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Showing 1-10 of 1,334 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,926 reviews
on August 11, 2016
This book gave a great insight of the path Chris McCandless's troubled life took.
I watched the movie "Into The Wild" a few years back and have always been curious and saddened to think about Chris's journey. This book seemed to clear the story a bit. Sometimes I had a lump in my throat thinking that this is not a "character" in a made up story but a real life that seemed to yearn for a peace that only existed in his heart. Jon Krakauer does a great job of giving us a key hole view of "Alex's" life. The good times even when he had nothing. I personally feel like unfortunately Chris was a troubled individual weather it was mental imbalance or emotional disconnect and after this book I feel so sad for his torment. The movie left me disliking his parents, but this book turned that emotion completely around. And I loved the Epilogue. Thank you Jon Krakauer for that. If the movie intrigued you most definitely read the book.
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on June 6, 2017
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer has become one of my favorite books, while Krakauer has been one of my favorite nonfiction writers. I read his other book Into Thin Air and it's just as good. He's very talented storyteller and his ability to connect with the story on a personal level is unparalleled.

The book connected with me almost immediately. The story of Chris McCandless is a story of adventure and freedom, at least that's my perspective. I've had discussions with others about CM, some say he's a fool and some say he's a bad example to other young people that have since ventured into the wild unprepared. My view is that life is about being unprepared sometimes. The bills that tie us down to a job or a precise schedule made us feel the need to plan everything, solve every problem and please every person, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Reading Into the Wild, which is now a required reading for many high school students, it gives a sense of what is like to let go sometimes and a new way to look at life. It doesn't encourage me to go out into the wild and live off the land but encourages me to never stop exploring and doing what I love. For some people, that's a good camping trip, and for others, it might be planting a garden.

After reading this book, I began reading some of the books mentioned in Into the Wild that were read by Chris McCandless. I wanted to put myself into Chris' mind and see how he was thinking at the time. Although I don't possess his ability to recite quotes from Leo Tolstoy and Jack London, I still found the other readings to be enlightening.

I bought my first copy of Into the Wild at a used book story and gave it to my father as a gift. I purchased a new book on Amazon which I will give to a good friend. I then found another copy at a used book sale so, at one point, I owned 3 copies of this book.
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on November 9, 2016
There are a number of laudable things about this book. It's written in a very conversational tone. The writer has clearly kept researching and updating the information about what caused Chris McCandless' death. The sensitivity shown to the family both in the writing of the book and their involvement in learning about what happened along with the author. It describes this tragedy and its impact of the people who knew or had met Chris McCandless, very well. He debunked some of the rumors about McCandless in his update like the fact he had killed a moose and did know the difference between a moose and a caribou. He figured out what likely caused McCandless' death and called shenanigans on those who said he was too much the dreamer to make it.

Structurally and thematically, I had issues. It was initially written from the perspective of trying to figure out what Chris was looking for, who was this person who ended up dying alone in Alaska? Many examples were provided about other people who wandered off into the wilderness to either die or disappear. London, Thoreau, Kerouac - the romance of the rugged individual on the road, in the wilderness were referenced and quoted - extensively.

There were teasers about his anger at his parents that turned out to be only the moral outrage of a young person when learning he did not know his father had betrayed his mother and the mother of his other children many years earlier. Then it seemed to shift to imbuing him with more depth than the evidence provided with the apparent intent to make his actions have more ethical or philosophical weight. The only true existence is to be one with the environment, etc. He burned his money and walked off into the wilderness, like Jesus casting off all that was worldly and heading into the desert.

There was the need for the author to use 10% of the book just to recount his own experiences in Alaska under the guise of corroborating how difficult it can be to survive in Alaska. There was the technique of using quotes from books McCandless had highlighted to attempt to portray his mindset. These were often accompanied by other quotes from other books. There was so much of that I began to think the author was paid by the word.

Then there was the jumping around in the chronology that, while it does work in many books, does require some structure in how it's done. 100 pages ago I thought we'd covered the time period and all things about it only to learn later that no, there was also this other thing. There was a lot of repetition as a result.

Overall, the editing could have been tighter and the book could have been about 25% shorter.

I do commend the author on both his sensitivity to the family and how well this spins the story of a young wanderer who, through ignorance and some hubris, got himself dead. It does serve as a caution to all of us who think we can just go live off the land when "the big one comes".
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on August 9, 2016
Normally, I like to stick to straight up fiction genres, and I always had this idea that nonfiction also meant non-interesting. However, Jon Krakauer's compelling novel "Into the Wild" quickly reversed that misconception. This is one of the easiest stories, in any genre that I've read, to get involved in, and I never once found myself bored with the book.

