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Irons in the Fire
by John McPhee
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374525455, Paperback)Master essayist John McPhee heard about vehicles in Nevada that resemble police cars, but the cop inside was actually a "brand inspector," a lawman charged with tracking cattle rustlers. Ever curious, McPhee left his home in New Jersey for Nevada and spent a few weeks in those cars. The title essay of this collection is, as we've come to expect from McPhee, well-reported and beautifully written. Also included are essays based on McPhee's observations of a stand of virgin forest in the middle of New Jersey, a huge pile of automobile tires in California, and a long and fascinating look at forensic geologists and how stones tell a story.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:02 -0400)
The differing contents of this book reflect the variety in the overall span of master observer McPhee's work. Irons in the Fire concerns catlle rustling in contemporary Nevada. The Gravel Page is about forensic geology--a science used to help solve major crimes and puzzles on an even greater scale. Rinard at Manheim is an experimental story about an auction of exotic cars. Items as unlikely as a virgin forest in central New Jersey and a mountain of forty-four million scrap tires in California shape the scenes and substance of other pieces. Not to mention Plymouth Rock: Travels of the Rock, about a day when the State of Massachusetts had to call in a mason to repair the nation's most hallowed lithic relic, is a blend of colonial history, paleogeography, radiometric dating, societal drift, tectonic theory, schoolkids, and Mayflower descendants in leather jackets and one-way shades.--From publisher description.
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