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...
"Terrifying...Eloquent...A heart-rending drama wandering of human yearning."--The New York Times
"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."--The Washington Post
I've been a fan of Jon Krakauer for a long time and attended a reading of his at a Minneapolis, Minnesota bookstore more than 10 years ago, not long after Into the Wild was first published. At the reading, Krakauer tried to explain what drives people to want to climb mountains or walk across a desert or go off into the wilderness to live off the land--a drive I don't pretend to have or understand--but his enthusiasm for the subject matter was very alluring and I've read everything he's written since then. I don't understand why Chris McCandless would want to chuck everything in his life and head off into the wilderness, but I do admire that at the end, he didn't expect his parents or anyone else to save him, but simply accepted that he'd made the choices that put him in the unenviable situation of dying by starvation, and that's the way it goes. In a day and age when teenagers are killing each other--literally!!--and then expecting mom and dad to bail them out of trouble, it is at least refreshing to know there was one kid who apparently took responsibility for the consequences of his actions. Into the Wild is a mystery that Krakauer tells very well, and Philip Franklin's reading of the book is excellent.