In a recent essay published on a New Yorker blog Jon Krakauer returns to the question about the death of Chris McCandless. In “How Chris McCandless Died” he writes the following:
Fast forward to a couple of months ago, when I stumbled upon Ronald Hamilton’s paper “The Silent Fire: ODAP and the Death of Christopher McCandless,” which Hamilton had posted on a Web site that publishes essays and papers about McCandless. Hamilton’s essay offered persuasive new evidence that the wild-potato plant is highly toxic in and of itself, contrary to the assurances of Thomas Clausen and every other expert who has ever weighed in on the subject. The toxic agent in Hedysarum alpinum turns out not to be an alkaloid but, rather, an amino acid, and according to Hamilton it was the chief cause of McCandless’s death. His theory validates my conviction that McCandless wasn’t as clueless and incompetent as his detractors have made him out to be.
The comments that follow Karakauer’s most recent New Yorker piece are another indicator of how this story remains alive in people’s lives. Hamilton’s essay is of interest as well.