Into The Wild



Jon Krakauer was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on April 12, 1954. The family moved to Oregon when he was young and Krakauer’s father, a doctor, began taking his son mountain climbing when he was only eight years old. Krakauer graduated from Hampshire College in 1976 and then devoted himself to mountain climbing while working as a carpenter and commercial fisherman in various parts of the US, including the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. In 1995, Krakauer reached the peak of Mt. Everest. On the descent, four members of the six-person team died. One of the two survivors, Krakauer documents the experience in his 1997 book Into Thin Air. The book was a New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

As a journalist, Krakauer has been widely published in periodicals such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Rolling Stone, and others. He has written several full-length works of nonfiction and received the Academy Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999. Into the Wild, first published in 1996, reconstructs the last two years in the life of Christopher McCandless, a young man from a well-to-do Virginia family who was discovered dead of starvation in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992. The book—which pieces together a narrative of the last two years of McCandless’s life through interviews, letters, photographs and journal entries—has elements of investigative journalism, biography, and memoir. Krakauer originally covered the story for Outside magazine in 1992, shortly after McCandless’s body was found, and his article triggered an avalanche of widely varying reader response. Many readers admired McCandless, while others thought he was a fool, a narcissist, or possibly insane.

In his opening Author’s Note for Into the Wild, Krakauer says, “I was haunted by the particulars of the boy’s starvation and by vague, unsettling parallels between events in his life and those in my own.” He spent the next year retracing...

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