The Second John McPhee Reader

ISBN: 0374256861
ISBN 13: 9780374256869
By: John McPhee David Remnick Patricia Strachan

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Adult Life Classic Literature Currently Reading Essays Mcphee Non Fiction Nonfiction To Read Unfinished Unique

About this book

This second volume of The John McPhee Reader includes material from his eleven books published since 1975, including Coming into the Country, Looking for a Ship, The Control of Nature, and the four books on geology that comprise Annals of the Former World.

Reader's Thoughts


John McPhee is a Pulitzer prize-winning writer for the New Yorker who has published 30 books or so on a wide array of topics. All of his work is nonfiction. His attention to detail is superb. The Second John McPhee reader includes selections from books about Alaska, geology, New York City farmers' markets, the Swiss army, general practice medecine, art collecting, the merchant marine, and more. Great introduction by David Remnick, editor of the New York and a former student of McPhee at Princeton, puts the selections in context.


Selections from stories about the Swiss Army, farmers markets in New York, and the geology of New Jersey. Reading McPhee is always educational.


THis guy is a great observer and writer.


"Any time I read John McPhee I come away feeling informed, entertained and possibly a better writer. Among the memorable stories in this collection dating from


I love hiking, canoeing, and just hanging out with McPhee. There's not much page turning narrative to be had here, or ever, by McPhee, but the guy can take me to places any time.

Dan Secor

John McPhee is a recent find for me. He has been writing a column for the New Yorker for over forty years, and has numerous books based on his adventures published from these columns.This book contains snippets from many of his books written in the later years. From his adventures in Alaska, to the job he took after burning out (working with farmers selling produce in the open air markets in Manhattan), McPhee can make anything sound exciting. He is truly a magnificent writer and this is a good primer for introducing one to his world.


McPhee is one of my favorite authors -- especially for non-fiction -- and I have been enjoying his work for years in The New Yorker. This Reader consists of a collection of excerpts from certain of his essays and book-length works, and it is hit and miss. Some of the excerpts, such as the ones from Coming Into the Country, about Alaska, and La Place de la Concorde, about the Swiss Army (and, by extension, Switzerland), are by turns fascinating and incredible. Others, such as Giving Good Weight, while not particularly captivating as regards their storyline, are nonetheless vintage McPhee and are enjoyable if for no other reason than his inimitable style. But the excerpts taken from the geology books are just harder for me to get enthused about. I don't know what it is in particular about these excerpts, but they just don't come alive like so much of his work. I'm disinclined to chalk it up to subject matter, since he has revealed the interesting inner workings of many other apparently mundane subjects. But something's missing for these, it seems. If you're interested in reading McPhee at length elsewhere, I recommend Uncommon Carriers, Control of Nature, or The Headmaster.

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