John McPhee The Pine Barrens

ISBN 13: 9780374514426

The Pine Barrens

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9780374514426: The Pine Barrens
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Most people think of New Jersey as a suburban-industrial corridor that runs between New York and Philadelphia. Yet in the low center of the state is a near wilderness, larger than most national parks, which has been known since the seventeenth century as the Pine Barrens.

The term refers to the predominant trees in the vast forests that cover the area and to the quality of the soils below, which are too sandy and acid to be good for farming. On all sides, however, developments of one kind or another have gradually moved in, so that now the central and integral forest is reduced to about a thousand square miles. Although New Jersey has the heaviest population density of any state, huge segments of the Pine Barrens remain uninhabited. The few people who dwell in the region, the â Pineys,â are little known and often misunderstood. Here McPhee uses his uncanny skills as a journalist to explore the history of the region and describe the peopleâ and their distinctive folkloreâ who call it home.

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Contrary to popular opinion, the whole of New Jersey is not a continuous Superfund site enlivened solely by poorly labeled Turnpike exits and skanky diners. In fact, the largest essentially untouched wilderness east of the Mississippi comprises nearly half the state: the New Jersey Pine Barrens. This more than 1,000-square-mile region has only a few thousand inhabitants--the Pineys, whose way of life has remained essentially unchanged since the 17th century. McPhee--one of the finest American essayists of the 20th century--has written an extraordinarily compelling, informative, and insightful book about the botanical, cultural, hydrological, and historical peculiarities of this region. He also details the efforts to save it from the creeping urbanization of nearby Philadelphia and New York City. Very Highly Recommended.

About the Author:

John McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and was 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. Also in 1965, he published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and in the years since, he has written nearly 30 books, including Oranges (1967), Coming into the Country (1977), The Control of Nature (1989), The Founding Fish (2002), Uncommon Carriers (2007), and Silk Parachute (2011). Encounters with the Archdruid (1972) and The Curve of Binding Energy (1974) were nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science. McPhee received the Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977. In 1999, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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