July 14, 2006
My father introduced me to author John McPhee years ago with a volume entitled, The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed. The unlikely title referred to a new lifting vehicle, or rigid lighter-than-air balloon. McPhee’s essays are about people and things, and are told with rare grace and deft use of language. They are a joy to read.
Uncommon Carriers is about coal trains, and barge traffic on the Illinois River. It’s about over-the-road trucking, and the package sort at UPS in Memphis. It’s mostly about the people who inhabit these uncommon modes of moving goods.
Rating: Uncommonly good.