Uncommon Carriers

  • by John McPhee
  • Narrated by John McPhee
  • 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From Pulitzer Prize-winner John McPhee, author of The Founding Fish, comes the fascinating story of an often overlooked, yet vitally important part of America. This first-hand account of the transportation sector features evocative portraits of the men and women who deliver our consumer and industrial goods. McPhee begins his adventure riding with Don Ainsworth, owner and operator of an 18-wheeler hauling nearly 30 tons of highly toxic chemicals from North Carolina to Washington. He continues his journey on a towboat pushing over 1,000 feet of barge up the narrow channel of the Illinois River. He rounds out his account crawling through Nebraska, Kansas, and the Powder River Basin of Wyoming in massive coal trains. Along the way, he tells the stories of the people he meets and the places he visits. McPhee's sense of humor, incisive observations, and historical asides make for a highly entertaining journey across America.

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What the Critics Say

"As always, McPhee's eye for idiosyncratic detail keeps the stories (some of which have appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly) lively and frequently moves them in interesting directions." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Entertaining!

As always, John McPhee writes an entertaining book about something you never thought to think about but will find fascinating in his words. The author as narrator also adds a great deal to make this book personal. I hope he keeps writing forever!
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- Stacey

I love John McPhee -a National Treasure

His story in last week's New Yorker about his penchant for collecting errant golf balls prompted me to start relistening to this. We had originally listed on a cross country drive so the story of the chemical tanker was perfect. Then, in Wyoming, the BNSF coal train segment was playing as we drove quite close to Powder River where the coal conveyor belt starts. It is a (dryly) FUNNY book (his narration makes it more so) with just the right amount of his personal bias built into the lush descriptions of all these folks who MOVE things.
This is one of the few books I leave on my phone permanently.
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- K Cornwinkle

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-29-2007
  • Publisher: Recorded Books