29 minutes | Jan 29th 2019

Michael Finkel: Not all those who wander are lost

In 2002 Michael Finkel was a young journalist with an enviable career. Then, The New York Times discovered that Michael had created a composite character for a story about child labor and the African slave trade. Michael was fired. He said, “I mean if you want to talk about failure I don't think there's any bigger failure in all of journalism.” How did he recover?

This is a story about Michael but also Chris Knight, the subject of his latest book, The Stranger in The Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit. Chris spent 27 years in the woods of Maine. He survived by stealing food, and other essentials, from his neighbors. Eventually Chris was caught and Michael was the only journalist he would speak to. The book is an engaging story about a tragically unique man but also a meditation on nature, learning to be alone, and how modern life is changing us.

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