In The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, journalist Michael Finkel’s biography chronicles the improbable tale of Christopher Knight who, compelled to follow some internal bearing, took to the woods to live out his life. How is it possible to survive for decades, alone, in the unforgiving Maine wilderness, where wintertime temperatures are routinely below zero, and summer insects drive even the hardiest campers back to civilization? The answer to survival, as Finkel discovers, is that Christopher Knight became a thief. And, although he was a discerning thief, taking only what he needed to survive, he struck fear into the small seasonal community of homeowners in and around North Pond, disrupting lives and causing much anxiety. The answer to how he endured being alone for so long is more complicated. After Knight is finally captured by a resourceful and determined game warden, Finkel extracts his story through letters, personal visits and interviews with the scores of people involved in the case, most prominently Knight himself. What emerges is a well-sourced, compelling and thought-provoking story of a complicated man whose motivations and actions raise profound questions and often ambiguous answers.
Hennepin County Library, Eden Prairie