This is Krakauer's account and report on a young man - it is a true story - who left his family after graduating with honors, burning his money, cutting off all his ties to his background and venturing out on his own, travelling thoughout the United States. His ultimate adventure was to survive in the wilderness of Alaska. This, however, led to his premature death. Krakauer follows the young man's trail and tries to give us his understanding of what made this man tick to do what he did. He succeeds quite admirably. The book is well written and in the end you get an understanding of Christopher Candless. The author can see quite a bit of himself in him which leads to his sympathetic protrayal, something not shared by everybody. Many felt he was just stupid and arrogant and tried to survive in the wilderness without adequate preparation. Krakauer makes the point that this was not so, that just a couple of things did not turn the way they could have. In the wilderness there are no second chances and what was just a little mistake led to the young man's death. Growing up in our modern societies we sometimes forget how perilous people used to live when they depended completely on nature. Krakauer makes us think about many of these aspects and in general about our relationship to nature. All in all, this is a very recommendable book and though it may sound a bit gloomy, it actually isn't. Very good indeed.
am 20. Juli 2000
There is little suspense (in the traditional sense of the word) in Krakauer's Into the Wild, as anyone who reads the synopsis or picks up the book instantly learns that it is the story of a young man, Chris McCandless, who ventures into the Alaskan Wilderness and who never gets out. Chris' body is found in an abandoned bus used by moose hunters as a makeshift lodge, and Krakauer skillfully attempts to retrace his steps in an effort both to understand what went wrong, and to figure out what made McCandless give away his money, his car, and head off into Denali National Forest in the first place.
His book was one of the most haunting, unforgettable reads in recent years for me. I was mezmerized by passages in the author's other best-selling masterpiece Into Thin Air, such as the passage involving stranded and doomed guide Rob Hall, near the Everest summit, talking to his pregnant wife via satellite phone to discuss names for their unborn child. However, I was unprepared for the depths of emotion felt in reading Into the Wild - it literally kept me up at nights, not just reading but thinking about the book in the dark.
Some reviewers criticized the book because they thought McCandless demonstrated a naive and unhealthy lack of respect for the Alaskan wilderness. This is no hike on the Appalachian Trail - Chris was literally dropped off by a trucker into the middle of nowhere, with no provision stores, guides, or means of assistance nearby at his disposal. He had a big bag of rice and a book about native plants, designed to tell him which plants and berries he could eat. "How could he have been so stupid?", they ask.
Well, I certainly didn't feel compelled to give away my belongings, pack some rice and a Tolstoy novel and walk into the woods after reading the book, but the author does a remarkable job of exploring McCandless the person, including passages derived from interviews with the many poeple whose lives he touched in his odyssey as he drove and then hitch-hiked cross country from his well-to-do suburban home. Some of the more touching parts of the book involved tearful reminisces by some of these old aquaintances when they learned he had perished.
Krakauer also throws in for good measure an illuminating passage about a similar death-defying climb that he foolishly attempted at about the same age as McCandless, with little training and preparation, providing insight into what makes a person attempt a dangerous climb or hike. He even tells several fascinating tales, all of them true, of other recreational hikers who were stranded in the wilderness.
By the end of the book, I thought I understood McCandless' character, and I thought Krakauer was probably right in putting his finger on exactly what caused his death. I was moved by his plight regardless of his possible foolishness in venturing into Denali, and the final scenes involving Chris' family were emotionally devastating. You need not be an outdoorsman to appreciate it, and in fact unlike Into Thin Air the book is completely accessible to those who know nothing about the subject. I think this book is destined to become a classic.
