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The text on the dust jacket of Jon Krakauers Into the Wild makes it clear that the thread of suspense running through this compelling book isnt necessarily tied to the fate of its subject 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 the jacket reads His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless He had given 25000 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 Four months later his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter With the demise of McCandless already revealed Krakauer concentrates on the forces that drove the devotee of Thoreau Tolstoy and Jack London to the icy environs of Alaska and ultimately to his death Krakauers skill as an investigative reporter is impressive but it is his ability to reveal McCandless inner motives that makes Into the Wild such an intriguing book Instead of coming across as just an antisocial misfit McCandless emerges as a disciplined uncompromising individual guided by an earnest brand of asceticism The same determination that helped him excel as a high school cross-country star enables him to survive the vagabond lifestyle he embraces after college For McCandless rejecting mainstream society doesnt mean publishing a zine He rides the rails canoes to Mexico on a whim 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 esoteric inclinations in a clear 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
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