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Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer

Krakauer's success as a writer began when he became a journalist for the American outdoors magazine Outside and by 1983 he was able to drop his job as a fisherman and carpenter to focus on writing full-time. He also wrote as a freelancer, with many of his articles centered around mountain climbing. His articles were seen in several notable publications which included National Geographic, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. In 1996, Krakauer's first book, Into the Wild, was published. Initially a 9,000-word article from a January 1993 issue of Outside titled "Death of an Innocent," Into the Wild chronicled the story of Christopher "Supertramp" McCandless, an American hiker who abandoned his affluent life to live a life of solitude in the Alaskan wilderness, where he died of starvation due to unknown circumstances. Into the Wild quickly hit The New York Times Best Seller List, where it remained for the next two years. In the same year of Into the Wild's publication, Krakauer was on an assignment from Outside to follow two expeditions to the peak of Mt. Everest, led by experienced mountaineers Rob Hall and Scott Fischer. Although both guides reached the summit of the world's tallest mountain, a blizzard struck Mount Everest that killed Hall, Fischer, and several others in what would become known as the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, the most deaths recorded on Everest in a single day until 2014. Krakauer survived the ordeal and initially penned his experience in an article for Outside. He then expanded the piece into the 1997 book Into Thin Air. The book was a critical success, reached the top of The New York Times non-fiction bestseller list and was named "Book of the Year" by Time magazine. In 2003, Krakauer published his third book, Under the Banner of Heaven. While it was another bestseller for Krakauer, the book's critical look at Mormonism and its practice of polygamy drew controversy and criticism, especially from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Later in 2007, Into the Wild was adapted into a film directed by Sean Penn and starring Emile Hirsch as McCandless. Krakauer's next book tackled a key story of the American War on terrorism. Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman (2009) focused on the journals and letters of Pat Tillman, the NFL professional football player who joined the U.S. Army Rangers and whose death by friendly fire became a focal point of political controversy. Further controversy followed Krakauer's next project, a short e-book called Three Cups of Deceit (2011) that accused humanitarian Greg Mortenson of Three Cups of Tea fame of mishandling funds for his campaign to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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