John McPhee

John McPhee is an American writer known for his detailed nonfiction writing. He has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1965 and has published numerous books on a wide range of topics, including geology, sports, and transportation. McPhee is considered one of the pioneers of creative nonfiction.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Pine Barrens

    The book is a richly detailed portrait of the Pine Barrens, a vast and enigmatic region in New Jersey that, despite its proximity to major cities, has remained largely untouched and unknown. The narrative weaves together the area's natural history, the distinctive ecology of its sandy soils and pygmy forests, and the stories of its resilient inhabitants, who have adapted to the harsh environment and preserved their unique way of life. The author's exploration reveals the complex interplay between human culture and the natural world, as well as the ongoing threats to this fragile ecosystem from urban sprawl and development. Through evocative prose and meticulous reporting, the book captures the essence of a place that defies the expectations of the industrial landscape surrounding it, offering a contemplative look at a wilderness that survives against the odds.

    The 4528th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. A Sense of Where You Are

    This book profiles the life and basketball career of Bill Bradley during his time at Princeton University. It details Bradley's discipline, intelligence, and unique skills on the court, while also delving into his personal life and his academic achievements. The narrative paints a vivid picture of a young man who excels both athletically and academically, while also giving readers a glimpse into the world of Ivy League basketball during the 1960s.

    The 5473rd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Coming into the Country

    This book provides an in-depth exploration of Alaska, its wilderness, and the people who inhabit it. The narrative is divided into three parts, detailing the urban, rural, and wilderness areas of the state. It offers a comprehensive look at the unique challenges and lifestyle of Alaskans, the state's history, and its potential future. The author's vivid descriptions and personal interviews provide an intimate and realistic portrayal of life in one of the most remote areas of the United States.

    The 5677th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Oranges

    The book is a fascinating exploration into the world of oranges, delving into their biological origins, cultural significance, and economic impact. It traces the fruit's journey from ancient times to modern-day, detailing how oranges have been cultivated and consumed across different civilizations. The narrative combines elements of travelogue, history, and personal anecdote, providing a comprehensive look at how oranges have shaped human experiences and industry, particularly focusing on the citrus industry in Florida. Through engaging storytelling, the book offers insights into the complexities of agricultural production and the global trade of this ubiquitous fruit.

    The 7652nd Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Annals of the Former World

    "Annals of the Former World" is a comprehensive exploration of the geology and geological history of North America. The book combines complex scientific information with engaging narratives and anecdotes, providing detailed descriptions of the continent's diverse landscapes and the geological forces that have shaped them. The author also introduces the reader to the scientists who study these processes, offering insights into their work and perspectives. Throughout, the book emphasizes the vast timescales involved in geological processes, giving a sense of the deep history of the Earth.

    The 10908th Greatest Book of All Time