am 19. Mai 2000
INTO THE WILD is a confusing book with a great plot for discussing. About three plot lines are carried on at the same time, where the auther Jon Krakauer is telling his story, side charectors stories are added in for benefit, and the main plot that continues on through the entire story. The main plot focuses on a young man, Chris McCandless, who has money and sucess and gives it all up for a life of wandering and freedom. While this may be the plotline for thousands of other books, INTO THE WILD was pleasantly (or disturbingly) twisted by Jon Krakauer into a complicated dance of really living, and death. Chris McCandles dies, we find that out in the first chapter. After we find out about his death though, the reader gets a chance to meet the people who played a role in McCandless' search for self. Starting out with Jim Gallien, "Gallien wondered whether he'd picked up one of those crackppots for the lower forty-eight who come north to live . . ." As readers, we meet a chain of colorful charectors who help him along the way. The problem with this plot line is that the charectors are not always introduced in a logical way. They also do not necessarily make sense when they are introduced into the story line. Start a new chapter, such as chapter nine, and an entirely new plot is started. We have a new charector named Everett Russ. He wants to climb around a place called Davis Gulch. The language is beautiful in this section "Tall grasses sway in the breeze. The ephemeral bloom of a sego lily peeks from the toe of a ninety-foot stone arch, and the canyon wrens call back and forth in plaintive tones ..... . . .", the language is beautiful in the rest of the book. This is a very important fact. Sometimes the eloquent language is the only thing binding a reader to this book. One of the most important thing about INTO THE WILD is the ending though. In the last 100 pages many important issues are brought up that make the book worth reading. 1) We learn about the how starvation affects the body 2) We hear the effects of McCandless' adventures on his family, and how they deal with his death 3) Much moral thought is addressed about the passions and desires of young people and 4) (the most important :) ) we learn wild sweetpea and wild potato information. Take my word for it, if you have the time to really think about this book, and the friends to read it with you to help you understand the difficult parts, then it is a wonderful experiance with a lot of good thinking. If you want an easy read though, this is not the book for you.
am 16. März 2005
This is a poignant, compelling narrative of an intelligent, intense, and idealistic young man, Chris McCandless, who cut off all ties to his upper, middle class family, and reinvented himself as Alexander Supertramp, a drifter living out of a backpack, eking out a marginal existence as he wandered throughout the United States. A modern day King of the Road, McCandless ended his journey in 1992 in Alaska, when he walked alone into the wilderness north of Denali. He never returned.
Krakauer investigates this young man's short life in an attempt to explain why someone who has everything going for him would have chosen this lifestyle, only to end up dead in one of the most remote, rugged areas of the Alaskan wilderness. Whether one views McCandless as a fool or as a modern day Thoreau is a question ripe for discussion. It is clear, however, from Krakauer's writing that his investigation led him to feel a strong, spiritual kinship with McCandless. It is this kindred spirit approach to his understanding of this young man that makes Krakauer's writing so absorbing and moving.
Krakauer retraces McCandless' journey, interviewing many of those with whom he came into contact. What develops is a haunting, riveting account of McCandless' travels and travails, and the impact he had on those with whom he came into contact. Krakauer followed McCandless' last steps into the Alaskan wilderness, so that he could see for himself how McCandless had lived, and how he had died. This book is his epitaph.
am 9. November 1999
"Into the Wild" is one of the most unusual and powerful books I have ever read. Krakauer tells the story of Chris McCandless very skillfully, in haunting, mesmerizing prose. Krakauer's themes are grand, but he makes his points with great subtlety and understatement. Some readers have failed to understand what he is up to, but those who are perceptive will get it.
Some readers, for instance, apparently didn't understand why Krakauer included two chapters about his own solo Alaskan adventure, which he undertook when he was the same age as McCandless. But Krakauer's inclusion of these chapters is absolutely essential to the book's success. Far from being "filler," these chapters explain (albeit between the lines) why Krakauer was so obsessed with the tragedy of ChrisMcCandless, and shed a great amount of (indirect)light on McCandless's motivations.
