Irons in the Fire

John McPhee, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $22 (216p) ISBN 978-0-374-17726-3
Whether attending an auction of exotic cars, watching masons repair a crack in Plymouth Rock or exploring a primeval virgin woods in central New Jersey, prolific essayist McPhee has a marvelous knack for finding the universal in the particular. The title essay of this latest collection of New Yorker pieces is a ripsnorting account of cattle rustling in Nevada that harks back to the Wild West. In California, McPhee ponders an environmental disaster in the making as he inspects the world's largest mountain of scrapped automobile tires. Other pieces deal with a blind professor of English who uses a talking computer and forensic geologists who sift sand, pebbles, microfossils and mineral grains to solve murders, track down terrorists and pinpoint remote geographies. McPhee's usual craftsmanship, unflappable curiosity and openness to experience shine through as he discovers worlds off the beaten path, microcosms wherein he takes human nature as his province. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1997
Release date: 04/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-7635-7
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-374-52545-3
Open Ebook - 216 pages - 978-0-374-70847-4
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