The Stranger in the Woods

The Stranger in the Woods

The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

Large Print - 2017
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t
TootinMoose
Feb 07, 2018

What makes this book compelling is the depth of story telling. More than a simple, journalistic description, the author brings up the challenging aspects beyond man-lives-in-woods. The main character steals, knows it is wrong, but still does it. Do we despise a man who steals food from a camp for children or admire his thievery being limited to essentials? There are other interesting issues along the way. To me, the ending was the best part. After so many years separate from people, how will he react after being submerged back in society. In summary, a great book about a good story.

s
swheeler89
Jan 30, 2018

Crazy story and well told. Appreciate how the author researched and interviewed a variety of groups (local neighbors, medical professionals, law enforcement, hermits) to focus on a complete character portrayal. Quick read and definitely recommend!

p
posie12
Jan 26, 2018

Well written. very interesting.

f
feralranger
Jan 19, 2018

Fascinating and thought provoking. A well written account of a man who isolated himself from other humans for 27 years and did so by living in a camp in dense Maine woods throughout every season, all kinds of treacherous weather and by stealing packaged foods from vacant summer cabins. He is considered by some to be a true Hermit as he had no contact with another living being, except for an exchange of Hello with a hiker for all of those 27 years. No other hermit in recorded history has spent that much time in isolation. One of the most interesting and disturbing facts I found was that most of us only go about 8 hours without any interaction with another and that 9 out of 10 people would rather subject themselves to electric shock treatment than to be alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes!
There is much to discuss about an anomalous life, how some crave it and how others fear it.

This is an excellent choice for a book discussion!

r
runningbeat
Jan 04, 2018

I really liked the book as I to have thought about living off the land and what it would be like. This book describes it well, as Chris Knight did it over 27 yrs until he got caught stealing. Stealing only to survive. The book leaves you with, why people do this, was he a true hermit? I think the system failed him and his punishment in this case was wrong. Since Knight was caught only a couple years ago, and if he so wishes, it would be nice if he could live out in the bush on his own, away from people, government helps so many people, why not help him.

e
esquetee
Nov 22, 2017

I loved this book. I want to read this book again sometime. I only wish this book had been longer. Are there issues with the way the information was obtained / the telling of this person's story? Sure, yes. I hadn't heard any of the interviews or read anything about the background of this book. I saw it on a shelf at the library and the subtitle immediately grabbed me. Ended up reading the ebook version. To read about someone doing exactly what I've often fantasized about doing (except the stealing parts) with bits of history mixed in about other people who have done this throughout time ... it was like taking a little hermit vacation myself.

AL_LESLEY Oct 26, 2017

The fascinating story of Christopher Knight and his return to civilization after 27 years alone in the woods of Maine. Told with feeling by the author.

f
fred98115
Oct 03, 2017

Read by the fireplace when it is the last book in your stack. A twenty-year old man disappeared into the Maine forest in 1986, living in a camp for nearly thirty years without human contact except for his burglaries of food and equipment from cabins. Eventually caught, arrested and convicted.

t
thebritlass
Sep 19, 2017

I really enjoyed this and found it hard to put down. The actual story of the hermit, while interesting, doesn't take long to tell, but the author takes time to explore the themes of the man's story - silence, time, withdrawal, hermits, etc. that was also good food for thought.

AL_HOLLYR Sep 18, 2017

One of the most intriguing, thought-provoking books I have read this year. The fascinating tale of the man who may have been the the last "true" hermit in the United States. Well-written with lots of interesting musings about the question of whether or not socialization is a necessary part of being human.

n
nellybells
Sep 11, 2017

Absolutely amazing book. I actually listened on audio cd but comments are not posted for that format. I listened to it about a week ago and can't get it out of my head. Imagine - 27 years living in a tent in the Maine woods. (He actually had made it quite comfortable because of his stealing) But he was near death from cold and starvation. It is such an incredible story. There is so much to say: why he did it, he doesn't know. Perhaps autism spectrum. He definitely wasn't a crazy man. And I thought I was reclusive!

AL_SARAHD Sep 05, 2017

Many of us wish to make an escape from this world; to go off into the wilderness and never return. Christopher Knight is the exception. He left his world, his family, and his possessions for a life of complete silence and solitude. They called him "hermit" or "insane" but it is only through his own words, that we are finally given truth.

