Jon Krakauer takes what is a very prosaic tale, a young, idealistic young man, drops out of society to live purely in nature, and turns it into a meditation on youth and its misspent energies, and the American experience of nature writ large with its harsh and beautiful lessons. In the process, he made Chris McCandless into a folk hero
Into the Wild chronicles the travels of Christopher McCandless, who after graduating from college, walked away from his upper middle class life (not even contacting his parents) to hit the road. In the summer of 1992 he died of starvation in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan back-country.
Very much in the American/Romantic vein, Krakauer tells the story of McCandless’ increasingly drastic efforts to move away from civilization, to find that something-solid in Nature absent from normal human life.
Part biography, part autobiography, Into the Wild is about young men who are willing to take risks, and the American fascination with the wilderness; both the promises that it holds, and its terrible elusiveness.