Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee

Ah, a wee bit of a book! This may be the first book I have read that I have not owned in a very long time. I like John McPhee, and I discovered this while doing some research for a paper on his essays.

Amazing how history can be distorted by the victors. I remember being curious about William Wallace after seeing the film, Braveheart. I happened to have two books on Scottish history. One was by a Scot, the other by an English historian. As you can imagine, the former lauded Wallace as a hero, a freedom fighter, and a great soul, while the latter labeled him a terrorist, a thief, and a murderer. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

I like McPhee’s style and his subject matter. He always seems to wind around to the outdoors and the people who live in and off it. He has had dozens of essays in The New Yorker, my favorite magazine. That is where I first encountered him. Interesting reading, and this book has some nifty pen and ink drawings. Four stars

-Chiron, 2/7/08

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