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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

 

I just finished this book which is the story of Christopher McCandless, who died in the Alaskan wilderness while attempting to “live off the land”.  This was an interesting read with a few exceptions.

 

Overall, this does a pretty good job of telling the story of what is believed to have happened to McCandless as well as the events leading up to his tragic trip to Alaska.  I think Krakauer did a pretty good job of researching the events and, although short on actual facts, he does present them in an interesting fashion.  I did notice a couple of places where he states that something may not be fact, but then proceeds to tell the story as if it were.  In a lot of cases, the book reads like a reality TV show, hyping up to something before breaking for a commercial, then rehashing the hype a couple more times.

 

My general take on the situation is that McCandless was an arrogant, reckless young man lacking in a lot of common sense, who chose to turn his back on his family. It seems he liked his “adventures” and, although a bit glamorized by the writer, in reality, it seems simply dumb luck that he did not die sooner.  He finally pushed things too far and ended up paying the ultimate price for his arrogance and stupidity.  He went into a very harsh and unforgiving environment, woefully unprepared and ill equipped. The book, in places, does seem to try to glamorize or make excuses for this, but the facts are obvious.

 

I am not quite sure why Krakauer chose to include two chapters (oddly, both with the same name – “The Stikine Ice Cap”) amounting to about 20+ pages of his own “adventure” in Alaska climbing The Devil’s Thumb.  Reading this sub-story, he also went into this virtually unprepared, ill equipped, taking unnecessary chances and is lucky to have not died in the process.  This whole section seemed to be nothing more than Krakauer trying to brag about his adventure when a simple “young men do stupid things” would have easily and more succinctly made the point.

 

Overall, this was a good read, but a bit disappointing.  There is no real “survival information in this book; read it only for entertainment.

 

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I disagree with your assessment, but I respect your opinion.

 

Do you blame Chris for trying to escape what has become of the modern world?  Trying to escape the grips of consumerism and live free?

Not at all.  I believe his methodology was flawed.

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Krakauer wrote this article later which adds a little more info and some unpublished research.    Kind of interesting.  I do agree with your take on both Krackauer and McCandless.

 

 

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/how-chris-mccandless-died

An interesting article and the research makes sense based on what he said in the book. Have you read the book, Doc?

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An interesting facoid - the rifle McCandless took with him on his final "odyssey" is the same .22 that I have and use with the addition of a scope.

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I picked the book up and took it with me to MO about 3 years ago, but I left it in a hotel after only getting about 2 chapters in.  Never did pick it back up.

 

 

I don't blame McCandless for trying to get away from it all and doing something as pure as living in nature, but I do believe (Based on what I've read from various sources) that he was ill prepared and overestimated his abilities and did not have enough knowledge of the landscape he was going to. 

 

 

That is why that second article makes me think he may have stood a better chance with a bit more study of the location and it's resources.  I don't think he was an idiot, but he undertook a task he wasn't fully prepared for. 

 

 

 

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I disagree with your assessment, but I respect your opinion.

 

Do you blame Chris for trying to escape what has become of the modern world?  Trying to escape the grips of consumerism and live free?

Have you read the entire book, Watcher?  Anyone else?

 

Has anyone seen the movie?

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I wonder, as well, how long McCandless would have survived had be not stumbled upon the old bus? This provided shelter, a cook stove, and a bed.  Apparently, he was not aware it was there and it was not his destination.

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I completely forgot they made a movie about it.  Gonna have to check and see if it's available.  have you seen the movie?  If so, does it follow the book?

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I remember reading that article.  Cool!

The entire article or just the first couple of pages??  (LMAO - sorry, could not resist that one)

 

No, I have not seen the movie.

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It was a long time ago, but my father in law had a box full of outside magazine from a subscription.  That was the first place I ever heard about McCandless.  Funny how the mind remembers some things. 

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I read the book and saw the movie. i agree with watcher, there is nothing wrong with breaking the constraints of commercialism. but from the book i got the image of a spoiled rich kid doing stuff to defy daddy.  i personally saw a slightly arrogant  young man that thought he could just pick up a book and walk away from it all.  the movie i really didn't like for how it tried so hard to glorify him.  arrogance can get you killed just as fast as anything else in the wilds. not to be construed with confidence. confidence comes from experience and trial and error. the book or story just proved to me what ive said for many years. you cant just read something or watch a video and know it.  he made simple errors that compounded into one huge problem that cost him his life. 

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I think before you go out to live like that you should have some survival training I don't know if he did or or not les talked about this story in his book will to live

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Found this article last night which is a bit critical of the book by Krakauer and the film. According to this, McCandless simply died of starvation, no poisoning, just lack of food. According to their research, his BMI dropped under 14 (threshold needed in humans to support life) and he died.  According to the autopsy, he was down to about 83 pounds when he died.

