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Publisher's Summary

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. His body - along with a camera with five rolls of film, an SOS note, and a cryptic diary written in the back pages of a book about edible plants - was found six months later by a hunter.
©2007 Jon Krakauer; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Terrifying...Eloquent...A heart-rending drama of human yearning." (New York Times)
"It works. The listener can imagine Franklin's voice under a television special; Krakauer's text fills in the pictures with ease. Franklin wisely chooses to become involved in the text, rather than trying to manipulate it." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

A Book that Never Left Me

I picked this book up in an airport bookstore. You know how that goes. It's slim pickings for anything other than a NYT Bestseller, Romance novel, or books on improving your golf swing. But unlike most last-minute-airport -purchased books, I had it in my hands at every opportunity until I finished it. 'Riveting' is the word. After you've read it, 'haunting' is the word; I've never entirely escaped it.

This is the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless – a young man with tremendous Jack London and Hemingway ideals that wanders unprepared into the Alaskan wilderness. The rest of the book contains what otherwise might pass as filler – but isn’t; the stories of other young men, their idealism gone awry, who wander into the wilderness on journeys of self discovery and mad attempts to triumph over nature.

Krakauer is qualified, too. He used to be one of these reckless, idealistic young men. He was a central participant in his infamous novel “Into Thin Air”. I’ll never forget his recollection of solo free-climbing (no safety ropes or partner) a very dangerous peak, thousands of feet in the air, with only his ice pick and crampons, feeling like his legs were going to go out from under him, and worrying that he’d faint, because behind his back just out of sight, there was nothing except the great roaring of nothingness and a drop to the ground that no one would witness. Crazier? McCandless or the young Krakauer?

What you’re missing out on are the pictures of McCandless’ journeys. Make absolutely certain to get to a book store and at least flip through a copy. The cover photo sums up the reason why this book continues to haunt me. It’s a picture of a snow covered, abandoned school bus – a bleak landscape, the middle of nowhere; pines, a grey sky, no one in sight – that McCandless used as a shelter, stranded and struggling for survival in the wilds of Alaska.

76 of 77 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Compelling

Highly recommended. I was mesmerized as much by the author's account of his own extreme wilderness climbs as by Chris McCandless' journey of self-discovery. If you do buy this, listen again (and again) to Chris' letter to the old man who befriended and wanted to adopt him. It is a challenge to us all to forego the comfort and safety of ordinary lives and seek instead the raw experience of life without boundaries. His extremism cost him his life, but his legacy is a reminder to live each day, not merely exist.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Into The Wild

Wow, this book will haunt you. Jon Karkauer did some excellent research as well as shared his own simular experiances in writing this one and I am sure Chris' family really appreciated it.

The movie was great but you have to read the book to get the full impact of this story.

I just can't get this one out of my mind.
You must read it!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • S
  • Houston, TX, USA
  • 01-26-08

Wild

I had seen this book in the store many times but never thought it looked any good. Then a friend said I'd love it, so I gave it a try.

Contrary to the many negative reviews of the narrator, the story, etc. (which also made me not want to buy it), I thought the narration was suitable for the story and not bad at all.

The story is not necessarily 'new,' but it is told in such a way that it was hard to put down. And there is much more to it than 'just a guy going into the wild and starving to death.' The end is interesting and unexpected.

One reviewer said the book had no point and they just didn't get it. Well, I don't get that. The book has many points and was interesting on many levels and points of view. It is a story of survival, and of death, but it is also a story of idealism, struggle on many levels, seeking the immaterial, and a journey in itself, with much background information.

For anyone who has ever sought something more than the consumer world offers, this book will very likely push a few buttons. And for those who think this guy was just an idiot like Grizzly Man, there is much more to it than that.

See the movie after reading the book.



29 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • iReview
  • Reisterstown, MD, United States
  • 08-04-13

Very interesting story. Reader was fine

I enjoyed the story. I admit, I didn't like the main character. I think he was a narcissistic, naive, misguided young man who didn't appreciate others. Having said that, I think the author..who probably disagrees with me on that, had a purpose in writing this to make the reader think about that very issue...whether he was a good guy or everything I described Chris/Alex as.

