All of Jon Krakauer’s Books in Order!
Who is Jon Krakauer?
Born April 12, 1954, Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer. Raised in Corvallis, Oregon, his father introduced him to mountaineering when he was eight. He graduated from Corvallis High School in 1972 and went to study at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, where he received his degree in Environmental Studies in 1976.
At first, he worked as a carpenter and commercial salmon fisherman to support himself, before giving up to become a full-time writer in 1983. He found success from articles written for Outside writing a lot about mountaineering and rock climbing. His writing has also appeared in Architectural Digest, National Geographic Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Smithsonian.
Krakauer is now the best-selling author of non-fiction books and has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
How to read Jon Krakauer’s Books in Order?
- A Clean, Well-Lighted Place (1985) – a short essay from 1985 republished in the Vintage Shorts series, about the iconoclastic architect Christopher Alexander, whose revolutionary human-centered approach has shaken the foundations of modern architecture.
- Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains (1990) – In this collection of his finest work from such magazines as Outside and Smithsonian, he explores the subject from the unique and memorable perspective of one who has battled peaks like K2, Denali, Everest, and, of course, the Eiger. We meet Adrian the Romanian, determined to be the first of his countrymen to solo Denali; John Gill, climber not of great mountains but of house-sized boulders so difficult to surmount that even demanding alpine climbs seem easy; and many more compelling and colorful characters. In the most intimate piece, “The Devils Thumb,” Krakauer recounts his own near-fatal, ultimately triumphant struggle with solo-madness as he scales Alaska’s Devils Thumb.
- Into the Wild (1996) – In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself…
- Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster (1997) – A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that “suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.” He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more–including Krakauer’s–in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer’s account of the May 1996 disaster.
- Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (2003) – Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the renegade leaders of these Taliban-like theocracies are zealots who answer only to God; some 40,000 people still practice polygamy in these communities. At the core of Krakauer’s book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence, and unyielding faith.
- Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman (2008) – Pat Tillman was an irrepressible individualist and iconoclast. In May 2002, Tillman walked away from his $3.6 million NFL contract to enlist in the United States Army. He was deeply troubled by 9/11, and he felt a strong moral obligation to join the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Two years later, he died on a desolate hillside in southeastern Afghanistan. In Where Men Win Glory, Jon Krakauer draws on Tillman’s journals and letters, interviews with his wife and friends, conversations with the soldiers who served alongside him, and extensive research on the ground in Afghanistan to render an intricate mosaic of this driven, complex, and uncommonly compelling figure, as well as the definitive account of the events and actions that led to his death.
- Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way (2011) – Greg Mortenson, the bestselling author of Three Cups of Tea, is a man who has built a global reputation as a selfless humanitarian and children’s crusader, and he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. But, as Jon Krakauer demonstrates in this extensively researched and penetrating book, he is not all that he appears to be. Based on wide-ranging interviews with former employees, board members, and others who have intimate knowledge of Mortenson and his charity, the Central Asia Institute, Three Cups of Deceit uncovers multiple layers of deception behind Mortenson’s public image. This is the tragic tale of good intentions gone very wrong.
- Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (2015) – Missoula, Montana, is a typical college town, home to a highly regarded state university whose beloved football team inspires a passionately loyal fan base. Between January 2008 and May 2012, hundreds of students reported sexual assaults to the local police. Few of the cases were properly handled by either the university or local authorities. In this, Missoula is also typical…
- Classic Krakauer: Essays on Wilderness and Risk (2018) – Bringing together work originally published in such magazines as The New Yorker, Outside, and Smithsonian, his pieces take us from a horrifying avalanche on Mount Everest to a volcano poised to obliterate a big chunk of Seattle; from a wilderness teen-therapy program run by apparent sadists to an otherworldly cave in New Mexico, studied by NASA to better understand Mars; from the notebook of one Fred Beckey, who catalogued the greatest unclimbed mountaineering routes on the planet, to the last days of legendary surfer Mark Foo.