[quote]I think in reality he was probably just a selfish angry kid.
Yeah, this is what makes me want to rant, because while there's a clear note of "there but for the grace of god go I" in Krakauer's narration, he also seems tempted to put McCandless on a pedestal as a "special person" who had an amazing effect on the people he encountered, rather than some strong-minded kid who never got over himself and who abandoned a loving family (and everyone else who tried to get close to him along the way) in order to find himself in the wilderness. Even his sister, apparently the person he was closest too, never heard from him after he disappeared two years before his death.
Krakauer never seems to be able to decide whether he wants to beatify McCandless or paint him as an ordinary kid - but it's pretty obvious which interpretation the naive kids on the internet who idolise him (McCandless) and think his story is "pretty cool" have taken away from the book, and now the film...
Ahem, sorry, I did say it made me ranty!
I agree with you that technically Krakauer is the better writer, FWIW. His prose is much fresher.
I've read Into Thin Air, and thought it was very good. I'll check out the Mormon one - thanks for the recommendation!