In some ways, I wonder if the character merited a whole book about him.

As for the reader, I found him to be just fine. I don't agree with those who didn't like him. There are some amazing readers (like the one who does most of the Stephen King work), but this story didn't call for a hugely dramatic reading. I found it just right and wouldn't for a minute pass by this book because of the bad reviews Philip Franklin got. I think he read this just the way it should have been read.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Amber
  • Fort Collins, CO, United States
  • 01-01-12

Bitterly dissapointed with narration

I love this book. I love the story, I think it's told perfectly, a wonderful balance between the life of Chris, his family, his friends, his rides, the people Chris was likened to, and Krakauer's own experiences. To the previous reviewer who questioned the need to include Krakauer's own experience: The story could easily be told without that section, but it would have suffered for the omission. Among other things, it helped bridge the gap between "what we think we know" and "what a near-death in the frozen wilderness is actually like".

So why three stars? Well, the title says it all. This book is all but ruined by the narrator. In the book there are quotes all over the place - from Chris, from people Krakauer spoke to, from Krakauer himself. And yet the narrator does not change his voice at all for each of the different parts. I found myself getting confused - is he still reading from Chris's journal or is he back to Krakauer's voice? It completely wrenches you out of the story, and stops the heart of the story coming across.

Add to that the audio-sin of dodgy recording... a repeated line or two due to someone not worrying about listening to the final product before releasing it (probably in too much of a rush to cash in on the movie success to worry) makes this an audio book I would not recommend.

As to the actual book - do yourself a favour, buy, beg, borrow - find a copy. Remember your young ideals. Remember the times you've done stupid things that could've ended very differently. Enjoy this book.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Leslie
  • Hillsborough, NC, United States
  • 03-02-09

Love this book, left me wanting more!

What a perplexing young man. It is a tragedy that "Alex Supertramp" did not live to tell his own story. It would have been magnificent to glimpse into his mind, even for a second. To find out what he really was thinking. Not many men or woman hold themselves to such a strict moral code.

I wish that I could find more stories that move me in such a way.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Read- Great Listen

I've read this book at least 5 times over the past 10 years and I'm riveted every time. The audio book is awesome but I'm disappointed that Mr. Krakauer didn't narrate it himself. He's a great author and even better narrator in my opinion. Don't pass this up.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Boxford, MA, USA
  • 08-27-07

Great Real Life Story!

It's amazing what this young man went through. There are many lessons to be learned about what is important in life. Especially for the materialistic got-a-have it now Blackberry generation.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Valerie
  • tempe, AZ, United States
  • 10-08-07

this books changes you

This by far is the best Audible purchase I have made. Simple said it is an incredible story and told in splendid manner. I think about this book often and it has changed how I live my life.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • @Scattered_Laura
  • 09-17-12

Inspiring and cautionary.

Krakauer's narrative of McCandless' last months is a piecing together of letters, postcards, interviews and notes scrawled in the margin of a book about edible plants. Despite the somewhat scattered threads, Krakauer manages to sew together a tale which is both incredibly inspiring and sadly cautionary.



Readers of this book will, I imagine, fall into one of two camps. One group will see McCandless as an ungrateful fool who didn't make the most of the privileged situation into which he was born. Yes, he gave his money to charity, but it could be argued that someone with McCandless' brains and education could have made more of a difference to the world around him if he had used his idealism and tenacity (and that $25,000) to benefit others instead of indulging his desires to be an intrepid explorer.



The other camp will admire McCandless' daring willingness to live a life less ordinary. He wanted to do something so he did it. He wanted a different kind of life and wished for a different kind of world, and did all he could to make these things a reality. That's a noble ideal, right? Brave even. But also, yes, undoubtedly selfish and somewhat foolhardy.



I find myself with a foot in each of the camps. I understand McCandless' thinking. He was looking for an adventure, for a new and more poignant existence in some untamed part of the world. Unfortunately, he was looking for the sort of adventure that just isn't possible now.



