Into the Wild by Jon KrakauerInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild

byJon Krakauer

Paperback | January 20, 1997

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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 interst 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 stoytelling blaze through every page.
Jon Krakauer is the author of Eiger Dreams, Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, Under the Banner of Heaven, Where Men Win Glory, Three Cups of Deceit, and Missoula. He is also the editor of the Modern Library Exploration series.
Title:Into the WildFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8 × 5.1 × 0.5 inPublished:January 20, 1997Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385486804

ISBN - 13:9780385486804

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic One of my favourite books and probably my favouite non-fiction
Date published: 2017-10-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking Not sure if Krakauer has convinced me that Chris McCandless possessed "courage and noble ideals," as opposed to being a "reckless idiot." But he made a decent attempt in any case, and was detailed and skilled in reporting the facts. I feel more appreciative of nature after reading this, and more critical of day-to-day luxuries. A touching portrait of the American wilderness and its biggest fan, "Alexander Supertramp."
Date published: 2017-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing. One of my favorite books of all time.
Date published: 2017-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another great piece from Krakauer I picked up a copy of this on a whim after having read Krakauer's Missoula, Into Thin Air and Under the Banner of Heaven (if you haven't read any of this, and enjoyed this book, DO IT NOW). Not surprisingly, he's done it again - very detailed reporting and great interviews with interesting characters. I haven't seen the film - but I'm sure the book is better.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Book This is one of my all time favourites - an amazing true adventure story. 10/10 would recommend.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Good I read this book back in High School and watched the movie when it first came out back when I was in grade 8. I had been meaning to read it again for a while and I am glad I did. I recognized myself in Chris a bit in that he wanted something more from life and didn't want to just do the family and 9-5 job thing. I liked hearing about his story and the people he interacted with and also the others who followed similar paths. Unfortunately it doesn't end well for many of them and it's a sign of the times we're in that we can no longer live on our own in the wild. I found similarities between this work and 'The Lost City of Z' which I also recommend you read. Not a fan of Jon Krakauer though. I find his behaviour after the 1996 Everest disaster controversial and that the inclusion of the chapter on his life was unnecessary and just trying to include himself where he wasn't needed.
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling! If you like non-fiction or outdoor adventures, this is a great choice for you to read! The story of Chris McCandless is told from an interesting perspective and, although some chapters or context are distracting at times, it comes together at the end. On the ELA 30-2 reading list, it is an interesting life story for students and adults alike.
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring and Relatable This book will always stay with me; a lot of the context related to my own personal life. Quick and easy read!
Date published: 2017-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating! Krakauer tells this story as if he traveled with Chris, I was completely captivated the entire way through. Even though there are certain chapters that don't follow Chris' story entirely, the reader is able to gain an understanding on what might inspire a person to go "Into the Wild" and "live off the land". I think this is a great story told about an adventure gone wrong, and how sometimes a person needs a bit more perspective when taking such a large leap.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring read "It is easy, when you are young, to believe that hat you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God-given right to have it. When I decided to go to Alaska that April, like Chris McCandless, I was a raw youth who mistook passion for insight and acted according to an obscure, gap-ridden logic. I thought climbing the Devils Thumb would fix all that was wrong with my life. In the end, of course, it changed almost nothing. But I came to appreciate that mountains make poor receptacles for dreams. And I lived to tell my tale." Quite an interesting read, very well-written. It amazed me just how much this author has in common with McCandless himself. No wonder he chose to write the book on him. After all, "write what you know". ... "He is smiling in the picture, and there is no mistaking the look in his eyes: Chris McCandless was at peace, serene as a monk gone to God."
Date published: 2017-07-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing I was very disappointed with this book. I, like others, had to skip chapters because it dragged on and at times was quiet boring. I did love the parts where the author actually wrote about Chris. #plumreviews
Date published: 2017-07-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from very disappointed not what i expected; it was boring :(
Date published: 2017-07-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointed Not quite what I hoped this book would be. Skipped chapters as I found it dragged on forever. I did enjoy the parts directly about Chirs and how his story was pieced together but I didn't care for the inbetween bits and the comparrision to others.
Date published: 2017-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from my favourite book of all time! i've always loved reading. i've been imaginative and creative since i was very young, so i've always gravitated towards fiction. who would ever guess that a nonfiction book would fuel my imagination more than any other book on the market? i love love love into the wild so much. christopher mccandless is my biggest inspiration of all time and his story inspires me every single day. jon krakauer was really passionate about this book, and i love the research he put into writing it. a classic. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from easy to relate to powerful story of a journey that we all can relate too in different ways. I highly recommend this book
