A remarkable crime saga that could have been 100 pages shorter.

THE BAREFOOT BANDIT

THE TRUE TALE OF COLTON HARRIS-MOORE, NEW AMERICAN OUTLAW

Highly detailed account of a teenaged criminal who eluded law enforcement for two years.

Travel journalist Friel became fascinated with Colton Harris-Moore when he and his wife relocated to the seemingly peaceful residential island of Orcas in the waters off Washington State. Harris-Moore, born in 1991, grew up on Orcas and knew its terrain intimately. By age 10 he was stealing from local businesses and homes. Caught occasionally, he served time in juvenile detention before starting a new crime spree focused on stealing and flying private airplanes, even though he had never completed pilot training. When Harris-Moore could not successfully steal an airplane, he stole pleasure boats and automobiles. As his brazen thefts spread to other islands and then to the mainland, law-enforcement agencies felt certain they could capture Harris-Moore. They were wrong. He often escaped on foot, outrunning police despite his insistence on going through life without wearing shoes (hence his moniker "the barefoot bandit"). Those bare feet and his height caused Harris-Moore to stand out, but he seemingly did not worry about disguising himself. The bulk of the narrative provides sometimes-overwhelming amounts of information about Harris-Moore's crimes and his escapes. Friel also examines his subject’s haphazard home life, his loving but often inept mother, his unpopularity in school and his apparent desire to go through his young life as a loner. The author eventually became involved in the search to locate Harris-Moore, adding a mostly effective first-person element to the saga. 

A remarkable crime saga that could have been 100 pages shorter.

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4013-2416-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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