The Princeton Anthology of Writing by John McPhee
Favorite Pieces by the Ferris/McGraw Writers at Princeton University.

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Synopsis

In 1957--long before colleges awarded degrees in creative nonfiction and back when newspaper writing's reputation was tainted by the fish it wrapped--Princeton began honoring talented literary journalists. Since then, fifty-nine of the finest, most dedicated, and most decorated nonfiction writers have held the Ferris and McGraw professorships. This monumental volume harbors their favorite and often most influential works. Each contribution is rewarding reading, and collectively the selections validate journalism's ascent into the esteem of the academy and the reading public.

Necessarily eclectic and delightfully idiosyncratic, the fifty-nine pieces are long and short, political and personal, comic and deadly serious. Students will be provoked by William Greider's pointed critique of the democracy industry, eerily entertained by Leslie Cockburn's fraternization with the Cali cartel, inspired by David K. Shipler's thoughts on race, unsettled by Haynes Johnson's account of Bay of Pigs survivors, and moved by Lucinda Frank's essay on a mother fighting to save a child born with birth defects. Many of the essays are finely crafted portraits: Charlotte Grimes's biography of her grandmother, Blair Clark's obituary for Robert Lowell, and Jane Kramer's affecting story of a woman hero of the French Resistance.

Other contributions to savor include Harrison Salisbury on the siege of Leningrad, Landon Jones on the 1950s, Christopher Wren on Soviet mountaineering, James Gleick on technology, Gloria Emerson on Vietnam, Gina Kolata on Fermat's last theorem, and Roger Mudd on the media. Whether approached chronologically, thematically, randomly, or, as the editors order them, more intuitively, each suggests a perfect evening reading.

Designed for students as well as general readers, The Princeton Anthology of Writing splendidly attests to the elegance, eloquence, and endurance of fine nonfiction.

 

About John McPhee

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McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and educated at Princeton University and Cambridge University. His writing career began at Time magazine and led to his long association with the New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. That same year he published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with FSG, and soon followed with The Headmaster (1966), Oranges (1967), The Pine Barrens (1968), A Roomful of Hovings and Other Profiles (collection, 1969), The Crofter and the Laird (1969), Levels of the Game (1970), Encounters with the Archdruid (1972), The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed (1973), The Curve of Binding Energy (1974), Pieces of the Frame (collection, 1975), and The Survival of the Bark Canoe (1975). Both Encounters with the Archdruid and The Curve of Binding Energy were nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science Since 1977, the year in which McPhee received the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and The John McPhee Reader and the bestselling Coming into the Country appeared in print, Farrar, Straus and Giroux has published Giving Good Weight (collection, 1979), Basin and Range (1981), In Suspect Terrain (1983), La Place de la Concorde Suisse (1984), Table of Contents (collection, 1985), Rising from the Plains (1986), Heirs of General Practice (in a paperback edition, 1986), The Control of Nature (1989), Looking for a Ship (1990), Assembling California (1993), The Ransom of Russian Art (1994), The Second John McPhee Reader (1996), and Irons in the Fire (1997). Annals of the Former World was published in 1998 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. McPhee has taught at Princeton as Ferris Professor since 1975.
 
Published August 1, 2001 by Princeton University Press. 376 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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