Date published: 2017-04-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intense story A bit slow and meandering at times but still a powerful story.
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful and sad Quite the story of his life and how the story ends.
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very powerful Powerful story about getting away from the crazy of the world into nature. The book is way better than the movie.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Get Outside Though McCandless' journey took place about 25 years ago, his story still holds such a deep resonance for anyone who's trying to reckon his or her place in this fast-paced world.
Date published: 2017-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Intriguing A vividly told story. All of us can find a piece of McCandless in our own lives as we seek to adjust to the real world that doesn't always measure up to our expectations.
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good book I read this book because I had watched the movie it was based off and wanted to know more of what happened. I got more, but it also followed the movie so closely that I had a hard time getting through it because I knew a lot of the information already. It was nice to get the extra few tidbits however, and Krakauer writes beautifully. He did Chris McCandless (a.k.a Alexander Supertramp) justice and let the world know the true story as closely as could be discerned.
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book is better I loved reading this book for my English class and I would gladly read it again. As this book is about a true story, I found myself becoming very defensive over the young man who's life it follows. I hope if you choose to read this novel, you will not have the same opinion as some expressed throughout the novel, the negative ones. Overall, this is an amazing read that I found myself finished well before my classmates.
Date published: 2017-02-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Better than the movie The quote they found in his book really sticks with you, makes you feel like he was lonely and missed his family. The book was well done and the story was powerful.
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Into the Wild A story that needed telling.....a heartbreaking end to an idealist dream.
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Into The Wild Intriguing story, and found myself relating to the character but also completely estranged.
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Into the Wild I do believe I fell in love with Chris McCandless and it's all due to Jon Krakauer's in depth writing.
Date published: 2016-12-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Better than the movie I liked the movie, but enjoyed the book even more. It doesn't just show what happened, but why and how he's part of a larger historical pattern, something almost inherent in the American myth itself.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great This is a great read and MUCH better than the movie. I found the book very exciting and the movie very slow
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Disturbed I couldn't help but wonfer about his parents the entire time. Why they never searhed for him how can you let your child dissaper for that length of time without trying everything possible l also cant understand how he could hurt them so bad by not getting in touch. So sad it ended in death. So many unanswered questions.
Date published: 2015-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from into the wild This book haunts me. Everyday I think about Chris. I was born and raised near mile zero - Dawson Creek and to think I could have meet him, ? This is a well researched sad, true story.
Date published: 2015-05-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from works well with the story Not the greatest. A bit too much on the author. The story of Alex-Chris seemed to be the secondary story.
Date published: 2015-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Book Loved this book. It's gripping with adventure and never fails to entertain. Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre of literature.
Date published: 2013-08-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from "Good Read" This book tells the story of a young man, Chris McCandless, and his answer to the call of the wild. This young man travelled light and for the moment, with little preparation for what was around the corner. But what he wanted the most was the unplanned trip. He longed for the unexpected and the unplanned adventure. Unlike the younger generation of today, he wanted to live through his own experiences without any guidance of any kind. People today seem to have a picture of everything and some take their pictures while doing it. Chris just wanted to do it. He wanted the chance to expose himself to danger and the unprepared wilderness. He enjoyed the disconnection from the world. Chris made a lot of friends on his journey across the country. Chris didn’t go for a weekend hike or a 2-week stay on an island adventure; instead, he travelled the countryside looking for the next great adventure. He came up with an idealized idea of travelling in the wilderness up north to just live life as it came: unprepared and unplanned and living on the edge. The book was an interesting story. I enjoyed reading it.
Date published: 2013-03-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Adventure-filled and gripping A friend recommended this book to me, stating that it would make me want to take off "into the wild" myself. When I read the intro I thought "Yeah, right! This guy dies!" but my friend was right on. The book is very inspiring, and does make you realize we are capable of so much more than we think, and also crave an adventure-of-a-lifetime of your own...
