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Into the wild
1996
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Summary
In a compelling book that evokes the writings of Thoreau, Muir, and Jack London, Krakauer recounts the haunting and tragic mystery of 22-year-old Chris McCandless who disappeared in April 1992 into the Alaskan wilderness in search of a raw, transcendent experience. His emaciated corpse was discovered four months later. Maps. NPR sponsorship.
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School Library Journal Review
This true story of a young man who gave away his possessions and headed into trackless Alaska wilderness to live off the land will be catnip for modern Thoreaus. The fact that listeners learn almost immediately that he did not survive his trip introduces an air of solemnity, but doesn't detract from the unfolding narrative. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Some Alaskans reacted contemptuously to Krakauer's magazine article about a young man who starved to death one summer in the shadow of Denali. Chris McCandless was an idealistic fool, they said. He didn't equip himself properly, couldn't tell moose from caribou, didn't know Alaskan rivers become unfordable torrents in the summer melt: hubristic ignorance dictated his fate. Such acid responses won't greet this book-length expansion of the article, a drama constructed deftly enough to earn a place in the canon of American nature writing. First, there is mystery: the emaciated body found in September 1992 in a bus-hut had no identity papers, just a name and a terse diary of final days. Then there is the question of personal identity: What existential longing led the twentysomething McCandless to that bus and at what cost to himself and his family? And finally, there is the majestic stage set of the American Far West, which Krakauer draws on to create his lyrical, mesmerizing testament to McCandless' odyssey. Krakauer starts with the discovery of McCandless' body and works backward, revealing that McCandless graduated from Emory University, severed contact with his family, assumed the alias "Alexander Supertramp," and began two years of vagabondage in search of Truth in living as advocated by Thoreau and Tolstoy, of whose works "Alex" was enamored. His earnestness indelibly impressed the itinerants he easily befriended--whom he, in truth, somewhat callously jettisoned--as Krakauer reveals throughout this sensitive narrative. A moving story that reiterates the bewitching attraction of the Far West. --Gilbert Taylor
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