THE SURVIVAL OF THE BARK CANOE
by JOHN McPHEE 114 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $7.95.
John McPhee has written whole, albeit slim books on oranges, the New Jersey pine barrens, Scottish weavers, an exotic flying machine called the Deltoid Pumpkin Seed, and the proliferation of that ultimate Saturday-night special, the cheap nuclear device. McPhee's The Levels of the Game is still the best book on tennis, in the same meticulous and quietly passionate way that makes A.J. Leibling's The Sweet Science the best book on boxing.
It is safe to say that The Survival...