Date published: 2011-05-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Intriguing but left bewildered Into the Wild This true story is about a adventurous young man named Christopher McCandless who takes to the road after graduating university. He lives a minimalist lifestyle roaming the Western states leading up to his decision to venture to Alaska wilderness for the big-time adventure that ultimately leads to his untimely death. The author, Jon Krakauer uses a collaboration of interviews with friends and families and McCandless’ journal writing to give his interpretation of the events leading up to this young man’s unfortunate death. Krakauer also provides backgrounds of other not-so fortunate adventurers who also have disappeared or died in an attempt to give the reader an understanding of what makes someone venture into wilderness to live off the land when most of us would think it is craziness. Intrigued by the book jacket but by the end of the story felt totally bewildered for two reasons; by the way of Krakauer’s writing style and because of McCandless actions. Preferably when reading non-fiction I like it to be told in sequence of events which I felt was not the case for this book. I felt that by the end of the book that much of the last years of this young man’s life could not be documented properly because of his sometimes reclusive lifestyle hence why my feelings of bewilderment as we will never really understand what drives people to alienate themselves and in this case take the risks the can cost a life. It is thought provoking but in my opinion very dry at times because of the gaps the author needed to fill it to make it book.
Date published: 2010-02-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very good 3.5 stars. Into the Wild tells the story of Chris McCandless, a 24-year old whose body was found in the wilderness of Alaska in 1992. Chris had disappeared from his family’s lives two years earlier. Krakauer tells McCandless’s story, not only of the missing two years (pieced together by a journal, postcards, and interviews with people Chris had met during that time), as well as Chris’s life story. Krakauer also compares Chris’s life and adventures with other people who had similarly tried to live in the wild, and also with his own life. Very good book. I thought Krakauer did a good job of trying to explain what would have possessed Chris to do what he did. I did find that I wasn’t quite as interested in the stories of some of the other people Krakauer compared Chris to (though I found Krakauer’s own story quite interesting), but that was only a very small part of the book.
Date published: 2009-11-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not so wild about this book. When I finished reading this book I found that I had enjoyed it but not to any great extreme. I was very interested in the main character Chris and what he went through but found that this book went off on too many tangents that I wasn't interested in as much as the story of Chris. There were stories about other people who have had similar experiences (including the author) but I felt as if this was 'filler'. Would have enjoyed this book more if it just focused on the main character. I recently watched the movie and found it much more gripping and would recommend the movie over the book. Not a bad book at all, just not as focused as the movie was on the main story.
Date published: 2009-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awe inspiring I have read many (many!!!) books and this one, I can honestly say, this is my favorite to date. It is not only a novel about a young man, Chris McCandless, who yearns for solitude and freedom from modern society. This in itself would be an interesting read. The author, Jon Krakauer goes above and beyond a mere biography in order to explore the thought process and ideals of this young man. There is so much depth involved in this novel that a person can't help but ponder about life (Chris' life; as well as their own) as they read. I highly recommend Into the Wild, especially to the youth in this world who may be searching for the meaning of life and their place within it. This novel may just inspire you (hopefully not to become a vagabond but to help you discover your potential). P.S. Phone you parents. I also recommend this novel to the parents of today's youth so that you may better understand the reason behind your children's need for *freedom* and *solitude* and, perhaps, to understand why your children don't phone as much as you would like them to.
Date published: 2009-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing There really isn't anything to say about this book other then: wow. What an amazing story about one souls wandering and need for something else in his life. The true search for ones true self. It was heart wrentching but no other novel I've ever read had EVER brought me closer to the true heart of a person I've never known or heard about. I think that anyone who takes the time to read through that young mans tragic tale will find that it hits somewhere near home, no matter how old you are. We can all see a piece of ourselves in Chris McCandless, whether it be his gentle nature, or his need for something deeper in his life, or just a love for that which is around us. I loved this novel and think that anyone looking for a great read should check this out, you will not regret it. It's one of the greatest books out there, hands down.
Date published: 2008-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I think I'm going to disappear for a while... A review of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild INTO THE WILD is an account of a young man who hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter… It is a captivating and compelling read; you’ll probably read it in one or two sittings. Jon Krakauer paints a sympathetic portrait, at times identifying with the young man, spending a chapter discussing his own less tragic adventurous pursuits. What I find remarkable here is not so much this particular narrative, but how pervasive this narrative is. If a man is only as manly as his last “masculine act” then this is a gospel of masculinity. The narrative depicts a romance with the wild, the striving for independence, an adventure in the land of hope and freedom, a life less ordinary, the road less chosen – whichever cliché fits. The main character is capable but naïve, brilliant but in his own world. Two things struck me about this book. First, McCandless is critical of the “plastic people” that he encounters, a work and at school. The irony of this observation is that he becomes disposable himself, throwing himself away into the woods. As Krakauer notes, this was not his intention… but it is the consequence of thinking that living in the wild is like summer camp. “Same story: idealistic, energetic young guys who overestimated themselves, underestimated the country, and ended up in trouble… Such willful ignorance… amounts to disrespect for the land…” (Nick Jans qtd in Krakauer, 71, 72). Second, Krakauer is puzzled by a paradox in the life of McCandless: his contempt for urban life and its ills and his ability to excel as an entrepreneur, one of the reasons he makes such a powerful impact on people. Krakauer leaves this question open… but I think he misses a rather obvious point: counter-cultural attitudes are entrepreneurial. This narrative, although exclusively dealing with young men recklessly romping through the wild, has a remarkable parallel with the well established links between religious revivalism and entrepreneurship. That being said, the narrative is heart-rending. It is difficult not to identify in some way with the restlessness of the young man and his ideals. The three recommendations have to do with a potential explanation as to why young men are drawn "into the wild" and how this relates to the entrepreneurial spirit.
