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

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Year: 2018
ASIN: 1101911530
ISBN: 1101911530

For 27 years, Christopher Knight lived in the woods of Maine without coming into contact with another person. In 1986, at age 20, he drove into the woods and left his car behind for a life of seclusion. He broke into nearby homes and a summer camp for supplies, taking only what he needed to survive. These break-ins made him a legend--elusive, never violent, but unsettling all the same.

He was finally caught during one of his burglaries, and author Michael Finkel was fascinated by the story of the last true hermit. He connected with Knight through letters and interviews. Though Knight wanted no fame and had kept no record of his life of solitude, his story was slowly revealed.

Finkel tells the story of a man with an extreme desire for isolation and how he managed to elude authorities and the intrusion of the outside world for so many years. Knight is a fascinating person, resourceful and singularly focused. I listened to this on audio and it was riveting.

About the Book

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Many people dream of escaping modern life. Most will never act on it—but in 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight did just that when he left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another person for the next twenty-seven years.

Drawing on extensive interviews with Knight himself, journalist Michael Finkel shows how Knight lived in a tent in a secluded encampment, developing ingenious ways to store provisions and stave off frostbite during the winters. A former alarm technician, he stealthily broke into nearby cottages for food, books, and supplies, taking only what he needed but sowing unease in a community plagued by his mysterious burglaries. Since returning to the world, he has faced unique challenges—and compelled us to reexamine our assumptions about what makes a good life. By turns riveting and thought-provoking, The Stranger in the Woods gives us a deeply moving portrait of a man determined to live his own way.

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