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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
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Into the Wild (original 1996; edition 1997)

by Jon Krakauer (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,154359168 (3.89)1 / 362
Member:mfigroid
Title:Into the Wild
Authors:Jon Krakauer (Author)
Info:Anchor Books (1997), Edition: Reprint
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Read in 2018, Bio / Autobio / Memoir

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, bluepiano)
    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.
    bluepiano: Another young Yank who died in the wilderness whilst on a impassioned and private quest.
  11. 00
    Cold Burial: A True Story of Endurance and Disaster by Clive Powell-Williams (bluetongue)
  12. 00
    Scenes in America Deserta by Reyner Banham (nilsr)
  13. 00
    American Nomads: Travels with Lost Conquistadors, Mountain Men, Cowboys, Indians, Hoboes, Truckers, and Bullriders by Richard Grant (cwflatt)
  14. 01
    Arctic Daughter: A Wilderness Journey by Jean Aspen (suniru)
  15. 01
    Drop City by T. C. Boyle (suniru)
  16. 01
    Off the Map by Hib (Anonymous user)
  17. 01
    Hunger by Knut Hamsun (nilsr)
  18. 56
    On the Road by Jack Kerouac (thiagobomfim)
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English (336)  Italian (6)  German (4)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  All (2)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All (359)
Showing 1-5 of 336 (next | show all)
[If you don't already know the basic story of what happened to Chris McCandless, then this review will contain spoilers].

After graduating with honors from Emory University, Chris McCandless opted out of law school and instead donated all of his savings ($24,000 worth) to charity, abandoned his possessions, gave himself a new, silly name (Alexander Superstar) and, without telling his family (something I found quite troubling), spent two years on a journey of self-discovery as he traversed across the United States. His journey ended in tragedy after a three month solo adventure into the Alaskan wilderness.

Whether you admire McCandless for his passion, idealism and sense of adventure, or you believe he was nothing more than a self-absorbed numbskull -- this IS an interesting story.

I personally found myself oftentimes confused as to whether I even liked McCandless. I kept getting annoyed at his multitude of immature decisions, and had to keep reminding myself that I, too, thought I was invincible when I was 24 years old. And whether you ultimately end up liking him or not, the fact of the matter is, the poor kid died. I saw some other reviewers have said they feel no sympathy for him because his death came at the fault of his own errors and irresponsibility. But how many people can say they have never made poor decisions in life? Who hasn't, at some point, been over-confident, foolish and irresponsible? Certainly we don't each deserve to die for sometimes being careless. The difference is, most of us live to tell our story and learn from our mistakes. Chris McCandless did not.

It's worth noting that despite his inexperience, he DID survive three months in the wild with no significant problems. Ultimately, what killed him was one simple mistake: he ate some poisonous potato seeds. The seeds blocked an enzyme in his stomach, causing him to slowly starve to death. While this seems a careless mistake to the more advanced outdoorsman, McCandless at least had the foresight to purchase a book of botany before his adventure, which he brought with him. The book listed in detail which plants and berries were and were not edible. Unfortunately, however, it mentioned nothing of the toxicity of this particular seed.

Of course, if he'd brought a map with him (I mean, who knowingly goes into the wilderness without a map?), he'd have known civilization was not all that far away, and could have tried going for help. If he'd brought enough food with him, he may have been healthy enough to fight off and eliminate the toxin on his own, or perhaps would not have even eaten the seed in the first place. But, he didn't do these things, and it cost him his life.

Jon Krakauer tells this story well, and the details of McCandless' life and experiences are meticulously researched. My only complaint would be that, at times, for comparison's sake, the author often went off on long side stories about other adventurers who never made the journey back home. I found these stories interesting, but somewhat distracting. I kept wanting him to stay focused and get on with the details of McCandless' story instead.

Overall, this is a fascinating (albeit depressing ) book. I noticed one reviewer commented on the fact that it was ultimately a cautionary tale, and I would agree. Though McCandless himself would likely not concur, his story is not only a lesson about following one's passions, ideals, and dreams, but of how equally vital it is to do so responsibly.
( )
  Brightraven | Apr 26, 2018 |
Good
  GlendaElliott | Apr 9, 2018 |
I read this as part of my 2014 reading challenge. This book was recommended to me by one of my close friends. This was definitely a book that I would expect a hiker, climber, and all around outdoorsy person to read.

I have to admit, I had a hard time reading this book. The writing was outstanding but I found the book itself a little dull and honestly, a little frustrating.

As many of my friends know, I grew up with my parents working in insurance. I also grew up working in insurance. This means that I have a (as my dad calls it) risk manager's mindset. That means that I had a hard time idealizing a man that took such a high risk with his life and refused most of the help that was offered.

I have to say that I admire this man's ideals and his bravery but I also feel that he was fairly foolish. I don't think that he was foolish for going out into the wilderness alone but I feel that he was foolish for not being able to swallow his pride and accept help. I think that he was foolish for pushing his family and his friends away.

This is the second Jon Krakauer book that I have read and I have to say that I his writing is spectacular but a little dull. I felt that I was reading a text book and not a novel. I think this is simply because I like my books to invoke emotions in me and all I felt in this book was frustration and deep sadness for anyone that knew and loved McCandless.

All in all, this wasn't my typical read but I'm glad that I took time to read it. ( )
  KristyJewel | Mar 21, 2018 |
I read this book as a teenager and I remember I could NOT stop talking about it for weeks after finishing it. I'm sure everyone was quite annoyed with me. I can understand, now that I am older, why people have been so critical with this story. However, I still think it is an incredible story.
  spoteste | Dec 5, 2017 |
This book made me reflect on myself. I'm not sure if it was the story that intrigued me to never put the book down or if it was Jon Krakauer's analysis on it. Either way, it was a book that I read in 2 hours and couldn't put down. It made me think that life is so much bigger than school and work which consumes my every day. At any moment, I could just drop everything, like Chris McCandless, and venture into the wild. I personally would never do this which makes the story even more interesting to me because I want to know how a person could do such a thing. I do love the outdoors but can barely spend a night outside let alone a couple of years in the freezing cold. It was so interesting to me to learn why someone would do this. If you are looking for a quick read that will make you think I would highly recommend this book. ( )
  cbrown26 | Nov 7, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 336 (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.
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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