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

by Michael Finkel

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The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well crafted story, around the minimalist content provided by the main subject, Chris Knight. Thoroughly researched in order to provide accurate background content. An easy read that compels the reader to examine society through the lens of one who rejected it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an interesting read, but it let me down. It constantly goes back to ancient history about hermits. At first it was interesting but now I have 40 pages left and I am struggling through. It looks to me like Christopher Knight didn't give him enough details, so instead of a book into the life of this man it is a history lesson. You learn about him in the beginning and then nothing interesting pops up after. What a waste.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like many of us, I was curious to this mystery I Maine. The author answered many questions, but he raised many more. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
B-loNY More than 1 year ago
Read a lot of books and this is right up there with the best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nicely written!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. While the initial draw for me was the fact that this took place in my home state, I quickly become drawn to Chris Knight and his ability to follow his own path. Or, his inability to comply with social norms. Michael Finkle does an excellent job describing the state of Maine and how we value our privacy and independence. This is a fascinating story and I expect to explore deeper with some of the author's suggested reading. A must read for all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book. The Author had good insight into why people seek solitude in the wilderness. This specific individual lived among people, but never interacted with people, very strange.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. Not what I was expecting, but really well done. It is definitely a cerebral book that makes you think long after the last page is read.
Candice_S More than 1 year ago
This book is remarkable and compelling as it follows the story and trying to understand the "why" of a man who chose to live as a true hermit for 27 years in the forests of Maine, before being arrested by police and forced to reintegrate to normal society. This read definitely took a more scientific and philosophical approach than I was anticipating, however that didn't take away from the story itself. Rather, it helped better understand why someone would make such extreme life choices, often at such a detriment to themselves. I only wish there had been more meat from the hermit himself - however I understand the complexity of him not wishing to share himself with the world. Super interesting read that will cause readers to stop and think about how we exist in our own worlds.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars I wanted to know more about the life of Christopher Knight. He had lived the life of a hermit, living alone for 27 years in the woods in Maine and the thought of this, intrigued me. I wanted to know how he had survived, what his days were like and what had happened to him. As I listened to this novel, I realized Knight was not a true hermit, at least in the definition that I had. This was a frustrating novel for me. I started to wonder if perhaps I was the only one who had a different definition of a hermit so I began asking my friends about their own definitions. The answers I received included: isolation, living off the land, denouncing society, defying societies growth and progress, they all seemed to agree with these basic themes. My view followed most of these ideas, so I felt better. At the age of 20, Knight drove his car as far as he could into Maine’s dense forest, placed the keys on the dashboard and began walking. Without any plans or supplies, he began his solitude life. I wouldn’t call Knight a hermit because he didn’t actually live the life of a hermit. He only lived a secluded life. When Knight needed something, he left his hidden camp site and found it. When he needed food, he stole it. He broke into people’s homes and businesses and took what he needed to survive and then he took more. He took radios, a tv, children’s game systems, books and magazines. He took clothing and household items, he took things that did not belong to him. Besides physical items, he took away an individual’s sense of security as he raided their possessions. I found it frustrating that people want to study him to see how he survived. He survived by stealing. He was content in the woods. He knew it was wrong to steal yet that didn’t stop him. And now that his life is different, he has to change but in reality, Knight would rather be back in the woods living like he did before. I found it interesting that he lived 27 years without having much communication with others. When they located his campsite, it wasn’t far from other individuals. He had to hear them, right? He just didn’t respond. So, what’s your opinion? Have you read this novel or heard Knight’s story? Perhaps you’ll need to read this novel to form your own opinion. There is nothing against the author, as he told Knight’s story. It’s the story of Knight, what he did, and how people think he’s an amazing individual that upset me. Reading this novel will definitely make you think.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written. Finkel does a great job telling Knight's story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An epic story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very compelling and explained in detail how this man survived alone in the woods for 27 years. Not everyone is strong enough to do it the way he did. His mind seemed altered in a way that he could endure it. Many normal people mentally would hit some kind of wall or breakdown. I found I could not put this story down. It was Avery good read.
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
In a world as frenetic as is this present age, the thought of escaping the chaos and living alone in an isolated spot is appealing to many. Its appeal lasts as long for we dreamers as it takes to realize how difficult such a task would be. Shelter, food, water, protecting the isolation, the very isolation itself, all become factors in “succeeding” in such an endeavor. Most humans in the Western Hemisphere get edgy when they are “isolated” for a few hours; solo, long-distance hikers rarely go more than 48-hours without contact with another human. Christopher Knight spent 27 years alone in the Maine woods and had contact with another human only once in that time span. In that exchange he spoke one word, “Hi.” Christopher Knight was reared in a close-knit, isolated, emotionally-closed family of eight (five boys, he being the youngest and one girl). He was taught in that loving atmosphere to be respectful, hard-working, self-sufficient, industrious and extremely private. His decision to withdraw from society was, from all appearances, sudden and remains unexplained. His “home” while in the Central Maine woods (the exact location is on private land, therefore its location was not given) was three minutes from a cabin, yet was so well hidden that he had to lead the authorities to its location after he was apprehended. He kept the site neat (he shoveled the snow, swept the pine needles from the area, buried his refuse), efficient (his sleeping, cooking, shower, restroom, trash areas were handy but separate) and sustaining (he was there for 27 years, the trash dump took a work crew, using heavy equipment, days to clear out, it was near a seasonal population who could afford to replenish goods he had stolen so he could steal them again). He stayed there all that time without ever building a fire (he used propane taken from the area’s cabins for heat and cooking). The book was written using the information gathered from five letters, seven, one-hour interviews and two short meetings after Mr. Knight was released from jail. The author noticed a news bulletin noting “The Maine Hermit” had been caught and chased the story. Mr. Finkel has an affinity for being alone and mistakenly thought that would be a connection between he and Mr. Knight. Due to the limited experience he was allowed of Mr. Knight (the interviews were stilted and limited by Mr. Knight’s unwillingness (inability?) to be forthcoming with information), much of the book is the projection of Mr. Finkel’s expectations and experience. The values Mr. Knight learned, then claimed as his own, from his parents abhorred thievery, but his need to remain unnoticed and alone won out over his ethics. He reports and appears to be ashamed of those actions and willingly admitted his crimes when questioned. The justice system mandates some measure of “understanding” for crimes committed and the court-mandated psychologist was successful in giving him a diagnosis, but that “explanation” for his actions does not cover the motivation for such actions. He had not been abused, was not without means (he had a job and familial support when he “disappeared”), was rational and well-ordered in all aspects yet choose to no longer participate in society. This was not a quest for enlightenmentor a religious commitment, he only wanted to be alone in the quiet. Mr. Knight choose to be a completely free individual, as much as he could be such a person. He lived as he wished (he did rely upon society to support t
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating, glad I purchased, enjoyed reading about this unusual man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A differant kind of life. Not everyone can just live out who they think they are Knight tried.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A unique true story.