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1 Beaverton Travel Writing- General

Uncommon Carriers

by

Uncommon Carriers Cover

ISBN13: 9780374280390
ISBN10: 0374280398
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Over the past eight years, John McPhee has spent considerable time in the company of people who work in freight transportation. Uncommon Carriers is his sketchbook of them and of his journeys with them. He rides from Atlanta to Tacoma alongside Don Ainsworth, owner and operator of a sixty-five-foot, eighteen-wheel chemical tanker carrying hazmats. McPhee attends ship-handling school on a pond in the foothills of the French Alps, where, for a tuition of $15,000 a week, skippers of the largest ocean ships refine their capabilities in twenty-foot scale models. He goes up the "tight-assed" Illinois River on a "towboat" pushing a triple string of barges, the overall vessel being "a good deal longer than the Titanic." And he travels by canoe up the canal-and-lock commercial waterways traveled by Henry David Thoreau and his brother, John, in a homemade skiff in 1839.

Uncommon Carriers is classic work by McPhee, in prose distinguished, as always, by its author's warm humor, keen insight, and rich sense of human character.

Review:

"McPhee's 28th book (after The Founding Fish) is a grown-up version of every young boy's fantasy life, as the peripatetic writer gets to ride in the passenger seat in an 18-wheel truck, tag along on a barge ride up the Illinois River and climb into the cabin of a Union Pacific coal train that's over a mile long. He even gets to be the one-man crew on a 20-ton scale model of an ocean tanker in a French pond where ship pilots go for advanced training. As always, McPhee's eye for idiosyncratic detail keeps the stories (some of which have appeared in the New Yorker and the Atlantic Monthly) lively and frequently moves them in interesting directions. One chapter that starts out in a Nova Scotia lobster farm winds up in Louisville, Ky., where McPhee is quickly beguiled by the enormous UPS sorting facility. In a more intimate piece, he takes a canoe and retraces Thoreau's path along New England rivers, noting the modern urban sprawl as well as the wildlife. 'There are two places in the world — home and everywhere else,' the towboat captain tells McPhee, 'and everywhere else is the same.' But McPhee always uncovers the little differences that give every place its unique tale. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

Prolific (he's written 27 other books) and still energetic at 75, McPhee here turns his attention to the experiences of people who work in freight transportation--those whose travel is not at all "virtual." He offers a personalized view of what goes on as stuff of all types gets transported via roads and trucks, boats, trains, and planes. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

What John McPhee's books all have in common is that they are about real people in real places. Here, at his adventurous best, he is out and about with people who work in freight transportation.

Over the past eight years, John McPhee has spent considerable time in the company of people who work in freight transportation. Uncommon Carriers is his sketchbook of them and of his journeys with them. He rides from Atlanta to Tacoma alongside Don Ainsworth, owner and operator of a sixty-five-foot,

eighteen-wheel chemical tanker carrying hazmats. McPhee attends ship-handling school on a pond in the foothills of the French Alps, where, for a tuition of $15,000 a week, skippers of the largest ocean ships refine their capabilities in twenty-foot scale models. He goes up the "tight-assed" Illinois River on a

"towboat" pushing a triple string of barges, the overall vessel being "a good deal longer than the Titanic." And he travels by canoe up the canal-and-lock commercial waterways traveled by Henry David Thoreau and his brother, John,

in a homemade skiff in 1839.

Uncommon Carriers is classic work by McPhee, in prose distinguished, as always, by its author's warm humor, keen insight, and rich sense of human character.

Synopsis:

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 Louisville International Airport. And (among other trips) he travels up the "tight-assed" Illinois River on a towboat pushing a triple string of barges, the overall vessel being "a good deal longer than the Titanic," longer even than the Queen Mary 2.

Uncommon Carriers is classic work by McPhee, in prose distinguished, as always, by its author's warm humor, keen insight, and rich sense of human character.

About the Author

John McPhee is a staff writer at the New Yorker. He is the author of twenty-seven books. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

DANIEL MCCABE, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by DANIEL MCCABE)
John McPhee is always a good read. These 7 essays are among my favorites; all of them relating transportation intricacies in his style of story woven with personalities, folklore and fact. I highly recommend this great collection.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Joe, June 2, 2006 (view all comments by Joe)
On the same order as "Control of Nature", "Irons in the Fire", and several others, McPhee is all over the place. The canoe trip drags, he bookends with travels in an 18-wheeler (smart, literate driver), rides a barge on the Illinois River, and hops a coal train. The coal train segment is very good, but overall, not his best effort.
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(11 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374280390
Author:
Mcphee, John
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Author:
McPhee, John
Subject:
General
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Transportation
Subject:
Freight and freightage
Subject:
General Transportation
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20060531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.43 x 5.82 x 0.95 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Journalism » Journalists
Transportation » General
Travel » Travel Writing » General

Uncommon Carriers Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374280390 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "McPhee's 28th book (after The Founding Fish) is a grown-up version of every young boy's fantasy life, as the peripatetic writer gets to ride in the passenger seat in an 18-wheel truck, tag along on a barge ride up the Illinois River and climb into the cabin of a Union Pacific coal train that's over a mile long. He even gets to be the one-man crew on a 20-ton scale model of an ocean tanker in a French pond where ship pilots go for advanced training. As always, McPhee's eye for idiosyncratic detail keeps the stories (some of which have appeared in the New Yorker and the Atlantic Monthly) lively and frequently moves them in interesting directions. One chapter that starts out in a Nova Scotia lobster farm winds up in Louisville, Ky., where McPhee is quickly beguiled by the enormous UPS sorting facility. In a more intimate piece, he takes a canoe and retraces Thoreau's path along New England rivers, noting the modern urban sprawl as well as the wildlife. 'There are two places in the world — home and everywhere else,' the towboat captain tells McPhee, 'and everywhere else is the same.' But McPhee always uncovers the little differences that give every place its unique tale. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
What John McPhee's books all have in common is that they are about real people in real places. Here, at his adventurous best, he is out and about with people who work in freight transportation.

Over the past eight years, John McPhee has spent considerable time in the company of people who work in freight transportation. Uncommon Carriers is his sketchbook of them and of his journeys with them. He rides from Atlanta to Tacoma alongside Don Ainsworth, owner and operator of a sixty-five-foot,

eighteen-wheel chemical tanker carrying hazmats. McPhee attends ship-handling school on a pond in the foothills of the French Alps, where, for a tuition of $15,000 a week, skippers of the largest ocean ships refine their capabilities in twenty-foot scale models. He goes up the "tight-assed" Illinois River on a

"towboat" pushing a triple string of barges, the overall vessel being "a good deal longer than the Titanic." And he travels by canoe up the canal-and-lock commercial waterways traveled by Henry David Thoreau and his brother, John,

in a homemade skiff in 1839.

Uncommon Carriers is classic work by McPhee, in prose distinguished, as always, by its author's warm humor, keen insight, and rich sense of human character.

"Synopsis" by ,
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 Louisville International Airport. And (among other trips) he travels up the "tight-assed" Illinois River on a towboat pushing a triple string of barges, the overall vessel being "a good deal longer than the Titanic," longer even than the Queen Mary 2.

Uncommon Carriers is classic work by McPhee, in prose distinguished, as always, by its author's warm humor, keen insight, and rich sense of human character.

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