Coming into the Country is an unforgettable account of Alaska and Alaskans. It is a rich tapestry of vivid characters, observed landscapes, and descriptive narrative, in three principal segments that deal, respectively, with a total wilderness, with urban Alaska, and with life in the remoteness of the bush.
Readers of McPhee's earlier books will not be unprepared for his surprising shifts of scene and ordering of events, brilliantly combined into an organic whole. In the course of this volume we are made acquainted with the lore and techniques of placer mining, the habits and legends of the barren-ground grizzly, the outlook of a young Athapaskan chief, and tales of the fortitude of settlers—ordinary people compelled by extraordinary dreams. Coming into the Country unites a vast region of America with one of America's notable literary craftsmen, singularly qualified to do justice to the scale and grandeur of the design.
“It is a reviewer's greatest pleasure to ring the gong for a species of masterpiece.” —Edward Hoagland, The New York Times Book Review
“Justly celebrated…By showing us what Alaska is like, McPhee reminds us of what we have become.” —The Washington Post Book World
“What is really in view in Coming into the Country is a matter not usually met in works of reportage . . . nothing less than the nature Of the human condition.” —Benjamin De Mott, The Atlantic Monthly
“McPhee has acted as an antenna in a far-off place that few will see. He has brought back a wholly satisfying voyage of spirit and mind.” —Paul Grey, Time
“With this book McPhee proves to be the most versatile journalist in America.” —Editor's Choice, The New York Times