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The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 7, 2017

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,903 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Christopher Knight lived for 27 years in the woods of Maine with almost no human interaction, surviving by pilfering food and supplies. Opening with the account of how Knight was captured by an ex-marine after stealing from a local camp, this book begins on an exciting note, though the pace slows as Finkel weaves in research about the science of isolation along with an exploration of the philosophical and nature writing that might lead someone like Knight to seek seclusion. An extension of Finkel's 2014 GQ article "The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit," this title goes into detail about the lengths to which Knight went in order to stay alive. Teens who are drawn to survival stories will appreciate reading about the harsh conditions Knight faced, including freezing weather, isolation, and lack of food, and the problem-solving skills on which he had to rely. This introspective look at the hermit life throughout time focuses on the ethical issues involved in one man's attempt to break free of society. VERDICT Hand this volume to mature and thoughtful teens who love Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild or are interested in philosophy, science, or nature.—Carrie Shaurette, Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ


"A story that takes the two primary human relationships—to nature and to one another—and deftly upends our assumptions about both. This was a breathtaking book to read and many weeks later I am still thinking about the implications for our society and—by extension—for my own life."
—Sebastian Junger
"An absorbing exploration of solitude and man’s eroding relationship with the natural world. Though the ‘stranger’ in the title is Knight, one closes the book with the sense that Knight, like all seers, is the only sane person in a world gone insane—that modern civilization has made us strangers to ourselves."
—Nathaniel Rich, The Atlantic
"Campfire-friendly and thermos-ready, easily drained in one warm, rummy slug… Raises a variety of profound questions—about the role of solitude, about the value of suffering, about the diversity of human needs."
—Jennifer Senior, The New York Times
"Michael Finkel has done something magical with this profound book… [His] investigation runs deep, summoning…the human history of our own attempts to find meaning in a noisy world."
—Michael Paterniti
"Chris Knight is an American original... I burned through this haunting tale in one rapt sitting."
—John Vaillant

Product details

  • Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
  • Hardcover : 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1101875682
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1101875681
  • Publisher : Knopf; First Edition (March 7, 2017)
  • Product Dimensions : 5.97 x 0.95 x 8.53 inches
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,903 ratings
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