Oranges by John McPhee

While many readers are familiar with John McPhee’s ( masterful pieces on a large scale (the geological history of North America, or the nature of Alaska), McPhee is equally remarkable when he considers the seemingly inconsequential.

Oranges (1967) was conceived as a short magazine piece, but thanks to his unparalleled investigative skills, became a slim, fact-filled book. As McPhee chronicles orange farmers struggling with frost and horticulturists’ new breeds of citrus, oranges come to seem a microcosm of man’s relationship with nature. Like Flemish miniaturists who reveal the essence of humankind within the confines of a tiny frame, McPhee once again demonstrates that the smallest topic is replete with history, significance, and consequence. An excellent read.

Available in paperback at

160 pages in Penguin paperback

ISBN 978-0141182032

John McPhee

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