The writing techniques and structural strategies Krakauer employs in this book are quite sophisticated and somewhat risky, and will no doubt pass over the heads of some readers, but I think the risks Krakauer took are worth it, and the book succeeds brilliantly when all is said and done. "Into the Wild" will one day be recognized as one of the classics of twentieth century American literature. If you read it, I guarantee it will get under your skin. You will not be able to stop thinking about Chris McCandless.
am 23. Juli 2000
This is the tragic stroy of Christopher McCandless, a man who was willing to sacrafice everything for a chance at experiencing life as few people ever do. One day Chris, or Alexander Supertramp as he preferred to be called, decided to cut all ties with the modern world and live in absolute freedom. Jon Krakauer beautifully narrates the reader through Alexander's ill-fated adventure that finally ended in an abandoned bus in the wilds of Alaska. Along the way, the reader is introduced to a collection of colorful people who have also sought escape from the trials of daily life. These glimpses help to put Alexander's uncommon desire to break from modern society into its proper perspective. Into the Wild is also a story about one family's love for their son, and the search for understanding and closure concerning his eventual death. In the process the reader is given great insight into the mind, and possible motives for his desire to escape. But, as we find out this is not just the story of one family, but, the story of many people and families that Alexander touched in his odyessy across America. Despite the fact that Alexander's quest cost him his life, I would dare to say that during those four brief months he felt more alive and experienced more than most people do in a entire lifetime. His warm smile on the opening page is a testament to the happiness, and contentment that he experienced in his self-imposed solitude. Finally, this is not merely a book about the tragedy of death, it is instead a celebration of nature and one mans quest to experience it.
am 5. März 1999
Early on in Karkauer's account I disliked Chris McCandless immensely. He displayed a selfish and unjustified lack of respect for his parents, his government and his society. Yet his nomadic lifestyle would have been impossible without the generosity of strangers living in the "conventional world" he so despised. And in the very last days of his life, he was forced to plea for help from the same "conventional world" from which he so readily withdrew. While reading the second half of the book, however, may views began to change. Mr. Krakauer does a fine job of explaining the drive behind such men as McCandless (and himself). Contrary to other readers, I found these sections immensely helpful in trying to understand McCandless, and I came to gain more respect for the main character. In the end, Into the Wild is most interesting because it tells a biographical tale of the author himself and others like him. As the author explains, Krakauer undertook similar solo journies in Alaska at around the same age. He too could have died. To portray McCandless as selfish or sophomoric meant indicting himself. Nevertheless, Krakauer's well-written prose does not shy from such self-flaggelation. He reflects honestly on the dangerous risks such young men (including himself) have taken, does not seek to justify them but to explain them, and leaves the reader with the knowledge the losing yourself in the vastness of nature is unlikely to cure troubles that may exist within.
am 28. April 2000
When faced with the opportunity to be sprung from prison and escape the death penalty, Socrates told Crito that the really important thing was not to live, but to live well.
As citizens of a wealthy and prosperous nation, most of us have the luxury of free time and can ponder Socrates' essential question: "What is a life well lived?" Many of us try to apply that question to the way we raise our children, to the books we choose to read, to how we choose our friends, and to how we recreate.
Jon Krakauer tells the story in Into the Wild of Chris McCandless, an Emory University graduate, who decided to explore Socrates' question by eschewing all the material luxuries of his life and experience life at its rawest.
I found this story to be the quintessential American story. Chris McCandless wants to be free. He wants to be pure. He wants to live life over the edge. And he does. He travels, first in a car he abandons and then by foot and water over large expanses of the USA, making friends who deeply love him, who can't forget him, who are deeply affected by him, until he decides to live in the wilds of Alaska.
It's in Alaska that the stakes of Chris's life become mortal and the story becomes tragic. Suddenly each choice Chris makes, whether dietary, navigational, or philosophical has consequences that are enlarged by the conditions he lives in. As readers, we begin to see a magnification of our own lives, how our deeds determine us, just as Chris McCandless's determine him and his fate.
Krakauer's research is comprehensive. The story is compelling. Krakauer's inclusion of his own experience as a young man in Alaska deftly parallels McCandless's and helps deepen and reinforce the idea that having the freedom to pursue one's dreams to their ultimate can be exhilirating, painful, and dangerous.
