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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"In 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. 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 in winter, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store food and water to avoid freezing to death ... Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a ... detailed account of the why and how of his secluded life--as well as the challenges he has faced returning to the world"--Publisher description.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, [2017]
ISBN: 9781410497482
Characteristics: 283 pages (large print) : map ; 23 cm
large print
Call Number: LT B KNIGHT, C


From Library Staff

bluejay1972 Mar 24, 2018

This is a very good read. His will to survive and thrive is amazing. As you read, you begin to understand all the lives that were touched beyond his.

Best Nonfiction Finalist

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Mar 21, 2020

The Stranger in the Woods is a pretty good book that follows author Michael Finkel learn about Christopher Knight, a man who lived in solitude for 27 years. At some parts, Finkel writes more about himself than necessary, but all in all the book is a fun read that's really interesting.

Mar 20, 2020

"The Stranger in the Woods" is an intriguing book about a hermit in the woods of Maine who survived for 27 years without any human contact. He stole only necessary supplies from nearby cabins, but was eventually apprehended while during one of his burglaries.

I would recommend this book for anyone who would enjoy a good analysis of an interesting story.

Feb 20, 2020

A bit of silence and solitude will do our souls some good.

This book was a very interesting true story about a twenty year old man, who waked away from society and chose to live in the woods. This takes place in a remote area, of the state of Maine. The story about Chris Knight is interesting, however, what fascinated me was how Finkel goes into detail about the history of living in solitude, or what might be considered being a "hermit". There are different titles given to these individuals, such as, recluse, monks, swamis, anchorites, ascetics. He describes three general groups to explain why they hide: protesters, pilgrims, pursuers. All the information Finkel provides regarding these three groups was what I found so fascinating. For example, there are around a million protester hermits living in Japan right now, called hikikomori -"pulling forward", who have rejected Japan's pressure-cooker culture. What's bizarre about these people, is that many have retreated to their bedrooms and never come out. Pilgrims, considered religious hermits, are the largest group. Jesus Christ for example would be considered a Pilgrim. Finkel sights several familiar people I would not have considered as hermits, but he describes why they would be. I loved this book and the history it provided about this subject.

CMLibrary_sdeason Feb 13, 2020

Fantastic non-fiction book about a man who wanted to escape our modern world. Super fast read that makes you think about your own life and those you love.

Feb 10, 2020

A little dry at some parts but so full of information. I really enjoyed the story of Christopher Knight.

CCPL_Carly Feb 03, 2020

Though the bones of this story were covered in a long- form GQ Magazine article from 2014, Finkel’s book is much more in depth, providing a fascinating examination of solitude and why people seek it. He skillfully interweaves references in literature and religion as he follows Knight’s fate. His research on the ground, getting to know the Maine residents and experiencing the woods first-hand, allows the reader to feel connected to his quest to find out why Christopher Knight abandoned society. This is an excellent character study, especially for those who have ever felt the desire to leave the modern world behind.

Dec 06, 2019

Wasn't sure I was going to like this book but I was a bit sad when it ended. Not only does Finkel tell us the story of Chris but the story of people over time who have chosen or been forced onto solitude. Possible reasons why people chose this path and the effects on different individuals. Tying this information into a story about a real person was enlightening. This is a well researched book where the scientific facts, community and protagonist are well explained in story fashion.

Nov 19, 2019

I began reading this book and could not stop until it was completed....not something I normally do. This story of the need for solitude is utterly captivating especially when contrasted with those who suffer from being alone such as prisoners placed in solitary confinement. This entire exploration of the differences in how the human psyche reacts to the same circumstances is spellbinding....worth the read, most definitely.

Oct 31, 2019

The Stranger in the Woods overall is a good book. My complaints about it are simply that it talks too much about topics other than Christopher Knight and that it has a long introduction. Despite that, some of the topics in the book that have little to do with Christopher Knight are interesting and informational. Once the book starts talking more about Christopher Knight’s perspective it becomes really engaging. Overall, the Stranger in the Woods is an engaging and interesting book.

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Aug 14, 2019

pataustin11 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jan 04, 2018

runningbeat thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Apr 20, 2017

Tjad2LT thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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ArapahoeAnnaL Aug 27, 2019

It wasn't reading or listening to the radio that actually occupied the majority of Knight's free time. Mostly what he did was nothing. He sat on his bucket or in his lawn chair in quiet contemplation...He was never once bored. He wasn't sure, he said that he even understood the concept of boredom. pg. 109

Sep 19, 2017

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.


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SPL_Shauna Jun 26, 2017

For introverted lovers of the outdoors, the idea of escaping into the woods alone for weeks can seem like a balm. But, Christopher Knight managed to vanish into the Maine woods for 27 years without a trace, beyond a legend based on the tiny absences he left behind in sustaining himself. Known to some as the North Pond Hermit or The Hungry Man, his thousands of small, self-sustaining thefts unsettled a community for a quarter century while he lived his peace.

This book was my first experience reading nonfiction with an unreliable narrator. The author is a journalist who admits issues in the past with fudging his stories (he merged a number of sources into one voice for narrative benefit in an earlier project and was caught out). He discloses this midway into the book, and it makes you wonder a bit about what liberties he may have taken with Knight's story; among them, the extent to which Knight understood and gave permission for his tale to be told. It's an uncomfortable reading experience, to be sure, but fascinating as well.

Finkel is an outdoorsman himself, and therefore disposed to feel a certain understanding around Knight's choices. His empathy and curiosity drive the story to read like a novel rather than a biography, and leave readers rooting alternately for Knight, his family, the cottagers and the fledgling friendship between Knight and Finkel. All in all, this book makes for a great summer read, particularly if you're at a remote cottage and enjoy a bit creepiness in a book.


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