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The Standing Rabbit

Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee

Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee

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Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee is a 248-page hardcover published in 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  The dust jacket and book are in very good original condition.

Book Summary

This is a book about people who drive trucks, captain ships, pilot tow boats, drive coal trains, and carry lobsters through the air:  people who work in freight transportation. In recent years, John McPhee has spent considerable time with such people, and Uncommon Carriers is his sketchbook of them, of their work, and of his journeys in their company.

He rides from Atlanta to Tacoma alongside Don Ainsworth, owner and operator of a 65-foot 5-axle 18-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 attends ship handling school on a pond in the foothills of the French Alps, where, for tuition of $15,000 a week, skippers of the largest ocean ships refine their capabilities in 20 foot Scale Models. He goes "out in the sort" among the machines that process a million packages a day at UPS Air's distribution hub in Louisville International Airport. He travels up the "tight-assed" Illinois River on a tugboat pushing a triple string of barges, the overall vessel being a good deal longer than the Titanic, longer even than the Queen Mary 2. In Nebraska, Kansas, Georgia, and the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, he rides in the cabs of coal trains. And he travels by canoe up the canal and lock commercial waterways travel by 22 year old Henry David Thoreau and his brother John, in a homemade skiff 164 years earlier, the journey described in the Thoreau's first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.

Uncommon Carriers is classic work by John McPhee, in prose distinguished, as always, by it's authors warm humor, keen insight, and Rich sense of human character.

ISBN: 978-0-374-28039-0

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