Jon Krakauer is an American author and journalist who has made a name for himself through his engaging writing style and in-depth investigations. He is widely known for his works of non-fiction that deal with topics such as outdoor adventure, mountaineering, and survival. Krakauer’s most famous book, “Into Thin Air,” chronicles his experience during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, which became a bestseller and made him a household name. His other works include “Into the Wild,” “Under the Banner of Heaven,” and “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town.” In this essay, we will explore Krakauer’s life and achievements, as well as his personal life and relationships, and net worth.
Early Life and Education
Krakauer was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on April 12, 1954. He grew up in Corvallis, Oregon, and later in California. His father, Lewis Krakauer, was a doctor, and his mother, Carol Ann, was a secretary. Krakauer attended Hampshire College, where he studied environmental studies and literature. While at college, he developed a love for the outdoors, and after graduating, he spent much of his time climbing mountains and exploring the wilderness.
Career and Achievements
Krakauer began his writing career as a freelance journalist, contributing articles to various publications. In 1984, he published his first book, “Eiger Dreams,” which is a collection of essays about mountaineering. The book was well-received and established Krakauer as a talented writer in the outdoor adventure genre.
Krakauer’s breakthrough book was “Into the Wild,” which tells the story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who ventured into the Alaskan wilderness and died there. The book was published in 1996 and became a bestseller, winning several awards, including the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults Award. It was later adapted into a film directed by Sean Penn in 2007.
Krakauer’s most famous work, “Into Thin Air,” chronicles his experience during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which eight climbers died. The book was a critical and commercial success, spending over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. It has been translated into more than 25 languages and has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.
Krakauer has also written on a variety of other topics, including religion and sexual assault. His book “Under the Banner of Heaven” explores the history of the Mormon Church and its extremist offshoots. “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town” is an investigative report on sexual assault and the criminal justice system in the town of Missoula, Montana. Both books were also bestsellers and garnered critical acclaim.
Personal Life and Relationships
Krakauer has been married twice. His first marriage was to Linda Mariam Moore, whom he met while working as a carpenter in Colorado. The couple had two children, a son and a daughter, but later divorced. Krakauer then married Julie Cunningham, whom he met while doing research for “Into Thin Air.” The couple has one child, a daughter.
Krakauer has been involved in several controversies over the years. In 2003, he wrote an article for Outside magazine that criticized mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev’s actions during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. Boukreev had saved several lives but was also criticized for not using supplemental oxygen. Krakauer’s article sparked a heated debate within the mountaineering community, with many criticizing him for speaking ill of a deceased climber. Krakauer later included a rebuttal by Boukreev in the paperback edition of “Into Thin Air.”
As of 2021, Jon Krakauer’s net worth is estimated to be around $10 million. This fortune has been amassed from the success of his books, which have sold millions of copies worldwide. Krakauer’s works have also been adapted into films and TV series, further contributing to his net worth. Additionally, Krakauer has been a regular contributor to various publications, including The New Yorker, and has received numerous awards for his writing.
Literary Style and Contributions
Krakauer is known for his vivid and descriptive prose that immerses the reader into the world he is describing. He is a master of narrative non-fiction, using a combination of research, interviews, and personal experience to craft compelling stories that are both informative and entertaining. His work often explores the intersection between nature and human behavior, shedding light on the sometimes perilous relationship between the two.
Krakauer’s contribution to the literary world has been significant. His books have not only entertained and informed readers but have also inspired countless people to explore the outdoors and push their limits. His books have become staples in many high school and college curriculums, and his work has been widely cited in academic papers and articles.
Controversies and Criticisms
Krakauer’s work has not been without its controversies and criticisms. As previously mentioned, his criticism of mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev in his article for Outside magazine sparked a heated debate within the mountaineering community. Some criticized Krakauer for portraying Boukreev in a negative light, while others argued that Krakauer’s criticism was warranted.
Krakauer has also been criticized for his portrayal of Christopher McCandless in “Into the Wild.” Some argue that Krakauer portrayed McCandless as a hero, rather than acknowledging his reckless behavior and the dangers of his journey. Others argue that Krakauer’s portrayal of McCandless was accurate, and that his story serves as a cautionary tale for others.
Impact and Legacy
Krakauer’s impact on the literary world and the outdoor adventure genre cannot be overstated. His work has inspired countless people to explore the outdoors and push their limits, and his books have become staples in many high school and college curriculums. His legacy extends beyond his writing, with his work on sexual assault and the criminal justice system in “Missoula” inspiring a national conversation about the issue.
Krakauer’s work has also had a significant impact on the mountaineering community. His book “Into Thin Air” exposed the dangers of climbing Mount Everest and sparked a conversation about the commercialization of the mountain. His writing has also inspired a new generation of mountaineers to be more mindful of the risks involved in climbing, and to approach the mountains with a greater degree of respect and caution.
Awards and Honors
Krakauer has received numerous awards and honors for his writing. In 1998, he received the National Outdoor Book Award for “Into the Wild.” In 1999, he received the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2000, he received the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for “Into Thin Air.” He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN Literary Award.
In addition to these awards, Krakauer has received honorary degrees from several universities, including the University of Alaska, Dartmouth College, and Bates College. These accolades are a testament to Krakauer’s talent and the impact of his writing.
Krakauer is also involved in philanthropic work, particularly in the area of environmental conservation. He is a member of the board of directors for the American Himalayan Foundation, which works to improve the lives of people in the Himalayas through education, health care, and conservation. He has also worked with the Access Fund, which seeks to protect climbing areas in the United States, and the Sierra Club, which works to promote environmental conservation.
Krakauer has also established the Krakauer Fund, which supports independent journalism and investigative reporting. The fund provides financial support to journalists and writers who are working on projects that promote social and environmental justice.
Krakauer continues to write and is currently working on a new book about sexual assault and the criminal justice system. The book will focus on the case of Marie, a woman who was charged with false reporting after reporting that she was raped. Krakauer’s book will explore the broader issue of how sexual assault is handled in the criminal justice system and the impact it has on survivors.
Krakauer has also expressed interest in writing about other topics, including the opioid epidemic, the death penalty, and the impact of social media on society. With his keen investigative skills and his engaging writing style, Krakauer is sure to continue making an impact on the literary world and beyond.
Jon Krakauer is a prolific author and journalist whose work has captured the imagination of millions of readers worldwide. His writing style is engaging and informative, making him a leading voice in the field of outdoor adventure and investigative journalism. While he has been embroiled in some controversies, his contributions to literature and journalism have been invaluable. As he continues to write and explore new topics, his influence is sure to endure for years to come.