AL_SARAHD Sep 05, 2017

Many of us wish to make an escape from this world; to go off into the wilderness and never return. Christopher Knight is the exception. He left his world, his family, and his possessions for a life of complete silence and solitude. They called him "hermit" or "insane" but it is only through his own words, that we are finally given truth.

c
Clamato
Sep 05, 2017

Just finished this remarkable story and am hoping that Chris Knight is doing well where ever he is. As a child, my father took myself and a few others on a hike to meet a hermit. Not at all sure how he knew of him but this guy was eccentric. I remember the collection of small wind up clocks - all ticking. Cheap plastic toys you would get at a summer fair lined up on shelves and when I tried to touch them - he got mad at me. I was 5 or 6. That was contact though with other humans whether he liked it or not but C.K. did not see anyone other than a hiker in the decades he was in his wooded home. Remarkable. I can't imagine how painful it was for him to be dragged back to a modern world with so many technological changes, so busy and so noisy. To see his mother and siblings again. To be caged in a jail.. Very interesting read and enjoyed all the historical references. Was glad to get to know this interesting and fascinating person.

multcolib_susannel Aug 19, 2017

True story of a man who loves everything about the world except its people.

Chapel_Hill_AmandaG Aug 16, 2017

I was completely fascinated by Knight's story because who hasn't ever thought about escaping from the world for a few days (or longer)? However, I did finish the book feeling frustrated because I never got to the point where I really understood Knight's mindset or his motivations for living the way he did. I do think Finkel did an admirable job in reporting the story and making it as engaging as possible but was simply prevented from going any deeper due Knight's unwillingness to share more. This would be a great pick for any book group because it is sure to generate lots of thoughtful discussion.

SCL_Tricia Aug 11, 2017

I didn't agree with the author's view point and perspective on a few things but I enjoyed the book. It is not very often that you can say that, usually if I disagree, I don't like the book. I enjoyed the back history on hermits and Knight. His childhood sounded interesting and I would have liked to know more. I found the book to be just the right length, the author did not try to drag it out into more than it was and I did appreciate that. All in all a great book to start a discussion.

b
bronteside
Aug 10, 2017

Stunning.
An original work of non-fiction mystery.
The irony of a man who leaves the world to escape people
But needs them to finance his new world.
Hermit, loner, misanthrope : Christopher Knight belies all labels.
Michael Finkel gets close to this outlier, but never penetrates
The enigma of Knight.
Nor would anyone else. Knight probably doesn't understand himself, nor cares to.
A disturbing,fascinating and compelling read.

e
elleryqueen
Aug 10, 2017

What a wonderful read! I really enjoyed this book. I can't imagine stealing from other people though. I would miss having contact with other people. Too bad this man could not have found a way to be a Hermit without stealing. Elleryqueen

SCL_Heather Aug 10, 2017

Fascinating!

s
SiouxieQ
Aug 09, 2017

I listened to the Audiobook and I oftentimes found myself sitting in the driveway just waiting to see what happened next. This story is fascinating and inspiring in a way that you wouldn't expect. It's a quick "read" and is perfect for sitting on a comfortable couch, curled up with a blanket. While though-provoking, it is accessible and the descriptions of the wilderness are like a mini-vacation for your mind. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

m
MplsTA
Jul 26, 2017

Once I started this book I could not put it down. How can someone live in the Maine woods with virtually no human contact for years? Someone did and this is his story. I enjoyed the author's attempt at getting to know this modern day hermit and learning what his day to day life was like and what it took to survive in the woods for many years with a homemade tent encampment. Why would a man leave everything to "camp out" by himself for so long- getting everything he needed from the woods or breaking into cabins and just taking what he needed to survive.

The author tries to understand "hermit-ism" and living a life of solitude. There are many books on the subject and the titles are listed at the end of his book. I am looking forward to reading several.

I have read the author's other book called "True Story: Murder, Memoir and Mea Culpa" which was turned into a movie. It is also a very good read.

ehbooklover Jul 22, 2017

This book tells the fascinating story of a man who lives in a forest without any human contact for almost 3 decades. It is not only his story, but is also an examination of the history of solitude and of hermits. I really liked that the author managed to avoid treating the subject in a sensationalized manner. Rather, it was treated in a very empathetic and sympathetic way.

f
forgeman
Jul 15, 2017

I found this to be a quick and easy read as it flowed along nicely without being too complicated. but how do you complicate a story of a guy whose sole wish was to just be left alone. there's only one person who knows why Christoper Knight chose the path he did, and apparantly he's not talking. The author did some thorough research to chronicle Knight's time in the woods and to think of what he went through is fascinating. I'd love to hear what he's up to these days, is he still at home? has he gone for a walk with the Lady in the Woods? has he found another fortress of solitude? I guess we'll never know.

t
taylorwoods
Jul 08, 2017

Such an incredible, well-researched, and well-written book about a man who just wants to be alone. Makes me want to read "hermit books" as this book refers to.


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