Date published: 2007-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking... and fascinating Don't miss this tragic story of a young man's obsession with his personal journey to self-awareness. A must have - before you see the upcoming movie.
Date published: 2007-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Tale Adventure From the moment I picked this book up I could not put it down, I didn't even buy it for myself in the first place. Jon Krakauer finds a way to write about these harrowing tales with such beauty, while at the same time informing you of just how dangerous what is going on is. I was amazed at Chris' sense of adventure and his want to live free and with hardly anything to his name. This book is a quick read, you won't want to stop reading, Krakauer writes with such great knowledge and warning. Amazing book, has anyone seen the movie?
Date published: 2007-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read A must read for anyone looking for adventure, The story of Alexander supertramp makes you realize just how invincible we can all feel in our youth.
Date published: 2001-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Into the Wild The book Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer is one of the greatest books I have ever read. It is a tragic story that is brought to life through the eloquent writing of Krakauer. The autor tells the story beautifuly and objectively, allow the reader to draw their own conclusions. The story comes alive on the page. I would recommend this book, as well as any other of Jon Krakauer's. It is a glimps into the heart and soul of a young idealistic man. Put it on your top ten list of the best books of all time. A must read!
Date published: 2001-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from into the wild if one has had any questions about the validity of the western consumer culture or entertained thoughts of leaving it all for the escape and freedom that is believed to exist in the uninhabited areas of the earth, then this book is spooky. krakauer reveals our perceptions of this young man's decisions in his search for his own understanding of mccandless. i highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2000-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Inspiring To go and follow a dream… To go and become one with nature… Why try and explain why.
Date published: 2000-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling...Reflective...Introspective... Highly recommended reading that can't help but make some of us wonder how we survived the exhilaration and adventures of youth that sometimes brought us to edge of survival itself. A McCandless Gene?
Date published: 2000-07-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed Although the story itself is quite interesting, I was disappointed by a few factors: 1. It discusses various pictures that McCandless had taken during various treks into the wild and these are never shown. A picture section would have been nice. 2. On the cover of the book it states that McCandless had $25,000 in savings which he gave to charity, whereas in the body of the book the amount is $24,000. Nitpicky? Maybe, but really, what is the amount? 3. Walt installs a brass plaque memorial inside the bus - but what does it say? The author doesn't tell us. and 4. The price of the book - a little steep in my opinion. Even though these points may seem trivial, they made me feel somewhat "ripped off" when I finished the book. I enjoyed reading about this extraordinary man's life - but I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more if it weren't for the above points.
Date published: 2000-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Into The Wild Simply put, this is the only book I feel confident in recomending to all. Whether you are a traveler at heart or just someone who has brief notions of escape from a fast paced world. Into The Wild should be in everyone's collection.
Date published: 2000-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Into The Wild One of the greatest books that tries to unvail the quest for self-discovery. I read this book twice, back to back in an attempt to understand Chris McCandless' deep and sincere yearning of life. A wonderfull novel, recomended to everyone.
Date published: 1999-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Into The Wild Good things do come in small packages (however sombre the subject matter). Krakauer retraces the last few months in the life of Christopher Johnson McCandless, an intelligent young man from an affluent U.S. suburb who wanders alone into the Alaskan wilderness. This thought-provoking account is enriched by picturesque quotations from Leo Tolstoy and Henry David Thoreau. Though McCandless's reasons for abandoning society may be unclear, Krakauer manages to provide considerable insight into his possible motives. A journey to the great outdoors - as well as a trek to the very heart and soul of a very stubborn and idealistic young man.
Date published: 1999-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Into the Wild This is Krakauer's book written before he achieved international success with his subsequent account of the Everest disaster, Into Thin Air. This is a very well written, tragic story of a young man who sets off on a nomadic adventure that cocts him his life. Christopher McCandless graduates from college and gives all his money away to live a simple life. He wanders the U.S. for two years and ends up trekking into the interior of Alaska where he eventually dies of starvation. This story is partly autobiographical as Krakauer strongly identifies with McCandless. Krakauer challenged mountains and McCandless the wild. McCandless loved books and I enjoyed exploring some of his favourite works, including Henry David Thoreau, Tolstoy and Pasternak, which are identified in this book. In the end, a great story of self-discovery.
Date published: 1999-03-05

