Author: Jon Krakauer
Title: Into the wild
Length: four months
Type: some hitchhiking, some walking
The spirit of youth
JK writes about Christopher McCandless, a young man who ventured out into the wilderness of Alaska in the spring of 1992, stayed there by himself for four months, and eventually died due to malnutrition.
The story is well paced and compact (around 200 pages), and while seeming very thoroughly researched, it presents itself in a rather emotional form of journalism that even borders gonzo at times. I liked it.
The thing I liked most about it was the strong empathy pulsing from the author towards the young and reckless McCandless. JK avoids idolizing the young man, but when he talks about his own mountaineering experiences in the 70s, I can’t help but find it apologetic for McCandless’ behavior fifteen years later.
Jon Krakauer’s strong empathy
There is one paragraph that I highlighted: “It is hardly unusual for a young man to be drawn to a pursuit considered reckless by his elders; engaging in risky behavior is a rite of passage in our culture no less than in most others. Danger has always held a certain allure.”