"Into the Wild" is the story of Christopher McCandless and his unique journey into the depths of the Alaskan wilderness. Krakauer makes you really empathize with the troubled young protagonist, and does an excellent job balancing the narrative with his own personal anecdotes. It is abundantly clear that the author is well-versed in both the story and the whole hiking/outdoors culture, and his knowledge helps add to the book. The writing is very direct, but still managed to capture my emotions and keep me engrossed in the story. The story itself would be incredible without all these other elements, but I really felt like Krakauer's talents elevated the book from just an interesting account to a fantastic piece of literature.

Even though the book was suggested to me because of my love of hiking, I found that the human element of "Into the Wild" was what kept me reading and enjoying it. Overall, you'd be hard pressed to find a better piece of nonfiction out there.

Highly recommended
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on June 24, 2015
I remember reading Krakauer's article about Chris McCandless in Outside Magazine about the time my service in the U.S. ARMY was coming to an end. I had a very harsh opinion of him at the time as I was about his age and had spent the better part of a year in the desert having served in the Gulf War. One thing five years in the Army taught me was to respect nature as it can humble you in the blink of an eye.

Fast forward twenty-five years and Into the Wild pops up in my suggested reading after reading A River Runs Through It. Now I'm a father of two sons and my heart has softened with time and experience.

Knowing how the story ends, I kept thinking of the many corollaries between McCandless and myself. And then juxtaposing them with the knowledge of how hard parenthood can be and just kept thinking of how tragic the story is. That Chris couldn't go to either of his parents and get the other side of the story.

I feel certain that while McCandless died while living out his dreams, he most certainly died with a heavy heart.
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on May 31, 2016
I'm kind of disappointed with this book. I've been wanting to watch the movie for the longest time, and I was so excited when I saw there was a book to go along with it. I usually enjoy reading the book more than watching the movie, so I decided to start reading the book first. I put it down about 3/4 of the way through and haven't picked it up again. I haven't watched the movie, either... I kind of want to wait until I've forgotten most of what I've read so that I can be more sympathetic to the character. It wasn't awful, and there were some good tid-bits of information in there, but there was just something very off-putting about it. I probably would have enjoyed it more had I watched the movie first and built up my appreciation of the 'character' before I got the straight facts. It kind of killed my excitement doing it the other way. I would advise reading this only after watching the movie, though a good google search could probably tell you as much as the book. There were some enjoyable parts, but I just found myself disliking it, overall.
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on January 18, 2017
I must say I have conflicting emotions about Chris McCandless. On one hand I understand a need for some adventure...some wanderlust. I understand being young and feeling invincible. I really do get that. On the flip side, don't be stupid (listen to people who are in the know), selfish, disconnected. In the end when facing his own mortality, he did recognize his need to reconnect. But I also think he suffered some mental illness. If you don't know what you're doing, don't go off into the wilds of the Alaskan bush by yourself. All the people in his life loved him. All his family wanted from him was a phone call or a card every now and then just to know he was alive. Imagine finding out your child died of starvation...attributed in part to not using a freaking topographical map!
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on March 2, 2017
Much better than the film of the same title.

Whether you think the subject of this novel died due to his own stupidity and hubris or of a simple mistake while he was making a noble, philosophical pilgrimage, this book is gripping and fascinating.
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on December 14, 2016
It's one of those books that you have to read at the right time to get the full impact or at least be in the right state of mind. Krakauer does a great job of pulling you into this mystery thriller of a human truly attempting to be a "gutter punk", without any of the safety nets. It's the wet dream of preppers or Alex Jones survivalists that think there is a poetry in nature, but would spend way too much time buying the right shoes and never actually follow through. There is an argument that McCandless was simply unprepared, you may watch Man VS Wild or some other schlock and miss the fact that he wasn't doing this to entertain. It's very difficult to even log off facebook let alone leave your family and friends and modern society behind in search of your wits. There is some speculation that happens, but from McCandless own writings in letters he sent we can often relate to his sentiments and goals, but we also know we don't believe any of this stuff as much as he did. It's a lack of faith on our part I suppose that keeps us safe and not worth writing books about after we pass.
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on June 3, 2017
Alright. So the movie is in my top 10 favorite movies of all-time. I knew I had to get the book. It was a pretty fast read for me. It kept my attention. It was a story that had to be told, it's just unfortunate that a young man had to die for the story to come to be the way it did. Do yourself a favor. Read the book AND watch the movie. They are sure to entertain
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