Read from the Book

THE ALASKA INTERIORApril 27th, 1992Greetings 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 state. Gallien steered his truck onto the shoulder and told the kid to climb in.The hitchhiker swung his pack into the bed of the Ford and introduced himself as Alex. "Alex?" Gallien responded, fishing for a last name."Just Alex," the young man replied, pointedly rejecting the bait. Five feet seven or eight with a wiry build, he claimed to be twenty-four years old and said he was from South Dakota. He explained that he wanted a ride as far as the edge of Denali National Park, where he intended to walk deep into the bush and "live off the land for a few months."Gallien, a union electrician, was on his way to Anchorage, 240 miles beyond Denali on the George Parks Highway; he told Alex he'd drop him off wherever he wanted. Alex's backpack looked as though it weighed only twenty-five or thirty pounds, which struck Gallien--an accomplished hunter and woodsman--as an improbably light load for a stay of several months in the backcountry, especially so early in the spring. "He wasn't carrying anywhere near as much food and gear as you'd expect a guy to be carrying for that kind of trip," Gallien recalls.The sun came up. As they rolled down from the forested ridges above the Tanana River, Alex gazed across the expanse of windswept muskeg stretching to the south. Gallien wondered whether he'd picked up one of those crackpots from the lower forty-eight who come north to live out ill-considered Jack London fantasies. Alaska has long been a magnet for dreamers and misfits, people who think the unsullied enormity of the Last Frontier will patch all the holes in their lives. The bush is an unforgiving place, however, that cares nothing for hope or longing."People from Outside," reports Gallien in a slow, sonorous drawl, "they'll pick up a copy of Alaska magazine, thumb through it, get to thinkin' 'Hey, I'm goin' to get on up there, live off the land, go claim me a piece of the good life.' But when they get here and actually head out into the bush--well, it isn't like the magazines make it out to be. The rivers are big and fast. The mosquitoes eat you alive. Most places, there aren't a lot of animals to hunt. Livin' in the bush isn't no picnic."It was a two-hour drive from Fairbanks to the edge of Denali Park. The more they talked, the less Alex struck Gallien as a nutcase. He was congenial and seemed well educated. He peppered Gallien with thoughtful questions about the kind of small game that live in the country, the kinds of berries he could eat--"that kind of thing."Still, Gallien was concerned. Alex admitted that the only food in his pack was a ten-pound bag of rice. His gear seemed exceedingly minimal for the harsh conditions of the interior, which in April still lay buried under the winter snowpack. Alex's cheap leather hiking boots were neither waterproof nor well insulated. His rifle was only .22 caliber, a bore too small to rely on if he expected to kill large animals like moose and caribou, which he would have to eat if he hoped to remain very long in the country. He had no ax, no bug dope, no snowshoes, no compass. The only navigational aid in his possession was a tattered state road map he'd scrounged at a gas station.A hundred miles out of Fairbanks the highway begins to climb into the foothills of the Alaska Range. Alex pulled out his crude map and pointed to a dashed red line that intersected the road near the coal-mining town of Healy. It represented a route called the Stampede Trail. Seldom traveled, it isn't even marked on most road maps of Alaska. On Alex's map, nevertheless, the broken line meandered west from the Parks Highway for forty miles or so before petering out in the middle of trackless wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. This, Alex announced to Gallien, was where he intended to go.Gallien thought the hitchhiker's scheme was foolhardy and tried repeatedly to dissuade him: "I said the hunting wasn't easy where he was going, that he could go for days without killing any game. When that didn't work, I tried to scare him with bear stories. I told him that a twenty-two probably wouldn't do anything to a grizzly except make him mad. Alex didn't seem too worried. 'I'll climb a tree' is all he said. So I explained that trees don't grow real big in that part of the state, that a bear could knock down one of them skinny little black spruce without even trying. But he wouldn't give an inch. He had an answer for everything I threw at him."Gallien offered to drive Alex all the way to Anchorage, buy him some decent gear, and then drive him back to wherever he wanted to go."No, thanks anyway,"Alex replied, "I'll be fine with what I've got."Gallien asked whether he had a hunting license."Hell, no," Alex scoffed. "How I feed myself is none of the government's business. Fuck their stupid rules."When Gallien asked whether his parents or a friend knew what he was up to--whether there was anyone who would sound the alarm if he got into trouble and was overdue Alex answered calmly that no, nobody knew of his plans, that in fact he hadn't spoken to his family in nearly two years. "I'm absolutely positive," he assured Gallien, "I won't run into anything I can't deal with on my own.""There was just no talking the guy out of it," Gallien remembers. "He was determined. Real gung ho. The word that comes to mind is excited. He couldn't wait to head out there and get started."Three hours out of Fairbanks, Gallien turned off the highway and steered his beat-up 4 x 4 down a snow-packed side road. For the first few miles the Stampede Trail was well graded and led past cabins scattered among weedy stands of spruce and aspen. Beyond the last of the log shacks, however, the road rapidly deteriorated. Washed out and overgrown with alders, it turned into a rough, unmaintained track.In summer the road here would have been sketchy but passable; now it was made unnavigable by a foot and a half of mushy spring snow. Ten miles from the highway, worried that he'd get stuck if he drove farther, Gallien stopped his rig on the crest of a low rise. The icy summits of the highest mountain range in North America gleamed on the southwestern horizon.Alex insisted on giving Gallien his watch, his comb, and what he said was all his money: eighty-five cents in loose change. "I don't want your money," Gallien protested, "and I already have a watch.""If you don't take it, I'm going to throw it away," Alex cheerfully retorted. "I don't want to know what time it is. I don't want to know what day it is or where I am. None of that matters."Before Alex left the pickup, Gallien reached behind the seat, pulled out an old pair of rubber work boots, and persuaded the boy to take them. "They were too big for him," Gallien recalls. "But I said, 'Wear two pair of socks, and your feet ought to stay halfway warm and dry.'""How much do I owe you?""Don't worry about it," Gallien answered. Then he gave the kid a slip of paper with his phone number on it, which Alex carefully tucked into a nylon wallet."If you make it out alive, give me a call, and I'll tell you how to get the boots back to me."Gallien's wife had packed him two grilled-cheese-and-tuna sandwiches and a bag of corn chips for lunch; he persuaded the young hitchhiker to accept the food as well. Alex pulled a camera from his backpack and asked Gallien to snap a picture of him shouldering his rifle at the trailhead. Then, smiling broadly, he disappeared down the snow-covered track. The date was Tuesday, April 28, 1992.Gallien turned the truck around, made his way back to the Parks Highway, and continued toward Anchorage. A few miles down the road he came to the small community of Healy, where the Alaska State Troopers maintain a post. Gallien briefly considered stopping and telling the authorities about Alex, then thought better of it. "I figured he'd be OK," he explains. "I thought he'd probably get hungry pretty quick and just walk out to the highway. That's what any normal person would do."

