Into the Wild

  • by Jon Krakauer
  • Narrated by Philip Franklin
  • 7 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 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. His body - along with a camera with five rolls of film, an SOS note, and a cryptic diary written in the back pages of a book about edible plants - was found six months later by a hunter.


What the Critics Say

"Terrifying...Eloquent...A heart-rending drama of human yearning." (New York Times)
"It works. The listener can imagine Franklin's voice under a television special; Krakauer's text fills in the pictures with ease. Franklin wisely chooses to become involved in the text, rather than trying to manipulate it." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Book that Never Left Me

I picked this book up in an airport bookstore. You know how that goes. It's slim pickings for anything other than a NYT Bestseller, Romance novel, or books on improving your golf swing. But unlike most last-minute-airport -purchased books, I had it in my hands at every opportunity until I finished it. 'Riveting' is the word. After you've read it, 'haunting' is the word; I've never entirely escaped it.

This is the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless – a young man with tremendous Jack London and Hemingway ideals that wanders unprepared into the Alaskan wilderness. The rest of the book contains what otherwise might pass as filler – but isn’t; the stories of other young men, their idealism gone awry, who wander into the wilderness on journeys of self discovery and mad attempts to triumph over nature.

Krakauer is qualified, too. He used to be one of these reckless, idealistic young men. He was a central participant in his infamous novel “Into Thin Air”. I’ll never forget his recollection of solo free-climbing (no safety ropes or partner) a very dangerous peak, thousands of feet in the air, with only his ice pick and crampons, feeling like his legs were going to go out from under him, and worrying that he’d faint, because behind his back just out of sight, there was nothing except the great roaring of nothingness and a drop to the ground that no one would witness. Crazier? McCandless or the young Krakauer?

What you’re missing out on are the pictures of McCandless’ journeys. Make absolutely certain to get to a book store and at least flip through a copy. The cover photo sums up the reason why this book continues to haunt me. It’s a picture of a snow covered, abandoned school bus – a bleak landscape, the middle of nowhere; pines, a grey sky, no one in sight – that McCandless used as a shelter, stranded and struggling for survival in the wilds of Alaska.
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- Craig Mitchell


I had seen this book in the store many times but never thought it looked any good. Then a friend said I'd love it, so I gave it a try.

Contrary to the many negative reviews of the narrator, the story, etc. (which also made me not want to buy it), I thought the narration was suitable for the story and not bad at all.

The story is not necessarily 'new,' but it is told in such a way that it was hard to put down. And there is much more to it than 'just a guy going into the wild and starving to death.' The end is interesting and unexpected.

One reviewer said the book had no point and they just didn't get it. Well, I don't get that. The book has many points and was interesting on many levels and points of view. It is a story of survival, and of death, but it is also a story of idealism, struggle on many levels, seeking the immaterial, and a journey in itself, with much background information.

For anyone who has ever sought something more than the consumer world offers, this book will very likely push a few buttons. And for those who think this guy was just an idiot like Grizzly Man, there is much more to it than that.

See the movie after reading the book.

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- S

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-02-2007
  • Publisher: Random House Audio