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Michael Finkel Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Books

Alpine Circus (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
True Story (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Here Be Monsters (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Stranger in the Woods (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Michael Finkel is an American author, non-fiction author with several memoirs to his name. Finkel is best known for his True Storybook that was adapted into a movie in 2015. Other notable books by Finkel include The Stranger in the Woods and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Aside from writing memoirs, Finkel has reported for National Geographic, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times Magazine from over 50 countries. Michael currently lives splits his time between southern France and Western Montana.

The Stranger in the Woods

The Stanger in the Woods is a true story of a man who chose to live alone in the woods for close to three decades. While many people dream of escaping from modern life, most do not act on it. Christopher Knight is among the few who act on this impulse. For 27 years, Christopher lived in the woods of Maine not because he was angry with the world, but because he wanted to be alone.

Twenty-year-old Christopher left his home in Massachusetts in 1986 to go live in the Maine forest. For close to three decades, Christopher did not talk to another human being. It was until he was arrested for stealing food that Christopher was forced to interact with fellow human beings. Christopher lived in a tent throughout his stay in the forest. He survived the most brutal of winters, and he came up with indigenous ways to avoid freezing to death while ensuring that he has a good supply of safe water. For food, reading the material, and clothing, Christopher broke into neighboring cottages. While he only took what he needed, the mysterious burglaries had the entire community terrified.

This story is based on interviews with Knight and his vivid recollections of his life in seclusion. Christopher explains the reasons why he left and how he survived conditions many people used to modern comforts cannot. It took a lot of persistence from the author to get any information from Christopher and his family.

This is a moving story of a man who made a decision to live life on his terms and succeeded. While he did wrong to burgle and live off other people’s things, Christopher neither harmed anyone nor damaged anyone’s property. He confessed to his crime immediately; he was arrested and stated that all he wanted was to live alone. Christopher told his story to the author while he was in jail. Getting Michael to talk was quite a task, and even when he opened up, Michael did not say much. That said, the few words he spoke were nothing but thought-provoking.

The message here is clear; being quiet with nature is essential. Our lives would be more fulfilling if we embraced a simpler lifestyle. It is impressive to hear that Christopher did not get a common cold even after spending over 20 years surviving through the vagaries of weather. Chris had to master the sounds in the wild and cover his tracks well for all the years he spent in the wild.

This book will make you look at life in a different light. Chris did not mean to harm anyone. Even after serving his time, Chris did his community work well and followed the law to the letter. All that he wanted was to be alone and enjoy his life in quiet and solitude.

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa

True Story is a non-fiction story of love, deceit, and murder. The tale starts with the capturing of an intelligent young man who had been on the FBI’s list of Ten Most Wanted criminals. Christian Longo had killed his entire family. A journalist in Oregon contacts Michael Finkel, a New York Times Magazine with the news that Longo has been captured. The shocking thing is that Longo had taken Michael Finkel’s identity. In a bizarre twist of fate, the real Michael Finkel is fired a day after Longo’s capture is recorded for falsifying part of an investigative story.

After he is arrested, Longo refuses to speak to anyone but the real Michael Finkel. This marks the beginning of odd friendship. From his jailhouse visiting room and on the telephone, Longo and Finkel spend hours talking. Longo insists that he is innocent, and he claims that he can prove it. Finkel on the other handsets on a journey to the truth. He strives to uncover the truth about what happened to Longo’s kin.

Finkel has to employ different tactics to get the truth. From reverse psychology to sly manipulation, Finkel is relentless in finding the truth. In the end, his efforts pay off when Longo confesses to some of the things he would never have admitted in court.

Finkel is successful in portraying Longo’s narcissist personality. A charming man with a magnetic personality, Longo lies out of the trickiest of situations. In a bid to please others and control the way others perceive him, Longo is unable to live within his means. This puts him in debt, and the more he continues to borrow, the more his problems grow. In a bid to run away from his debtors and the numerous frauds he has committed, Longo flees across America. In the end, things fall apart, and his wife and kids pay with their lives.

This is an interesting story that will keep you captivated from start to finish. The book captures Longo’s life and the events that led to his family’s death. This is a morbidly fascinating book written by a talented yet flawed journalist. If you are a fan of crime stories, the True Storybook is ideal. Get to read about a man who managed to fool many and almost get away with murder. The story is beautifully written, and it is clear that the author did his homework. This book will make you think about mental illness and the manipulative ways of those suffering from these conditions. Often time, it is those close to people who have mental illness who bet the brunt of their wrath and bitterness.

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