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Uncommon Carriers (2006)

av John McPhee

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6442526,211 (3.89)11
McPhee's books are about real people in real places. Over the past eight years, McPhee has spent considerable time in the company of people who work in freight transportation. This 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. He 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 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.--From publisher description.… (mer)

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» Se även 11 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 24 (nästa | visa alla)
Meh. An assortment of essays, all vaguely (some very vaguely) linked to transportation and cargo. Each one is at least mildly interesting (it is John McPhee, after all), but despite attempts to connect them (the chemical trucker delivered stuff to the coal mine!), overall there's no real theme or direction or...anything to make this a book and not a random collection of essays. One of my favorites is a trip replicating (as well as possible) one taken by a young Thoreau, and written up in his (Thoreau's) first published book. McPhee mentions frequently Thoreau's habit of digressing from the line of events to cover some interesting, but not really related subject - and that's pretty much what this book feels like, a collection of digressions. Mildly enjoyable, but I doubt I'll bother to reread. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Nov 19, 2019 |
So you see a non-fiction book about transportation, trucks, ships, trains, etc., and think maybe not. But then you see the author is John McPhee, a guy who can make anything interesting, and does so here. McPhee travels with a long-haul trucker in a chemical hauler (twice!), attends a ship handling school on a pond in France, rides a barge towboat on the Illinois River, a coal train; and a couple of other transportation related things. He makes them all interesting.

McPhee writes with a firm grasp of facts and background and a deft touch with words. He spends time immersed in his subjects and it shows. His book about oranges is a classic. ( )
  Hagelstein | Oct 23, 2019 |
As a narrator the author has a flat, dry narration.

However the material if very interesting. So many things I didn't realize about UPS, Trains and Tug Boats. ( )
  nx74defiant | Jan 23, 2016 |
Notes for the reader: From the title, I was expecting something a bit different. This book does not fit the definition of fiction, and yet was almost more satisfying in many ways than much of fiction today. My biggest issue was when the author would become lost and use a string of incomprehensible and unrecognizable words gleaned from a thesaurus, and not everyday talk. And yet, he made most of the different modes of transportation as readable as possible to a person who had no background in planes, trains, ships, or canoes.

What ages would I recommend it too? – Ten and up.

Length? – Several days.

Characters? – Memorable, several characters.

Setting? – Real World across the U.S.

Written approximately? – 2006.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? – Ready to read more.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? No.

Short storyline: A descriptive trek around the world by truck, train, and boat, with a visit to the UPS hub to discuss plane travel as well.
( )
  AprilBrown | Feb 25, 2015 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this series of essays on various forms of transport in the US and other places. It's a very unlikely subject to be so fascinating but it was both a window into a different world and also into the people who are behind it. Even though it is chock full of numbers and stats, it's the people; truck drivers, air pilots, barge pilots, etc. who end up being the story. A few words here and there bring them to life. There is also a completely enjoyable diversion when he tries to recreate the trip on the Merrimack river of Thoreau and his brother. Just a relly nice read.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
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To Sam Candler, of the Boarskin Shirt, of Cemocheckobee Creek, of the Shad Alley and the Coal Train, all aboard.
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Wikipedia på engelska (2)

McPhee's books are about real people in real places. Over the past eight years, McPhee has spent considerable time in the company of people who work in freight transportation. This 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. He 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 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.--From publisher description.

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