From Our Editors

What would possess someone to leave civilization and head off into the remote Alaskan wilderness to live? Jon Krakauer searches for the very answer to this question in Into the Wild. Twenty-four-year-old Chris McCandless packed up and moved clear across North America to reside Alaska's backwoods. Four months later, a hunter discovered McCandless's emaciated corpse at his campsite. Mesmerizing and heartbreaking, Krakauer's powerful and luminous storytelling blazes through every page.

Editorial Reviews

"Terrifying...Eloquent...A heart-rending drama of human yearning."--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."--Washington Post"Compelling and tragic...Hard to put down."  --San Francisco Chronicle"Engrossing...with a telling eye for detail, Krakauer has captured the sad saga of a stubborn, idealistic young man."--Los Angeles Times Book Review"It may be nonfiction, but Into the Wild is a mystery of the highest order." --Entertainment Weekly

Employee Review

Chris McCandless was idealistic, charismatic and cocky: the archetypal angry young man. Krakauer documents McCandless's demise in the Alaskan wilds, not with the condescension of one who knows better, but as one who sees in McCandless his own younger self. He brings insight into McCandless's motivations, and dismisses the judgments made by cynical Alaskans on the young man's seemingly ill-conceived endeavour to live off the land. For Krakauer, McCandless's story parallels his own journey to adulthood -- except that fortune was less forgiving of McCandless.