Looking for the best John Mcphee books? Browse our list to find excellent book recommendations on the subject.
1. Annals of the Former World (2000)
The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion yearsTwenty years ago, when John McPhee began his journeys back and forth across the United States, he planned to describe a cross section of North America at about the fortieth parallel and, in the process, come to an understanding not only of the science but of the style of the geologists he traveled with. The structure of the book never changed, but its breadth caused him to complete it in stages, under the overall title Annals of the Former World.Like the terrain it covers, Annals of the Former…
2. Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process (2018)
Draft No. 4 is a master class on the writer’s craft. In a series of playful, expertly wrought essays, John McPhee shares insights he has gathered over his career and has refined while teaching at Princeton University, where he has nurtured some of the most esteemed writers of recent decades. McPhee offers definitive guidance in the decisions regarding arrangement, diction, and tone that shape nonfiction pieces, and he presents extracts from his work, subjecting them to wry scrutiny. In one essay, he considers the delicate art of getting sources to tell you what they might not otherwise reveal. In another, he discusses how…
3. The Pine Barrens (1978)
Most people think of New Jersey as a suburban-industrial corridor that runs between New York and Philadelphia. Yet in the low center of the state is a near wilderness, larger than most national parks, which has been known since the seventeenth century as the Pine Barrens.The term refers to the predominant trees in the vast forests that cover the area and to the quality of the soils below, which are too sandy and acid to be good for farming. On all sides, however, developments of one kind or another have gradually moved in, so that now the central and integral forest is reduced to about a thousand square miles. Although New…
4. Uncommon Carriers (2007)
This is a book about people who drive trucks, captain ships, pilot towboats, drive coal trains, and carry lobsters through the air: people who work in freight transportation. John McPhee rides from Atlanta to Tacoma alongside Don Ainsworth, owner and operator of a sixty-five-foot, five-axle, eighteen-wheel chemical tanker carrying hazmats―in Ainsworth’s opinion “the world’s most beautiful truck,” so highly polished you could part your hair while looking at it. He goes “out in the sort” among the machines that process a million packages a day at UPS Air’s distribution hub at…
5. Levels of the Game (1979)
This account of a tennis match played by Arthur Ashe against Clark Graebner at Forest Hills in 1968 begins with the ball rising into the air for the initial serve and ends with the final point. McPhee provides a brilliant, stroke-by-stroke description while examining the backgrounds and attitudes which have molded the players’ games….
6. Coming into the Country (1991)
Coming into the Country is an unforgettable account of Alaska and Alaskans. It is a rich tapestry of vivid characters, observed landscapes, and descriptive narrative, in three principal segments that deal, respectively, with a total wilderness, with urban Alaska, and with life in the remoteness of the bush. Readers of McPhee’s earlier books will not be unprepared for his surprising shifts of scene and ordering of events, brilliantly combined into an organic whole. In the course of this volume we are made acquainted with the lore and techniques of placer…
7. The Control of Nature (1990)
The Control of Nature is John McPhee’s bestselling account of places where people are locked in combat with nature. Taking us deep into these contested territories, McPhee details the strageties and tactics through which people attempt to control nature. Most striking is his depiction of the main contestants: nature in complex and awesome guises, and those attempting to wrest control from her – stubborn, sometimes foolhardy, more often ingenious, and always arresting characters….
8. The John McPhee Reader (1982)
The John McPhee Reader, first published in 1976, is comprised of selections from the author’s first twelve books. In 1965, John McPhee published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are; a decade later, he had published eleven others. His fertility, his precision and grace as a stylist, his wit and uncanny brilliance in choosing subject matter, his crack storytelling skills have made him into one of our best writers: a journalist whom L.E. Sissman ranked with Liebling and Mencken, who Geoffrey Wolff said “is bringing his work to levels that have no measurable limit,” who has been called “a master craftsman” so many times that…
9. Oranges (1975)
A classic of reportage, Oranges was first conceived as a short magazine article about oranges and orange juice, but the author kept encountering so much irresistible information that he eventually found that he had in fact written a book. It contains sketches of orange growers, orange botanists, orange pickers, orange packers, early settlers on Florida’s Indian River, the first orange barons, modern concentrate makers, and a fascinating profile of Ben Hill Griffin of Frostproof, Florida who may be the last of the individual orange barons. McPhee’s astonishing book has…
10. Encounters with the Archdruid: Narratives About a Conservationist and Three of His Natural Enemies (1977)
The narratives in this book are of journeys made in three wildernesses – on a coastal island, in a Western mountain range, and on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The four men portrayed here have different relationships to their environment, and they encounter each other on mountain trails, in forests and rapids, sometimes with reserve, sometimes with friendliness, sometimes fighting hard across a philosophical divide….
At various times in a span of fifteen years, John McPhee made geological field surveys in the company of Eldridge Moores, a tectonicist at the University of California at Davis. The result of these trips is Assembling California, a cross-section in human and geologic time, from Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada through the golden foothills of the Mother Lode and across the Great Central Valley to the wine country of the Coast Ranges, the rock of San Francisco, and the San Andreas family of faults. The two disparate time scales occasionally intersect―in the gold disruptions of the nineteenth century…
12. Silk Parachute (2011)
The brief, brilliant essay “Silk Parachute,” which first appeared in The New Yorker a decade ago, has become John McPhee’s most anthologized piece of writing. In the nine other pieces here―highly varied in length and theme―McPhee ranges with his characteristic humor and intensity through lacrosse, long-exposure view-camera photography, the weird foods he has sometimes been served in the course of his reportorial travels, a U.S. Open golf championship, and a season in Europe “on the chalk” from the downs and sea cliffs of England to the Maas valley…
Best John Mcphee Books You Should Read
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Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process
Author(s): John McPhee
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Year: 2017, Size: 2 Mb, Download: epub
The John McPhee Reader
Author(s): John McPhee; W.L. Howarth (ed.)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Year: 2011, Size: 464 Kb, Download: epub
The Founding Fish
Author(s): John McPhee
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Year: 2003, Size: 342 Kb, Download: epub
Annals of the Former World
Author(s): John McPhee
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Year: 2000, Size: 7 Mb, Download: epub
Looking for a Ship
Author(s): John McPhee
Publisher: Noonday Press;Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Year: 1991, Size: 677 Kb, Download: epub
The curve of binding energy
Author(s): John McPhee
Publisher: New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux , Year: 1974, Size: 15 Mb, Download: pdf
Encounters with the archdruid
Author(s): McPhee, John
Publisher: Macmillan;Farrar, Year: 1971, Size: 211 Kb, Download: epub
Please note that this booklist is not definite. Some books are really chart-busters according to Washington Post, others are composed by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant links you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.