• A Sense of Where You Are

    When John McPhee met Bill Bradley, both were at the beginning of their careers. A Sense of Where You Are, McPhee’s first book, is about Bradley when he was the best basketball player Princeton had ever seen.,McPhee delineates for the reader the training and techniques that made Bradley the extraordinary athlete he was, and this part of the book is a blueprint of superlative basketball. But athletic prowess alone would not explain Bradley’s magnetism, which is in the quality of the man himself???his self-discipline, his rationality, and his sense of responsibility.,Here is a portrait of Bradley as he was in college, before his time with the New York Knicks and his election to the U.S. Senate???a story that suggests the abundant beginnings of his professional careers in sport and politics.

  • Annals of the Former World

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion years.,Twenty 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 World tells a multilayered tale, and the reader may choose one of many paths through it. As clearly and succinctly written as it is profoundly informed, this is our finest popular survey of geology and a masterpiece of modern nonfiction.,Annals of the Former World is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.

  • Draft No. 4

    The long-awaited guide to writing long-form nonfiction by the legendary author and teacher., is an elucidation of the writer’s craft by a master practitioner. In a series of playful but expertly wrought essays, John McPhee shares insights he’s gathered over his career and refined during his long-running course at Princeton University, where he has launched some of the most esteemed writers of several generations. McPhee offers a definitive guide to the crucial decisions regarding structure, diction, and tone that shape nonfiction pieces, and presents extracts from some of his best-loved work, subjecting them to wry scrutiny. The result is a vivid depiction of the writing process, from reporting to drafting to revising and revising, and revising.,More than a compendium of advice, , is enriched by personal detail and charming reflections on the life of a writer. McPhee describes his enduring relationships with , and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and recalls his early years at , magazine. Enlivened by his keen sense of writing as a way of being in the world, , is the long-awaited master class given by America’s most renowned writing instructor.

  • Encounters with the Archdruid

    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.

  • Levels of the Game

    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.

  • Oranges

    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 an almost narrative progression, is immensely readable, and is frequently amusing. Louis XIV hung tapestries of oranges in the halls of Versailles, because oranges and orange trees were the symbols of his nature and his reign. This book, in a sense, is a tapestry of oranges, too???with elements in it that range from the great orangeries of European monarchs to a custom of people in the modern Caribbean who split oranges and clean floors with them, one half in each hand.

  • Rising from the Plains

    ???,So begins John McPhee’s , If you like to read about geology, you will find good reading here. If, on the other hand, you are not much engaged by the spatial complexities of the science, you could miss a richness of human history that has its place among the strata described. Sometimes it is said of geologists that they reflect in their professional styles the sort of country in which they grew up. Nowhere could that be more true than in the life of a geologist born in the center of Wyoming and raised on an isolated ranch.,This is the story of that ranch, soon after the turn of the century, and of the geologist who grew up there, at home with the composition of the high country in the way that someone growing up in a coastal harbor would be at home with the vagaries of the sea. While , is a portrayal of extraordinary people, it is also a history of the landscape around them, where, with remarkable rapidity, mountains came up out of the flat terrain. Gradually, the mountains were buried, until only the higher peaks remained above a vast plain. Recently, they have been exhumed, and they stand now as the Rockies., is John McPhee’s third book on geology and geologists. Following , and , it continues to present a cross section of North America along the fortieth parallel???a series gathering under the overall title

  • The Control of Nature

    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.

  • The Survival of the Bark Canoe

    In Greenville, New Hampshire, a small town in the southern part of the state, Henri Vaillancourt makes birch-bark canoes in the same manner and with the same tools that the Indians used. The Survival of the Bark Canoe is the story of this ancient craft and of a 150-mile trip through the Maine woods in those graceful survivors of a prehistoric technology. It is a book squarely in the tradition of one written by the first tourist in these woods, Henry David Thoreau, whose The Maine Woods recounts similar journeys in similar vessel.,As McPhee describes the expedition he made with Vaillancourt, he also traces the evolution of the bark canoe, from its beginnings through the development of the huge canoes used by the fur traders of the Canadian North Woods, where the bark canoe played the key role in opening up the wilderness. He discusses as well the differing types of bark canoes, whose construction varied from tribe to tribe, according to custom and available materials. In a style as pure and as effortless as the waters of Maine and the glide of a canoe, John McPhee has written one of his most fascinating books, one in which his talents as a journalist are on brilliant display.