Into the Wild Epub â Into the Epub / Paperback

Librarian's Note An alternate cover edition can be found hereIn 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 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 a party of moose hunters found his decomposed body How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the WildImmediately after graduating from college in 1991 McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car stripped it of its license plates and burned all of his cash He would give himself a new name Alexander Supertramp and unencumbered by money and belongings he would be free to wallow in the raw unfiltered experiences that nature presented Craving a blank spot on the map McCandless simply threw away the maps Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister he vanished into the wild


10 thoughts on “Into the Wild

  1. says:

    This book is a wonderful cautionary tale I will probably read it again with my daughter when she is old enough to discuss it Unfortunately I'm afraid the reason most people will read the book and see the new upcoming movie is for a different reason Chris McCandless in the book and from what I understand in the movie is a hero and courageous for flying in the face of everything he grew up with to find a better way A young man unhappy with the materialism hunger and waste in the world angry with his father for not being a perfect father to him intellectually superior a fantastic athlete in top condition and yet a young man who died because of his own decisions and his own actions He cut off ties to his family hitchhiked and worked his way to Alaska headed into the wild in April 1992 and was found dead in August 1992 most probably from starvation How wonderful to fight against the odds and ask real questions Unfortunately Chris didn't really fight against any odds he took the easy way out by cutting off real relationships Chris may have asked real questions but he denied real people the opportunity to answer them in any way because he had already decided what was the right way This is not heroic It is immaturity It is tragic and sad yes but not heroic or courageousAfter reading the book I think Chris died because he was foolish Intellectually bright yes Athletically gifted yes But he had no wisdom Wisdom has been defined as skill in living and wisdom is not always bestowed on the young and the healthy and the intellectually smart The opposite of wisdom is foolishness His anger and questioning drove him not to wisdom but to self reliance and an overweening arrogance in his own ability to get through it Well we see the result of those decisions and those attitudes to quote Darwin Chris is an example of how survival of the fittest applies Chris was not fit therefore he did not survive But why wasn't he fit? He was smart and young and gifted in many ways but he chose to abandon relationships and abandon those who loved him and create himself anew with no relationships and no ties He walked away from people who loved him made friends with people who came to love him and walked away from all of that to find his answers in the wild on his own The way away from love and relationship leads not to life but indeed to death And death is what Chris gotThe book quotes Chris' mother as saying I haven't prayed since we lost him pg 202 An older man who befriended Chris Ronald Franz also says When Alex left for Alaska I prayed I asked God to keep his finger on the shoulder of that one I told him that boy was special But he let Alex die So on December 26 when I learned what had happened I renounced the Lord I withdrew my church membership and became an atheist I decided I couldn't believe in a God who would let something that terrible happen to a boy like Alex pg 60 But God didn't do anything to Chris except let him do as he wanted? If Chris sought real answers to his hard questions God is there and God can help but you have to know you need help and submit to someone wiser than you Chris McCandless never submitted willingly to anyone and he certainly never admitted anyone else had teaching or wisdom for him He was smarter than everyone else better able to see the truth than anyone else So the heritage Chris McCandless left is one that drives his mother to stop praying and converts an old man to atheism Is this the heritage anyone would want?So read this book but read it with questions in mind Why are we lauding a young man as a hero who was actually a foolish man? What kind of society are we in where real courage and real heroism are somehow playing 2nd fiddle to selfishness and arrogance? When are you so intellectually intelligent that you become stupid? Is there any time when foolish decisions could be called courageous? In a search for truth and what really matters in life is it acceptable to think nothing of hurting those people who are most vulnerable to you? When you die will the way you lived your life cause others to abandon their faith or grow in their faith? Is it ever courageous to be selfish and think only of yourself? Is it harder to walk away from a relationship or to stay in a relationship and work on making it better? Would you ever teach anyone else that the way to have real relationships is to limit yourself only to those people who cannot ever hurt you?Real courage real heroism comes when you love others and you serve others Real courage has nothing selfish in it Fathers and husbands who remain with their families and provide for them even though they would rather have a mid life crisis and leave it all they are courageous and heroic They remain they work they don't father or husband perfectly but they remain in difficult relationships It courageous to stay in the hard parts of life and try Mothers and wives who sacrifice and serve again and again and again without books being written about them without thanks but who continue to love and give of themselves to others That is courageous It is hard to stay in messy relationships It is easy to leave It is courageous to stay and do hard things It is easy to leave and do what you wantSo let's read this book but read it as a cautionary tale This is what happens when you seemingly 'have it all' but have not love When you die will people be driven to become atheists? Will people stop praying when you are dead? Or will you live a life of wisdom and love? Will you leave behind you a heritage of godly love and service? Will people pray because of the example you left them? Will they be loving better mothers or fathers or sisters or brothers? Or will they become angry and arrogant and foolishness? Yes this is a good book to read But let's read it for the right reasons and with the right questionsNOTE In the book and in the movie the author proposes that Chris ate some poison berries which caused his death But tests have been made around the area and plants that would have been available to Chris were tested and no toxic berries or plants have been found The truth is probably that he starved Too few calories coming in high expenditure of calories for hunting and keeping warm resulted eventually in such a calorie deficit that he died Some good articles I found on Chris McCandless include Park Ranger Peter Christian wrote “I am exposed continually to what I will call the ‘McCandless Phenomenon’ People nearly always young men come to Alaska to challenge themselves against an unforgiving wilderness landscape where convenience of access and possibility of rescue are practically nonexistent When you consider McCandless from my perspective you quickly see that what he did wasn’t even particularly daring just stupid tragic and inconsiderate First off he spent very little time learning how to actually live in the wild He arrived at the Stampede Trail without even a map of the area If he had had a good map he could have walked out of his predicament Essentially Chris McCandless committed suicide”18 Some may argue that this is what he wanted all along given his troubled pastAn update as of Sept 2013 as to how McCandless died See which documents the poison contained in wild potato seeds Consuming these seeds introduces a neurotoxin into the body which results in lathyrism This condition causes gradual paralysis which ultimately made McCandless very weak unable to stand or walk and thus unable to forage or hunt for food