Table of Contents

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$18.00  $16.74
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.66 X 1.0 X 8.18 inches | 0.77 pounds
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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.


"Here is McPhee at his most ingenuous and winning, a writer for all seasons." --George Core, The Sewanee Review

"Mr. McPhee is in top form, and his voice, fairly constant from piece to piece, provides sufficient unity." --Noel Perrin, The New York Times Book Review

"Eight essays of varying length, all reprinted from The New Yorker, make up this collection of vintage McPhee. Most of the pieces deal with people who have taken the less traveled path, such as Pat McConnell, who is in charge of all New Jersey's fur-bearing mammals, including bears (yes, there are bears in New Jersey); Richard Hutchinson, who runs a truly tinkertoy power company in Circle City, Alaska; and Dr. David Jones, who practices family medicine in the far reaches of Aroostook County, Maine. Rather incongruously, there is also a profile of Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, the only celebrity included . . . Table of Contents is a civilized book in the best sense of that word." --Kenneth F. Kister, Library Journal

"These pieces demonstrate once again the many reasons for reading McPhee. He has a talent for unearthing arcane subject matter. He is an extraordinary stylist. His work is the standard by which most literary nonfiction is judged these days." --James Kaufmann, The Christian Science Monitor (Eastern edition)

"[This work] reflects McPhee's continuing interest in the natural aspect of this world, and he writes about natural things almost for love's sake alone and not in the disgruntled mode of some latter-day Thoreau. The opening essay, 'Under the Snow, ' illustrates McPhee's beautifully controlled state of mind and temperament. It also exhibits his characteristic talent for getting unusual stories out of seemingly common materials--in this case, the revelation of the many black bears' dens in Pennsylvania. A precise and lovely prose describes a state biologist reaching into a den whose sow has been calmed by the hypodermic jab stick: 'From deeps of shining fur, he fished out cubs.' This is a is disarming kind of simplicity." --Thomas P. McDonnell, National Review