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Into the Wild

Into The Wild.
Jon Krakauer

The story of the life of Christopher McCandless who Into the Wildaged 24 set off into Alaska on a personal odyssey aiming to survive on what he could gather or trap. Chris was to die only a few months later of starvation losing his personal battle against the elements. His story is carefully told here by Krakauer who not only paints a picture of Chris’s life but also shares his personal experience of the compulsion to rebel against a conventional lifestyle.

Reading other reviews of the book, many focus on McCandless, either seeing him as naive, idealistic and misguided, or praising him as a courageous modern day embodiment of Thoreu or Jack London.

The real joy of the book for me is that it reveals the paradox that he is both of these at the same instant.

We are creating an increasingly myopic society with ever narrowing definitions of what is right. The result is an increasing pressure to conform, and the destruction of diversity. We have overseen the destruction of ‘unworthy’ human cultures and are speaking openly of the inevitability that species for which we’ve found no need will soon disappear.

The future has never been less certain, and yet we seem destined to pin our faith on a narrowing set of options.

Sad though the subject of this book may seem, it is also a call to each of us to question ourselves about what really matters and the part we should each play.

The book has since been turned into a feature film with the same title.

Steve Unwin
January 2010

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