Read The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel Online

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality--not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly de...

Title : The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781101924921
Format Type : Audio CD
Number of Pages : 224 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit Reviews

  • Cathrine ☯️

    4+★

    The words Extraordinary Story in the subtitle were certainly applicable with this one.

    A young man drives as far as his car will take him, then abandons it, walking into the woods where he will live hidden for 27 years. To avoid detection, he leaves no footprints, never building a fire for warmth or cooking throughout the subzero winters of Maine, subsisting on provisions which he steals from uninhabited summer cabins.

    In a global world of sameness and imitation, Christopher Knight is like no o
    ...more

  • F

    I was sent this book from Goodreads.

    I really enjoyed this book. More than I thought I would.

    Really interesting.

  • JanB

    3.5 stars

    Haven't we all at one time or another just wanted to escape and get away from the noise and hustle and bustle of modern life? Maybe for a week or two. And maybe with a spouse or friend. Christopher Knight did just that - except he lived totally alone for 27 years in the woods in Maine, with extreme weather and no human contact except for one "hi" when he accidentally came across a hiker.

    The word hermit conjures up a vision of an ascetic who goes off to live a solitary life for spiritual
    ...more

  • Petra X

    Four stars, just. There were two stories here, but the author only told one. I understand why but I am frustrated so I added, 'just'.

    All-American kid age 20 abandons his new car and wanders off into the woods to live alone and make a career out of burglary. Strange eh? Not half so strange as his family who never even report him missing or make any attempt whatsoever to find him.

    The book would have been shorter if the author had stuck to the title but it was padded out with history, famous hermi
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  • Laura

    I started this book and finished within 24 hours. It's absolutely fascinating. I do not think that it was acceptable to steal from others but it's pretty amazing that this guy stayed off the grid for 27 years. This book was so interesting. It has taken alot of self-control not to tell every detail to my family members. If you need a book to discuss in social settings where the people are not book nerds(like me), grab this one. Totally recommend to anyone.

  • Diane

    This book was so fascinating and engrossing that I had to give it five stars.

    The Stranger in the Woods is the unbelievable-but-true story of Christopher Knight, who in 1986 decided to go into the Maine woods and live alone in the forest. He wasn't discovered until 2013, when he was caught stealing food from nearby cabins. In those nearly three decades, Knight lived outdoors in a tent, never once sleeping in a building. (This is an astounding feat considering how cold Maine gets in winter.) He de



    "It's better to be tough than strong, better to be clever than intelligent ... I was tough and clever." — Christopher Knight



    Michael Finkel heard about Knight's story on the news and was intrigued enough to send him a letter. At this point Knight was being held in jail for his burglaries, and after some correspondence, Finkel flew to Maine to meet him. It was difficult getting Knight to open up, but eventually he shared stories of his time in the woods, and some reasons why he felt the need to escape society.

    While reading, I was reminded of another beloved book, Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. It's a similarly fascinating story about a young man, Christopher McCandless, who felt the need to escape into nature, although McCandless ended up dying alone in Alaska. What Finkel was able to do in The Stranger in the Woods is to get a modern-day hermit to talk about his reasons for wanting solitude in nature and for isolating himself from other humans. The insights into Knight's behavior were interesting and thought-provoking.

    "All his life, he'd been comfortable being alone. Interacting with others was so often frustrating. Every meeting with another person seemed like a collision."

    Besides conversations with Knight, I liked that Finkel included examples of other hermits throughout history, and also some relevant research from psychologists and sociologists. There are also great literary references throughout the book, since Knight liked to read so much. I would highly recommend The Stranger in the Woods to everyone.

    Favorite Quotes

    "In many cultures hermits have long been considered founts of wisdom, explorers of life's great mysteries. In others they're seen as cursed by the devil. What did Knight wish to tell us? What secrets had he uncovered? Or was he just crazy?"

    "Two of life's greatest pleasures, by my reckoning, are camping and reading — most gloriously, both at once."

    "Knight lived in the dirt but was cleaner than you. Way cleaner. Pine needles and mud don't make you dirty, except superficially. The muck that matters, the bad bacteria, the evil virus, is typically passed through coughs and sneezes and handshakes and kisses. The price of sociability is sometimes our health. Knight quarantined himself from the human race and thus avoided our biohazards. He stayed phenomenally healthy."

    "His chief form of entertainment was reading ... The life inside a book always felt welcoming to Knight. It pressed no demands on him, while the world of actual human interactions was so complex. Conversations between people can move like tennis games, swift and unpredictable. There are constant subtle visual and verbal cues, there's innuendo, sarcasm, body language, tone. Everyone occasionally fumbles an encounter, a victim of social clumsiness. It's part of being human. To Knight, it all felt impossible. His engagement with the written word might have been the closest he could come to genuine human encounters."

    "I have no desire to travel. I read. That's my form of travel."

    "Modern life seems set up so that we can avoid loneliness at all costs, but maybe it's worthwhile to face it occasionally. The further we push aloneness away, the less we are able to cope with it, and the more terrifying it gets. Some philosophers believe that loneliness is the only true feeling there is ... We live locked in our own heads and can never entirely know the experience of another person. Even if we're surrounded by family and friends, we journey into death completely alone." ...more

  • Eve



    "Silence, it appears, is not the opposite of sound. It is another world altogether, literally offering a deeper level of thought, a journey to the bedrock of the self."

    Can you think of a time when you isolated yourself for some quiet time? No communication with the outside world or other beings? I can remember a time in my mid twenties when my routine was as follows: after work on Fridays, I would turn off my phone, head to the grocery store for some weekend staples, pick up my holds from the l

    "The dividing line between himself and the forest, Knight said, seemed to dissolve. His isolation felt more like a communion. 'My desires dropped away. I didn’t long for anything. I didn’t even have a name. To put it romantically, I was completely free'...This loss of self was precisely what Knight experienced in the forest. In public, one always wears a social mask, a presentation to the world. Even when you’re alone and look in a mirror, you’re acting, which is one reason Knight never kept a mirror in his camp. He let go of all artifice; he became no one and everyone."


    This was a fantastic read! I wish it hadn't ended so abruptly. I was hopeful but a little sad, too. The afterword and acknowledgment pages provided a lot of supplemental reading material on solitude and other hermits that I'll definitely be looking into. ...more

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    *looks around at high ratings on Goodreads*



    *Decides to still review this stinking ass book*

    Okay, so when I first starting reading this book I actually liked it.

    It tells the story of a shy man who just decides to leave civilization one day and head off into the woods. He lived completely by himself and survived by robbing a neighboring camp and cabins. For twenty seven years.

    TWENTY SEVEN years.

    I find that part just fascinating. Christopher Knight didn't announce any reason for his departure he
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