Encounters with the Archdruid

John McPhee

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0374514313

9780374514310

Trade Paperback

256 Pages

$16.00

CAD18.50

Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
The narratives in this book are of journeys made in three wildernesses—on a coastal island, in a Western mountain range, and on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Four men are involved: Charles Park, a mineral engineer who believes that our economic well-being rests on finding metals and extracting them from the earth wherever they are found; Charles Fraser, a resort developer who regards all conservationists as druids ("religious figures who sacrifice people and worship trees"); Floyd Dominy, a builder of gigantic dams, who grew up in dry Western country and deeply believes in the impoundment of water; and David Brower, the most militant conservationist in the world. In turn, Park, Fraser, and Dominy encounter Brower, whether in rapids, in forests, on mountain trails, on a raft, in a jeep, or on foot—now reserved, now friendly, now fighting hard across a philosophical divide.

REVIEWS

Praise for Encounters with the Archdruid

"The importance of this lively book in the unmanageably proliferating literature on ecology is in its confrontation between remarkable men who hold great differences of opinion with integrity on all sides. Mr. McPhee, not pushing, just presenting, portrays them all in the round, showing them clashing in concrete situations where factors are complex and decisions hard. Readers must choose sides."—The Wall Street Journal

"For those who want to understand the issues of the environmental crisis, Encounters with the Archdruid is a superb book. McPhee reveals more nuances of the value revolution that dominates the new age of ecology than most writers could pack into a volume twice as long. I marvel at his capacity to listen intently and extract the essence of a man and his philosophy in the fewest possible words."—Stewart Udall

"Brower and his antagonists are revealed as subtly and convincingly as they would be in a good novel."Time

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Encounters with the Archdruid
PART 3A River 
 
Floyd Elgin Dominy raises beef cattle in the Shenandoah Valley. Observed there, hand on a fence, his eyes surveying his pastures, he does not look particularly Virginian. Of middle height, thickset, somewhat bandy-legged, he appears to have been lifted off a horse with block and tackle. He wears bluejeans, a white-and-black striped shirt, and leather boots with heels two inches high. His belt buckle is silver and could not be covered over with a playing card. He wears a string tie that is secured with a piece of petrified dinosaur
Read the full excerpt
BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • John McPhee

  • John McPhee is the author of more than 25 books, including Annals of the Former World, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction in 1999. He has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1965 and lives in Princeton, New Jersey. McPhee's Encounters with the Archdruid and The Curve of Binding Energy were both nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science.
  • John McPhee Peter Cook
BACK