Coming Into the Country Book Summary - Coming Into the Country Book explained in key points

Coming Into the Country summary

John McPhee

Brief summary

Coming into the Country by John McPhee is a captivating exploration of Alaska. McPhee delves into the unique landscapes, wildlife, and people of this wild frontier, painting an intimate portrait of the last frontier.

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    Coming Into the Country
    Summary of key ideas

    Exploring the Vastness of Alaska

    In Coming into the Country by John McPhee, we embark on a journey to explore the vastness of Alaska. The book is divided into three parts, each focusing on a different aspect of this unique state. In the first part, McPhee takes us to the remote wilderness of the Brooks Range, a mountainous region in northern Alaska. Here, we meet a group of people who have chosen to live in this harsh and isolated environment, far from the comforts of modern civilization.

    McPhee introduces us to a variety of characters, including a park ranger, a miner, and a bush pilot, each with their own reasons for living in such a challenging place. Through their stories, we gain an understanding of the allure of the wilderness and the resilience required to survive in such extreme conditions. We also learn about the delicate balance between human activity and the natural environment in this pristine part of the world.

    Life in Urban Alaska

    In the second part of the book, McPhee shifts his focus to urban Alaska, specifically the city of Anchorage. Here, we encounter a different side of the state, one that is more connected to the outside world and influenced by modern conveniences. Despite the presence of urban amenities, McPhee shows us that the spirit of the wilderness still permeates the city, with its residents maintaining a deep connection to the natural world.

    We meet a diverse range of individuals, from a wildlife biologist studying the behavior of bears to a group of Native Alaskans fighting for their land rights. Through their stories, we gain insight into the complex relationship between the indigenous people of Alaska and the forces of modernization. McPhee also delves into the city's unique history and its role as a gateway to the state's more remote regions.

    Life in the Bush

    In the final part of Coming into the Country, McPhee takes us to the bush, the most remote and isolated areas of Alaska. Here, we meet the residents of Eagle, a small community on the Yukon River, accessible only by boat or plane. The people of Eagle live a life deeply connected to the land, relying on hunting, fishing, and subsistence farming for their survival.

    McPhee introduces us to the colorful characters who call Eagle home, from the town's mayor to a young couple trying to make a living by running a small lodge. Through their stories, we gain an understanding of the challenges and rewards of living in such a remote location. We also learn about the unique culture and traditions of the people who have chosen to make their lives in the Alaskan bush.


    In conclusion, Coming into the Country is a captivating exploration of Alaska, its people, and its landscapes. Through his vivid storytelling and keen observations, McPhee provides us with a deep understanding of this extraordinary state. He shows us that Alaska is not just a place of extreme wilderness, but also a place of rich history, diverse cultures, and resilient communities. It's a journey that leaves us with a profound appreciation for the last frontier of America.

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    What is Coming Into the Country about?

    Coming Into the Country (1976) is a non-fiction book by John McPhee that explores the untamed wilderness of Alaska. Through vivid storytelling and in-depth research, McPhee delves into the lives of the people who inhabit this rugged land, the challenges they face, and the complex relationship between humans and nature. It offers a captivating glimpse into a world few have experienced firsthand.

    Coming Into the Country Review

    Coming Into the Country (1977) takes readers on a captivating journey through Alaska's wilderness, showcasing the region's unique landscapes, people, and way of life. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through vivid storytelling, it provides a deep understanding of the challenges and rewards of living in the vast Alaskan wilderness.
    • With its exploration of the tension between preserving the environment and economic development, the book offers insightful perspectives on the delicate balance between human needs and nature.
    • By delving into the lives of Alaskan residents, the book reveals the resilience and resourcefulness of individuals living in one of the world's most remote regions.

    Who should read Coming Into the Country?

    • Readers who are curious about the unique culture and landscape of Alaska
    • People who enjoy immersive, in-depth non-fiction narratives
    • Those seeking a better understanding of the environmental and social challenges facing remote wilderness areas

    About the Author

    John McPhee is a renowned American author and journalist. With a career spanning over 50 years, McPhee has written extensively on a wide range of topics, from geology to sports to the environment. He is known for his meticulous research and engaging storytelling. Some of his notable works include Encounters with the Archdruid, The Control of Nature, and Annals of the Former World, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. McPhee's book, Coming Into the Country, provides a captivating exploration of the people and landscapes of Alaska.

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    Coming Into the Country FAQs 

    What is the main message of Coming Into the Country?

    The main message of Coming Into the Country is about the complexity of Alaska's wilderness and the people who inhabit it.

    How long does it take to read Coming Into the Country?

    The reading time for Coming Into the Country varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Coming Into the Country a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Coming Into the Country is worth reading for its immersive storytelling and unique insights into Alaska's untamed landscapes and communities.

    Who is the author of Coming Into the Country?

    John McPhee is the author of Coming Into the Country.

    What to read after Coming Into the Country?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Coming Into the Country, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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