Annals of the Former World

Annals of the Former World

Book - 1998 1981
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Baker & Taylor
A multilayered tale arranged in an organic succession of set pieces, flashbacks, biographical sketches, and human and lithic histories, explores North American geology, plate tectonics, and geologic time.

McMillan Palgrave

The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion years

Twenty years ago, when John McPhee began his journeys back and forth across the United States, he planned to describe a cross section of North America at about the fortieth parallel and, in the process, come to an understanding not only of the science but of the style of the geologists he traveled with. The structure of the book never changed, but its breadth caused him to complete it in stages, under the overall title Annals of the Former World.

Like the terrain it covers, Annals of the Former World tells a multilayered tale, and the reader may choose one of many paths through it. As clearly and succinctly written as it is profoundly informed, this is our finest popular survey of geology and a masterpiece of modern nonfiction.

Annals of the Former World is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.

& Taylor

Taking a cross-section of the United States at the fortieth parallel, the author offers fascinating multi-layered portrait of the continent's geology and history. Reprint.

Publisher: NY : Farrar Strauss, 1998 [1981]
ISBN: 9780374518738
Characteristics: 696 p. : ill ; 23 cm


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Jun 14, 2016

As usual, John McPhee writes about complex topics in simple, lovely, and entertaining prose. I read this while going through an anxious time and found it incredibly soothing and pleasant to just read about rocks. Would recommend.

Jan 03, 2016

I've adored this book since coming across it about 10 years ago. John McPhee makes geology thrilling! Have re-read it a couple of times since and am still planning the road trip that would follow in his footsteps.

Jul 24, 2012

This series imbues my own transcontinental travels, by plane and truck, with much deeper meaning than a simple appreciation for the landscape above/through which I am passing.

Feb 11, 2011

This was the first book by McPhee that I read and I loved it. He is great at writing about a technical topic through the personal experiences of views of experts in the field.

I didn't know that I loved geology until I read this book.

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