ასევ​ე მიყვარს სიმარტოვე და ის რომანტიკა რაც კრისს ამოძ​რავებს, ახეტიალებს, არ ასვენებს.​
პრაქტიკულ ადამიანებს ნაკლებად მოეწონებათ მაწანწალა​ს დაუდევრობა და სულელური თავგადასავლები, მაგრამ მე​ ძალიან მომწონს. განა იმიტომ რომ პრაქტიკულობას ვემ​იჯნები და კარგად დაგეგმილი თუნდაც მოგზაურობები არ ​მიმაჩნია საჭიროდ. არამედ იმიტომ რომ ოცნება მიყვარს​
ვინც ამ წიგნში ექსტრემს ეძებს, ალბათ იმასაც გაუცრუ​ვდება იმედი. კრის მაკანდლისის ამბავის ექსტრემი უფრ​ო შეუმჩნეველია და სიღრმისეულია.​
ეს არის იდეალისტი ბიჭის ამბავი, რომელიც ფატალურად ​
ფილმსაც და წიგნსაც ვუწევ რეკომენდაციას, თუმცა ჯერ ​ ( )
  Misha.Kaulashvili | Aug 22, 2016 |
"It is hardly unusual for a young man to be drawn to a pursuit considered reckless by his elders; engaging in risky behavior is a rite of passage in our culture no less than in most others. Danger has always held a certain allure. That, in large part, is why so many teenagers drive too fast and drink too much and take too many drugs, why it has always been so easy for nations to recruit young men to go to war. It can be argued that youthful derring-do is in fact evolutionarily adaptive, a behavior encoded in our genes. McCandless, in his fashion, merely took risk-taking to its logical extreme."

Inspired and motivated by Lillelara's review, I found Into the Wild on my library's OverDrive as an audiobook - I had heard that the book The Golden Spruce, which I recently read, was often compared to Into the Wild and really wanted to find out what led to the comparison.

Having read the book, I can't say I see many similarities at all. The Golden Spruce is about an ex-logger turned environmental activist in British Columbia who commits an act of eco terrorism.
Into the Wild is the story of Chris J. McCandless who who at 24 decides to step out of society and live alone in the wilderness of Alaska.
Both men suffer the consequences of their decisions but this is where the similarities end. Certainly, there were no similarities in their background or motivations.

Before I go off on a rant about Into the Wild, I would like to make clear that my issues with the book are with the writing and the author. The story of Chris McCandless is certainly worth telling and worth thinking about - after all it is quite extraordinary that anyone would choose to go out into the wild and be completely cut off from all human contact. While I'm not sympathetic to McCandless or feel any particular like or dislike towards him for abandoning his family and friends, I respect his attempt (for whatever reason) to live in a way that seemed right to him. Whether he did it out of youthful hubris, out of a peculiar mental disposition, or because he was suffering from some romantic illusion instilled by his love of Thoreau and Tolstoy. At the end of the day, he knew the risks of living in the wild.

My rating of this book is not a reflection of my respect for McCandless' story. The issues I have with the book are with the overindulgent writing and an author who tries to give meaning to McCandless' actions but will over and over try to push his own interpretation of events.
Sure, Krakauer makes a great effort in interviewing a lot of people who may have known McCandless, but instead of presenting the opinions of the people who knew that young man first hand, Krakauer interprets the interviews himself. It may be that he tries to fill pages or it may be that he felt he could add some needed context, but the first time his style of revealing the story really grated on me was when he presented an interview with McCandless' father and then proceeded to dismiss McCandless Snr.'s notions in favour of Krakauer's own ideas of why Chris had chosen to seek seclusion.

Given the choice between a parent's take on the story and Krakauer's - what would make you think Krakauer was in a better position to judge?

This was not the only time that I got to doubt the sincerity of the author. In fact, there were numerous moments throughout the book when I wanted to ring the BS bell.

At one point, Krakauer dismisses several psychological theories that sought to explain McCandless' behaviour. I admit that the theories he mentions sounded far-fetched and seemed to be based on long-disproved Freudian models, but for Krakauer to follow this up with a theory of his own was just extraordinarily arrogant. The aspect of Krakauer's theory that I found particularly vexing was that he tried to sell it on the premise that he, Krakauer, had a deeper understanding of McCandless' frame of mind because he was a mountaineer who could relate to the excitement of facing physical challenges and the mental struggle of keeping it together under harsh conditions. Blah, blah, blah.

What Krakauer does achieve is to conveniently slip in some stories of his own exploits - which have nothing to do with McCandless' story. If ever there was an inappropriate time for self-promotion, this was it.