I consider Krakauer one of our country's very finest writers and recommend this book very highly as a first-rate narrative and a probing philosophical exploration written in lucid, taut, accessible prose.
am 26. April 2000
Into the wild is a story of an intelligent, well-off young man with everything going for him until he decided that money, education and materials are meaningless. The same determination that helped Chris McCandless excel as a high school cross-country star enables him to survive the lifestyle he comes across after college. He rides the rails, canoes to Mexico on impulse and survives it all on nothing more than wits, luck and an ever-present bag of rice. In an increasingly crowded world, it was difficult for McCandless to find the physical isolation he sought, but his inward journey was more important than his external surroundings. Krakauer, a writer for Outside magazine who obviously shares McCandless' wanderlust, explains often-mysterious inclinations in a clear and revealing way. "In coming to Alaska, McCandless yearned to wander uncharted country, to find a blank spot on the map," Krakauer writes. "In 1992, however, there were no more blank spots on the map in Alaska not anywhere. But Chris, with his peculiar logic, came up with an elegant solution to this dilemma: He simply got rid of the map. While McCandless viewed nature and solitude as the keys to fulfillment, he profoundly touched those he encountered on the road prior to his fatal journey to Alaska. He comes across as engaging yet ultimately unapproachable in his brash pursuit of raw, austere experience. Krakauer succeeds in capturing McCandless' unique personality even as he establishes links between his subject and a loose alliance of adventurers who also took to the wild in search of meaning and identity. Over the years, Alaska has been a magnet for intrepid characters that trek into the bush, never to reappear. For example, Gene Rosellini, the son of a wealthy Seattle restaurateur, hoped to return to a natural state by scavenging and hunting game with spears and snares. He endured Alaska's bitter winters clad only in rags and fashioned a windowless hut without benefit of saw or ax. After declaring this experiment a failure, Rosellini made plans to walk around the world, but he never got the chance. He was found lying face down on the floor of his shack in 1991, dead of a self-inflicted knife wound to the heart. Krakauer's own foolhardy, yet determined, attempts to climb "an intrusion of diorite mountain called the Devils Thumb" in Alaska during his youth sheds still further light on McCandless. Based on his own experience, Krakauer convincingly argues that McCandless wasn't suicidal, as many have speculated. Despite his fate, it is difficult to say that McCandless died in vain. Or to deny that his approach to life is an enviable one in many respects. Although McCandless would probably laugh at the notion, he is a profoundly American figure, uncompromising in his approach and thoroughly optimistic about the future. In an age when the idea of "roughing it" is like having a sport-utility vehicle and thousands of dollars in camping equipment, McCandless was in touch with the essential essence of nature. He is also a reminder of what can happen when you take an all-or-nothing approach into the wild. This is truly a story that gives man respect for nature's beauty along with its principal dangers.
am 11. September 2009
der bergsteiger und journalist j. krakauer schildert im vorliegenden buch einen erschütterneden tatsachenbericht um das verschwinden des jungen chris mccandless in der wildnis alaskas. die meinungen über seinen tod sind sehr unterschiedlich, von anfeindungen wegen seines fahrlässigen, schlecht vorbereiteten "abenteuers" bis hin zur bewunderung seines mutes. krakauer hat seinen roman sehr gut mit hilfe der familie von chris und zahlreichen reisebegenungen recherchiert.
die geschichte ist sehr spannend und fast wie eine dokumetation aufgebaut. krakauer versucht auch nicht eine sympathie oder antipathie für den helden zu polarisieren. es bleibt immer noch dem leser überlassen ob man mccandless handlungen gutheißt oder ihn als dummen jungen abenteurer sieht.
für mich ist das eindringen in die wilde schönheit der natur, die einsamkeit und das überleben in der wildnis ein interessanter gedanke. doch alle handlungen von chris kann ich nicht nachvollziehen, zb warum er sein geld verbrennt - das scheint mir dumm und trotzig.
die verfilmung von sean penn interessiert mich sehr, doch ich wollte zuerst das buch lesen um eigene bilder im kopf entstehen zu lassen. bin also sehr gespannt.
das buch ist auf jedenfall sehr empfehlenswert und erschütternd.