Control of Nature

John McPhee, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $35 (272p) ISBN 978-0-374-12890-6
Man vs. Nature, sometimes it is difficult to tell which is winning: in Louisiana, engineers struggle to keep the Mississippi River on course; in Iceland, people once blocked a flow of lava that threatened to destroy a major harbor; in Southern California, the fight goes on to secure houses against rock- and mudslides. The incomparable McPhee ( Basin and Range, etc.) takes us to these battlefields, introducing the challengers and describing the circumstances at the front. He reviews the history of attempts to control the lower Mississippi, where Nature has eventually won. McPhee's account of the volcanic eruption in Iceland is vivid and dramatic--we feel our feet growing hot from the lava. And his report on the Los Angeles mudslides is nightmarish in detail. Despite the ingenious solutions (or deterrents) found to these problems, the reader is left with the feeling that Nature will triumph once more. These pieces are reprinted from the New Yorker. (June)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-374-70849-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-394-58145-3
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-374-52259-9
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