He could have chosen a better adventure. He should have taken measures to ensure that his need for change wouldn't have hurt those who cared about him. But he was also willing to "be the change". In my mind, that made him special.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-29-16

best book ever

I've watched the film, and found it inspiring. after listening to this book, it has let me understand him more and gave information about Chris that the film doesnt share

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Karolina Mierzwiak
  • 11-13-17

Love it!

What an amazing story! I never really listened to real life stories but this book has changed my mind. The pace of the reading was easy to follow and I couldn't wait to finish it.

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  • Scott
  • 09-10-17

Thought provoking

Honestly, I normally listen to renegade cop books so this shouldn't be my thing. I've only bothered because Eddie Vedder done the soundtrack

A very good listen. Was thought provoking and I was disappointed she it ended

If you're thinking should I or shouldn't I get this book, you should

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  • Jesse Crystal
  • 06-26-17

An amazing story!

Such a vivid story, it makes me want to go out and leave my world behind to have an adventure of my own.

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  • Jamie
  • 05-08-17

Beautiful

A stunning book - far superior to the movie, which barely touches the depths of the novel.

  • Overall
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-13-17

The folly of youth and a search for meaning

Krakauer eloquently explores the life of enigmatic Chris McCandless, who in a search for truth and from a dissatisfaction with the tedium of life, undertook an epic journey across North America, ultimately leading to his death. Krakaur's approach is balanced and journalistic -he supports assumptions and suppositions with copious research and the testimony of friends, family and the strangers that McCandless happened across on his adventure. The resulting book is not only fascinating for the facts it succinctly describes but also, and mostly, the insight it gives into the mindset of an intellectual, idealistic young man bent on proving his worth and finding truth. It poses questions about what it is to be a young man, what it is to live in modern society, whether human beings need company and what it is to live in the shadow of one's parents, amongst others. The first chapter or so takes a little while to gergert into, but if you're iike me you will soon be completely hooked!

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  • P. Howard
  • 01-13-17

Interesting story, not the same connection as the actual book

The story is well read for the most part, although when the narrator puts on a slight feminine accent for the parts spoken by females it kind of takes you out of the moment. It would have been better to have a female voice those parts. Otherwise a good solid listen.

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  • mr
  • 05-05-13

very well read..

I'm glad I heard the book rather than reading it or seeing the film, because its the narrator that makes all the difference, as with any story.

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  • Emma
  • 08-31-12

Really good way of telling the story.

I really enjoyed the way the story was told through interviews and through putting pieces together, rather than from Christopher's point of view. It's a really good story and I enjoyed the author's personal experience stories that related to Christopher's. The narration was good, not that annoying as I normally find with American accents (sorry, no offence!), but at times it did make you feel a bit sleepy as it was read slowly. However the story was really interesting and engaging so helped. Would reccomend.

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  • Delamotte
  • 08-23-17

Very good

Very good story and good narrator, I really enjoyed to hear it during my working time

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  • Charlie
  • 07-22-17

Life-changing and moving

A book for those with a strongly nomadic soul. Alex will live on in our hearts.

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  • Sarah
  • 03-16-17

People are amazing! Great tale!

If you could sum up Into the Wild in three words, what would they be?

Just. Do. It.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I love how when Chris would make his mind up about something, anything, there was no talking him out of it or no turning back on it. He made commitments and stuck to them. For himself an his life, his integrity was honorable and I admire that.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

There is a film lol

Any additional comments?

My comments on the book are all good. However, I can't understand why the audio file breaks down into 6 Chapters instead of the 18 there actually are. This means if you stop listening for a period of time, you not only have to remember the chapter but also the time along the chapter. I have noticed many audiobooks don't follow the true chapters as such.

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  • Mark
  • 01-22-17

Wonderful story of internal wandering

Amazing story of of an intelligent young mans analysis of the world and review of himself. Beautifully read making it easy to connect with the story and the wilderness setting.

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  • Lachlan
  • 11-11-15

4.5*

Awesome story. The .5 was taken away due to some bits being a bit slow where they talk about some of the other stories of other survivalists.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Leo
  • 09-19-15

Epic

Really enjoy the way this book covered the Chris's life. so much good detail with all the research done.
I would highly recomend it, will no doubt listen to it again

0 of 1 people found this review helpful