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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 listeners say about Into the Wild

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating True Story

This is a fascinating story and it is well told here. I watched the film first and it inspires me to want to read the book. The film follows the real story very closely.

An interesting young man who made some individual and ultimately tragic decisions. Worth a listen.

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I have had a happy life

I don’t know why it took me until now to read this book. But I’m glad I finally did.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Much, much, much better than the movie.

Amazing story telling by Jon. It is well worth the listen for fans of the movie.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Dragged on a bit

For me the story was nothing new and I felt it dragged on a bit. For those who aren't familiar with the vagabond lifestyle it's a good listen.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Got boring fast

I bought this book because of the reviews but I was very disappointed. Seems this guy may have had a mental illness of some sort or a death wish.

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Wonderful

I first read this book as a twenty something facing an existential crisis. Jon succinctly details the true story of a youths perilous wanderlust with tales of his own. A breathtaking and heartbreaking true story. I’ve always felt quite connected to the spirit of Chris. I hope wherever he is, he is roaming mountains and is content. A truly eye opening book, one most suited for the young ones trying to find what makes themselves themselves.

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Brilliant, Amazing, Lost in his story!

This is an amazingly written book, the story is fantastic and you get easily lost in Chris’ adventures. Would listen too again 100%.

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Fascinating true story

This non-fiction tale is enjoyable and easy to listen to - it's not lengthy, at all.

There were several occurrences in the editing, when a sentence was repeated. This was a little distracting for me.

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Life-changing and moving

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

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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig Mitchell
  • 07-08-2007

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.

115 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen T. Mcdavid
  • 28-02-2008

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.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • S
  • 26-01-2008

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.



38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amber
  • 01-01-2012

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.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Leslie
  • 02-03-2009

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.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-04-2008

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!

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Buckingham
  • 07-11-2007

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 23-03-2013

Much better than the film, but...

Having been a huge fan of this story since I first heard of it, I was excited to listen to the audio version. While there is nothing wrong with the narration, per se, the post production leaves much to be desired. There are several times, as others have noted, when a line of audio is repeated. Although it only happens a few times, it takes away from the emotion and flow of the story. Even while listening the second time, these errors bothered me.

Aside from a few flaws, I did thoroughly enjoy the book. As an avid traveler of the country, I can relate to Chris's need to feel freedom. This is the perfect companion on a long road trip.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Valerie
  • 08-10-2007

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.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 27-08-2007

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 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • @Scattered_Laura
  • 17-09-2012

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.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • William Stock
  • 29-05-2016

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

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • 16-02-2018

Into the Wild

I saw the movie before I ever read the book and I used to love it, a guy leaving society behind to live a life of great adventure. It amazing and I think I always wanted to do, even thought I am not half the human Chris was, I didn't do well in school and I didn't go on weekly crusades. Reading this book, changed the way in which I saw him however. He had a good work ethic and had some good ideals. But he was also terribly stubborn and quite a crappy human when it came to the people that cared for him. I feel bad for his parents and the people in who's life he came in and changed. It is fantastic to go on great adventures, but not telling a single soul of where you go is foolish and begs for trouble. Anyway, my rating is more indicative of the story within the book than the book itself. It was a good read, well narrated and quite enjoyable. If this story strikes you as interesting, you should definitely read it.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fin
  • 29-12-2020

As close as you’ll get to being on the road with Chris

A great listen, some beautiful additions in here that really make you feel like you knew Chris in a way. Definitely check out Carine McCandless’ book The Wild Truth too, it’s a perfect companion to this book.

Will definitely listen again.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-06-2020

Love the film, not so much the book

I had high hopes after having seen the film, the book is a slight disappointment.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-04-2021

truly inspiring

loved it a truly inspiring story , has changed my outlook on life RIP Alex

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Antony Christian
  • 06-04-2021

A truly amazing book.

loved what Chris did and why he did it, he reminds me of me. Rip

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 11-03-2021

Food For Thought

A sad but well written (and read) story of an idealistic young man, perhaps born out of his time.
The author uncovers a surprising amount of detail about his subject's literal and philosophical journey. It is read in an engaging and appropriately unhistrionic style. There are some editing errors, mostly repeated sentences here and there, but it's not a deal breaker.
Gripping and heartbreakingly redemptive. Recommended.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-02-2021

An interesting read

I seen the film before I read the book and I did like the film... the book is well written and the author gives the reader the freedom to make his or hers own decision about why a young man would go off into the Alaskan wilderness never to return. He gives the facts as they were and doesn't judge. I like that. Worth a read/listen

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr&Mrs_Linny
  • 04-02-2021

Not great

Got this as I loved the film (if it's ok to love a film that's so sad and based on truth). I didn't realise that there was so little really known about Chris and actually hardly any diary info or first hand thoughts of his so it's all just guess work and info from those who met him. The main issue I have though is the other explorer narratives which are discussed and which just get confusing to the point you don't know if it's Chris' story or someone else's... especially if you take a break and come back. Too dry for me and just would have liked more real info on his journey than hearsay. The film made it feel like there was lots of info on really what happened to him and what he went through but that clearly isn't the case. No one really knows why he did what he did which I didn't appreciate on watching the film.

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