 

As well, this article claims he did have a map with him and if he would have just looked at it, he would have seen another road about 6 miles to the south that would have gotten him across the river.

 

http://www.tifilms.com/wild/call_debunked.htm

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Interesting.  That makes the later Krakauer article using Hamilton's research look like another attempt to keep his "Vision" of MacCandless going. 

 

 

I've never seen the movie, is it worth watching or just a bunch of hype?  After your review, I don't think I'll bother with the book.  The other articles seem to be more accurate portrayals of the known info with less bias either direction. 

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Interesting.  That makes the later Krakauer article using Hamilton's research look like another attempt to keep his "Vision" of MacCandless going. 

 

 

I've never seen the movie, is it worth watching or just a bunch of hype?  After your review, I don't think I'll bother with the book.  The other articles seem to be more accurate portrayals of the known info with less bias either direction. 

As I noted previously, I have not seen the movie.  I probably will when it comes out on Dish.

 

The book was an interesting read and I did enjoy gleaning the facts from it (in spite of the apparent bias). However, I doubt I will read anything else written by Krakauer.  I personally like to look at all sides of a discussion for myself and make my own decisions based on my own interpretations of what I find.

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Have you read the entire book, Watcher?  Anyone else?

 

Has anyone seen the movie?

 

I read the book years ago. I don't even know a movie had been made until I watched it with Ace back in the summer. Do I recall that McCandles had mental emotional problems? He was depicted as a very bright young man with some issues.

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I read the book years ago. I don't even know a movie had been made until I watched it with Ace back in the summer. Do I recall that McCandles had mental emotional problems? He was depicted as a very bright young man with some issues.

There is all kinds of speculation on that but nothing I have found he was actually diagnosed with.  He did check himself in to the mental hospital in Fairbanks at one point, but left after two weeks.

 

All indications were that he was very smart, but seemed to be lacking in common sense.

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here is my $0.02, take it or leave it.

 

let me start with a definition.....this is from my own mouth, so dont pull out the encyclopedia on me!

 

bushcraft.......having nothing, and yet able to make tools and devices needed for survival or living off the land either temporary or permanently.

 

survival.......TEMPORARY use of tools and items until one's self is rescued or returned to thier "normal state".

 

 

those being said.......McCandless went into the woods with very little supplies, and no real knowledge of anything in the area.....the "supplies" he took were meager to say the least, and because he knew nothing of anything in the area, looking things up as he went didnt help him, and lead to his death!

 

items in your "suvival" pack, will eventually run out, the food, water, purifying tablets etc.......then what do you have....an empty pack with other items that will slowly degrade over time......such as knives and sharpeners, fishing kits and the like......but at some point......they will be gone too.  then what do you have...nothing, what you carry in your head is pricless, hence my refference to bushcraft over surviving.

 

if you want to walk off and live off the land forever......dont let me stop you....i would really encourage it. but you better know what the heck you are doing. Chris didnt. it killed him, as sad as it is, it was his own fault.

 

not shown in the film much, but shown in the first few chapters of the book, he was pursueded by the truck driver who gave him a lift to let him outfit him with some gear to help him, that man hunted and grew up in the area, knew what the weather and climate, the land, the game, what everything was like.......he even told him how ill preppared he was.

 

he still went, lost and unhealthy amount of weight due to starvation (mild) and has insufficent kit, if he hadnt found that bus, he would have died alot sooner from exposure probably.

 

i would sum the book up  as " what not to do, when you want off the grid"......and the movie as a " hollywood fantasy with a tragic ending in stupidity"

 

again...my $0.02.....take it or leave it

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Well put, Falco.  I agree with your comments.

 

Throughout the book, McCandless comes off as arrogant and over confident.

 

It is also noted that three other cabins within a few miles of the bus were vandalized during the time McCandless was there and there is speculation that he was the culprit.  These were stocked with some supplies, but no mention of what happened to these is in the book.  I am wondering if he found the cabins, took the food that was there and then busted them up.  There is no mention of this in his journal, but this could very well be that he did not want to admit to what he had done (as well, very little is in his "journal" which was written on margins or back pages of other books). 

 

He also supposedly had a fishing pole with him and was next to a couple of lakes, but apparently never tried to fish.

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Into The Wild was never a survival manual, never was and never will be. It's about breaking free of the consumerist shit storm we call society. In his short life he experienced alot more 'adventure' than most people ever will. So many people I talk to would love to walk out of their boring 9 to 5 job, flick the bird to society and do whatever the hell they wanted to. Christopher McCandless did that and that is why I loved his story.

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