Jon Krakauer was raised in Corvallis, Oregon. After graduating from Hampshire College in 1976 he worked as a carpenter and a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska. Into the Wild, his first bestselling book, was published in January 1996. Four months later Krakauer climbed Mt. Everest, but four of the five teammates who reached the summit with him perished in a storm. This tragedy was the subject of his next book, Into Thin Air. In 1999 he received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. According to the award citation, "Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer."

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