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By examining the true story of Chris McCandless, a young man, who in 1992 walked deep into the Alaskan wilderness and whose SOS note and emaciated corpse were found four months later, internationally bestselling author Jon Krakauer explores the obsession which leads some people to explore the outer limits of self, leave civilization behind and seek enlightenment through solitude and contact with nature. 'an astonishingly gifted writer: his account of 'Alex Supertramp' is powerfully dramatic, eliciting sympathy for both the idealistic, anti-consumerist boy - and his parents' Guardian 'a compelling tale of tragic idealism' The Times

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780330351690
ISBN-10: 0330351699
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x 15mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Pan Books
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publish Date: 12-Mar-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » In April 1992, Christopher Johnson McCandless hitchhiked to Alaska, and walked into the wilderness alone. Four months later, a group of hunters found his decomposing body in an old bus. Reporting on the case, Jon Krakauer discovered a strange and unsettling story. McCandless, a high-achiever academically, and an excellent athlete, had dropped out of sight a couple of years prior to his death, given away all his savings, abandoned his possessions, and gone to live in the wilds, inspired by the likes of Thoreau and John Muir. Krakauer researched further, and here tells the story of the enigmatic McCandless, a young man whose stubbornness and idealism led him to shrug off the trappings of 20th-century civilization and live a life of great deprivation and asceticism, in a world unable to fulfil his needs. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life"; "be nomadic." Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something - the Alaskan wild - that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul. A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (Kirkus Reviews)

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