There was also a point where Krakauer implied that the author of a book on ethnobotany found in McCandless' possession was to blame for his death because she failed to point out in the book that certain seeds were poisonous.

And if this example was not enough, he managed to top this by constantly comparing McCandless' story to that of other adventurers who met with rather sticky ends. Most of these stories were, again, rather unrelated to McCandless. I'm still puzzled why Krakauer thought it would be appropriate to compare McCandless' story to that of the Franklin expedition and go off on a tangent about how Franklin condemned his men to death because of his (Franklin's) stupidity and lack of respect of nature - which is also much unsubstantiated conjecture on Krakauer's part. But who will argue with a self-appointed expert who does not need to cite sources?

In the end, I got the feeling that Krakauer had an agenda in writing this book that tried to make more of McCandless' story than there really was.
In my mind, McCandless was young guy who made a choice and - tragically and fatally for him - it didn't work out. However, there was no conspiracy. There was no one to blame. There also was no dramatic heroism other than that of a guy trying to live as he saw fit. Other than that, we will never know, but this also seemed to have been part of McCandless' plan.

"In 1992, however, there were no more blank spots on the map - not in Alaska, not anywhere. But Chris, with his idiosyncratic logic, came up with an elegant solution to this dilemma: He simply got rid of the map. In his own mind, if nowhere else, the terra would thereby remain incognita." .

Edit - 28.10.15: I corrected some typos. ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
Enjoyed this book very much. ( )
  Gatoruss | Aug 20, 2016 |
I read this in print, which meant everyone could see what book I was reading (at work, on the bus), and I must say I was surprised at how polarizing McCandless (who primarily called himself Alex) is. Some people find his obsession with living off-grid admirable, while others found it wasteful and irresponsible. Regardless of what you think of Alex, Krakauer presents his story in an engaging way, starting with the bare facts of how he was discovered and then taking the reader through his own investigation into who Alex was.

I feel like a lot of us know a person who is some flavor of Alex. Someone who grew up with the world his oyster but pushed it away in pursuit of simpler things. Some people take this to a reasonable level. For instance, they might refuse the $25,000 in savings from their parents but also not give it away to charity. Or they might give that money away but keep enough to get started on, not actually burn money. It’s very interesting to me how many people react with such utter disdain for Alex burning the money. I think it’s a clear example of an act of youthful passion. He really believed in this way of life. He really wanted to distance himself from his family. So he destroyed something. I wonder, when people react so strongly to this, whether they, in their youth, were never moved to destroy something in a symbolic manner? Perhaps some people are just not so possessed by the passion of youth.

In any case, while Krakauer’s own opinion of Alex is pretty clear by the end of the book, he does a good job holding it off for quite a while, letting the reader make up their own mind. I also think he might not realize he does this but he draws some interesting parallels to Walden and Thoreau that might make people who dislike Alex realize the privilege Walden and Thoreau were exercising in choosing to “go into the woods” but a woods they could leave at any time.

As a person who grew up in a very rural area with a father who hunted and fished and a family who grew our own garden of food and learned to shoot a rifle at a young age, I understand many Alaskans’ disdain for Alex. There’s something insulting about someone who has studied and learned nothing or next to nothing about surviving off the land just waltzing in and claiming they can do it. And often these people put the locals who live there in danger, whether by needing rescuing or causing wildfires or what have you. I get that. But I also get the impulse those who were raised far from the land with too much handed to them on a platter have to go out and prove they can do it on their own. For a long time I myself couldn’t understand the downsides of coming from money but I have come to learn them from observing others who come from money. There is a certain freedom in family and money not going hand-in-hand and in being pushed into adulthood and making it on your own early.

If this clash of those living on the land and those desiring to abandon it all and live on the land intrigues you, you’ll enjoy this book. It’s well-written, even-handed, and demonstrates the value in taking a moment to consider other perspectives and not jump to heated conclusions.

Check out my full review. ( )
  gaialover | Aug 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 315 (next | show all)
Christopher McCandless's life and his death may have been meaningless, absurd, even reprehensible, but by the end of "Into the Wild," you care for him deeply.
Mr. Krakauer has taken the tale of a kook who went into the woods, and made of it a heart-rending drama of human yearning.

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Krakauer, Jonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferrari, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Franklin, PhilipNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mijn, Aad van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palma, Maria HelenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soares, Pedro MaiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zung, SabrinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307387178, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:52 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A portrait of Chris McCandless chronicles his decision to withdraw from society and adopt the persona of Alexander Supertramp, offering insight into his beliefs about the wilderness and his tragic death in the Alaskan wilderness.

(summary from another edition)

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