Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Uncommon Carriers

No, I have no idea why I bought this book. I know it was on sale. Beyond that, I haven't a clue.

But I'm glad I did. It was fascinating for many reasons. It definitely worked a different part of my brain than most of my books. Uncommon Carriers, by John McPhee, is the tale of different modes of transport in this country that most of us are unfamiliar with. McPhee spends time riding with a trucker, learning the art of watching 'bears' (police). He visits a school in Europe where ship captains are trained to navigate difficult harbors on a miniature version of the watery world. He recreates Thoreau's adventure up a river in a canoe, travels with a coal train and visits UPS's headquarters in Louisville, where packages of every shape and size are sorted and delivered.

I never expected to read a book like this, but now know far more about trucks and trains, tankers and UPS. It was a delightful, well-written read, and for anyone looking to mentally escape for a few days while picking up a few tips on how best not to be run over by a semi, I'd highly recommend it!

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