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The Control of Nature Paperback – September 1, 1990
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“All three elemental battles recounted by the masterly McPhee are unified by the most uncontrolled and stubborn of all forces: human nature.” ―R. Z. Sheppard, Time
“It is difficult to put these stories aside. If the stories bear witness to the ultimate triumph of nature over human engineering, they also testify to the triumph of art over nature.” ―Stephen J. Pyne, The New York Times Book Review (front page)
“This book is unmistakable McPhee: the silky narrative, with keen detail and sharp dialogue, the finely drawn characters, the nimble metaphors.” ―Stephen MacDonald, The Wall Street Journal
“Some of his passages left me gasping for breath…This book gave me more pure enjoyment than anything I've read in a long time.” ―Christopher Shaw, The Washington Post Book World
Top Customer Reviews
The man is good.
I chose, almost at random, this volume, and fell in love with the man's work. McPhee definitely has a talent for writing, both in describing the often unusual people he meets in the three locales depicted, and his intelligent and witty turns of phrase.
This definitely won't be my last John McPhee book.
There is only one thing I can add to the reviews already given which is a suggestion to readers. The book would be greatly enhanced by maps of the Mississipi River, Iceland and even the LA area. For me, the book merits a second reading and I'll have maps in hand. While McPhee's writing creates wonderful images, it would be helpful to tie to those images and his messages to the physical realities.
McPhee, as always, tries to stay in the background and let the participants speak on the page, but there is no mistaking his memorably vivid descriptions of people or nature. His prose are first rate with an eye for compelling detail.
The book itself is a quick, thrilling read that leaves the reader with a better understanding of unsung heroes and follies.
My favorite McPhee. A warning about some of McPhee's other books: My eyes seem to always glaze over when I attempt one of his "rock talk" full length books on geology.
I have only read the first third of this one, but McPhee's books are always crisp, well-written, informative, authoritative, entertaining, and balanced (sometimes to a fault). This one is no exception.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lots of technical information written in an informal, engaging style.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was a gift and was well received. The copy was in great condition and delivery was fast. ThanksPublished 3 months ago by jo
I haven't even finished the first section yet and I'm completely enthralled. This is a great read!Published 3 months ago by James A. Holmes
Way too long for the subject matter. Could have been 1/4 the length.Published 3 months ago by Kerry L Bramon
John McPhee tells 3 riveting stories of human efforts to control nature, in the form of the mighty Mississippi, a volcano/island in Iceland, and fire and flood along the seismic... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Karen Jensen
I thought it was a wonderful, interesting book about huge natural forces to be dealt with. My only complaint: it should have detailed maps to help visualize the scope of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bill Potter
It wasn't as good, in my opinion, as Encounters with the Archdruid but it was still a very good interesting book.Published 4 months ago by Trees