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

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 detailed account of his secluded life--why did he leave? what did he learn?--as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

Title:The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
ISBN:9781101924921
Format Type:

About Michael Finkel

Michael Finkel is the author of "The Stranger in the Woods" and "True Story," which was adapted into a 2015 motion picture. He has reported from more than 50 countries and written for National Geographic, GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine. He lives with his family in western Montana and southern France.


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

  • 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 t...

  • Ashley Brooks

    This book has left me with intensely conflicted feelings. For a while I felt like I'd be rating this quite highly.The story of Christopher Knight is fascinating. However, the motives of the author are...

  • Melissa ? Dog/Wolf Lover ? Martin

    Wow! This book . . . I couldn't even put it down! This is the story about Christopher Thomas Knight who at 20 years old, walked into the woods and ever came out until he was caught at 47 years old. He...

  • Elyse

    Christopher Knight is possibly the most solitary known person in history. Capturing Knight after 27 years..... known as the "North Pond Hermit" was like "netting a giant squid". When captured he was w...

  • Michael Finkel

    I greatly appreciate all of the reviews here -- even the bad ones! (Though, I admit, it's sometimes a bit painful to read them.) There are so many books out there, I am grateful that you've chosen to ...

  • 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 ju...

  • Julie

    The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel is a 2017 Knopf publication. Is it fact or fiction? I don’t suppose this story ever showed up on my Newsf...

  • Diane S ?

    At the age of twenty, Christopher Knight, leaves his large though taciturn family, his job, and society as a whole and disappears into the Maine woods. He will live within a short distance from others...

  • Carol (Bookaria)

    Excellent account of somebody's choice to live isolated from society.The irony is that although the “hermit” (Christopher Knight) despised the idea of being part of a community he still was comple...

  • 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 Main...