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Coming into the Country Paperback – April 1, 1991
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Residents of the Lower 48 sometimes imagine Alaska as a snow-covered land of igloos, oil pipelines, and polar bears. But Alaska is far more complex geographically, culturally, ecologically, and politically than most Americans know, and few writers are as capable of capturing this complexity as John McPhee. In Coming into the Country, McPhee describes his travels through much of the state with bush pilots, prospectors, and settlers, as well as politicians and businesspeople who have their eyes set on a very different future for the state.
“It is a reviewer's greatest pleasure to ring the gong for a species of masterpiece.” ―Edward Hoagland, The New York Times Book Review
“Justly celebrated…By showing us what Alaska is like, McPhee reminds us of what we have become.” ―The Washington Post Book World
“What is really in view in Coming into the Country is a matter not usually met in works of reportage . . . nothing less than the nature Of the human condition.” ―Benjamin De Mott, The Atlantic Monthly
“McPhee has acted as an antenna in a far-off place that few will see. He has brought back a wholly satisfying voyage of spirit and mind.” ―Paul Grey, Time
“With this book McPhee proves to be the most versatile journalist in America.” ―Editor's Choice, The New York Times
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Nevertheless, parts of this book are entertaining and I did finish it. The audio book accompaniment is excellent but cannot fix the rather dated and limited book itself. This is an ok book that does provide some nice stories. Therefore 3 stars.
McPhee is one of the great writers of our time. He can take topics that I might otherwise find dull, and transform them into page-turners. When given the subject of Alaska, he does better than that.