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Giving Good Weight Paperback – April 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reissue edition (April 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374516006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374516000
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Replete with the reportorial virtues for which John McPhee is so much respected."—Larry McMurtry, The New York Times Book Review

"McPhee . . . is a diamond-hard, diamond-clear reporter with exquisite taste."—Barry Siegel, Los Angles Times

"An excellent sampler of McPhee's writing."—Robert R. Harris, The Washington Post

About the Author

John McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and was educated at Princeton University and Cambridge University. His writing career began at Time magazine and led to his long association with The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. Also in 1965, he published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and in the years since, he has written nearly 30 books, including Oranges (1967), Coming into the Country (1977), The Control of Nature (1989), The Founding Fish (2002), Uncommon Carriers (2007), and Silk Parachute (2011). Encounters with the Archdruid (1972) and The Curve of Binding Energy (1974) were nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science. McPhee received the Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977.  In 1999, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World.  He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


More About the Author

John McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and was educated at Princeton University and Cambridge University. His writing career began at Time magazine and led to his long association with The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. The same year he published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with FSG, and soon followed with The Headmaster (1966), Oranges (1967), The Pine Barrens (1968), A Roomful of Hovings and Other Profiles (collection, 1969), The Crofter and the Laird (1969), Levels of the Game (1970), Encounters with the Archdruid (1972), The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed (1973), The Curve of Binding Energy (1974), Pieces of the Frame (collection, 1975), and The Survival of the Bark Canoe (1975). Both Encounters with the Archdruid and The Curve of Binding Energy were nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Sven Allenbach-Schmidt on January 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
All sorts of tasty satisfaction, with something of interest for all tastes. John McPhee is a master of the literate essay. He seeks out topics that most of us would never think to be interested in, and makes them available to us. Best of all, McPhee always remembers that it isn't just the technical details of a subject that are interesting, but the people. His essays can be found first in the pages of "New Yorker" magazine, but then usually make it out in book form quickly.
In "Giving Good Weight", McPhee serves up five splendid examples of the essayist's art. First, the title essay, about the produce sellers of the open-air farmer's market, the Brooklyn Greenmarket. McPhee interviewed, and sacked produce for, several of the sellers. His specialty, green peppers. He follows the sellers back to their farms, tracking the greens from seed to sale.
What if you had a dream of how to produce electricity cleanly, out-of-sight, and still be competitive? That's what Richard Eckert, subject of the second essay, 'The Atlantic Generating Station' had. McPhee focuses on Eckert and the other dreamers involved, but along the way gives us lots of information about oceangraphy, marine biology, the electrical utility industry, and nuclear regualation.
'Pinball Philosphy' is about the two best pinball players in New York City, at a time (1975) when public pinball was illegal there. We learn about the machines, the sub culture that saw pinball play as their life and work as the finacing mechanism to supply quarters, and tricks of play. Then, McPhee puts Tony Lukas and Tom Buckley head-to-head for play on a Williams Fun-Fest machine. Only the best flipper can win.
Next, we join McPhee and some cronies for canoeing in Maine, mostly on the St.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Eric Krupin on October 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
John McPhee is, by universal agreement, our greatest non-fiction writer. Although his single-focus books about geology and Alaska are the foundation of his reputation, I find this varied collection of shorter pieces to be the most enjoyable reading. My particular favorite is "Brigade de Cuisine" which details the single-minded dedication of a chef/owner to expressing himself in food. Mouth-watering stuff.
(A background story to illustrate the politics of the food world: The chef, who asked McPhee not to identify him, was quoted in the piece as saying that the famous Andre Soltner of Lutece used frozen shrimp in one of his dishes. The outraged Soltner demanded a retraction and McPhee, for perhaps the only time in his career, grudgingly complied. Rallying behind Soltner, its favored son, The New York Times dispatched a reporter to learn the chef's identity. Having done so, they printed a scathing review of his restaurant - one that is hard to reconcile with McPhee's rapturous descriptions of its food. The proof would be in the pudding, so to speak, but this sure sounds like a vendetta to me.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
McPhee is, doubtless, the best essayist in America today. This is a succinct and engaging analysis and background of farmers' markets.
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John Mcphee does an outstanding job disecting human nature in this story of his adventures at the greenmarket. It is extremely funny! The additional stories in this collection are just icing on the cake.
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