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Publisher's Summary

Those who have traveled into America’s only remaining frontier rarely come back out the same. Only in Alaska can we come close to understanding what our forefathers must have felt upon their arrival in the New World. McPhee brings to this narrative the qualities that have distinguished him in the field of travel literature—tolerance, brisk, and entertaining prose, and a fascination with things most of us never bother to notice.

©1977 John McPhee (P)1990 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Columbus, OH, United States
  • 10-30-11

Welcome to Alaska

In my opinion, and that of several Alaskans I have spoken with, this is the best book on contemporary Alaska. I have read it twice, and listened to it two more times. It is one of my favorite John McPhee titles. McPhee is arguably one of the most readable essayists in contemporary literature. Each of his books is a treasure, Coming into the Country being one of his finest works.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The truth about Alaska

Excellent. Having been to Alaska a few years ago, this book reflected what I experienced there, although it was written many years before my trip. Characters abound, the landscape is literally out of this world as we know it in the 48 contiguous states, and the US government should treat it as the last frontier that it is, and leave the people who want to and are able to survive there the hell alone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Reader mispronounces many names

I'm from Alaska and was dismayed at all the mispronunciations for names and various words the author made. Is there no proofing before a story goes out?
The story itself was as captivating this reading as it was 34 years ago when I had just arrived in Alaska.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Pamela
  • Bigfork, Montana
  • 05-05-16

Who would choose to live in Alaska?

This book provides a somewhat dated but still interesting look at the people who were moving to and living in Alaska during the mid-1970s. These are the rugged individualists, the misfits, and those with an Alaskan heritage. They don't like the government or neighbors or the ill-informed tree-huggers telling them what to do. I imagine there are a few of them still on the outskirts of civilization in the vast wilderness up north, but the petroleum industry and escapees from the lower 48 have doubled the population of the state since this book was written.

There is a lot of political incorrectness and destruction of natural resources, but this was a tough country that extracted a high price from its residents. Those trapped animals provided food and clothing. The bulldozed landing strip provided a fragile link to medical care and supplies. Those cost could be easily be borne with so few pushing out into the unknown wilderness.

Anyone who wants to voice opinions on how the Alaskan lands should be preserved or used should know the people in this book. Alaska was a frontier in 1975; is it still one today?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Eugene
  • Birmingham, AL, United States
  • 08-20-12

Classic Alaska Non-Fiction Remains Timely

Would you listen to Coming into the Country again? Why?

I generally only read or listen to a book once, but I might refer back to some of this one's prose.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The Gelvin family. Practical, competent, decent.

What does Nelson Runger bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He's an accomplished pro. His reading does not get in the way of the prose.

Any additional comments?

Publish everything of McPhee's that you can.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Arthur
  • Simi Valley, CA, United States
  • 03-10-13

A somewhat disjointed glimpse of Alaska

I found it somewhat challenging to stay engaged in this book. Seemed to ramble from one point to another without a storyline to effectively tie everything together. Parts of the narrative seemed to be whiny. Made it all the way through - continuing to work through Alaska based books before my trip up north. The first couple of books I went through (Williwaw and Into the Wild) were great. The last two, not so much.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Liz
  • Durham, North Carolina
  • 05-11-17

excellent reading of an outdated book

The voice reader is excellent. The book itself was published in the 1970s and provides interesting vignettes about a long-gone Alaska. I was hoping to learn more about Alaskan history or Alaska now, and the vignettes, while nice, were not what I was looking for. The voice reader was fine. So maybe I should have given him 5 stars? The book was weak. Not the reader's fault. But how can I give the reader 5 stars if the book itself is outdated and limited? It would be great if you could provide review guidelines for audio books. The reader should get 5 stars and the book itself 3. I therefore gave 4 here.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful