The third part of that book, Rising From the Plains, takes McPhee to the high country of Utah along the Continental Divide. His guide is David Love, "the grand old man of Rocky Mountain geology". Helping McPhee see the physical changes that have shaped this region over millions of years, Love also traces his own family's history in this oil-rich, windswept land. As McPhee climbs into the granite landscape of the Rockies, Rising From the Plains creates a fascinating picture of the interdependence of geology, commerce, and culture. Nelson Runger's clear narration further enhances McPhee's engaging text.
Listen to more books in the Annals of the Former World collection.
©1986 John McPhee; (P)2000 Recorded Books, LLC
"A delight." (The New York Times Book Review
"Narrator Nelson Runger...keeps the listener interested in even the most technical explanations, using pauses and emphasis to maintain clarity." (AudioFile)
This book is an extremely well-written & informative blend of science and history. While Wyoming geology is the book's primary focus, the story has a profoundly human quality, tracing as it does the 100-year history of a lively and memorable family of Wyoming homesteaders. If you are scientifically curious and love good writing, you'll treasure this one.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
I am nearly finished with the individual portions of' Annals of the Former World' ('Basin and Range' ☑, 'In Suspect Terrain' ☑, 'Assembling California' ☑). All I have left is to read the section 'Crossing the Craton' (a sixty page addition to his 40th parallel/I-80 project that filled in the blank in the map and allowed the publishers of 'Annals of the Former World' some additional McPhee text not found in the four main books/sections previously published to incentivize McPhee's fans to fork out the addtional $35 in 1998 to get the whole brilliant McPhee mess).
I read/listened to these books a little out of order over a little over the last year. I started off well with 'Basin & Range', 'In Suspect Terrain', but then jumped to 'Assembling California' since a couple of weeks ago I was going to be driving through California and figured it would be nice to have some geology of the geography I was going to be driving through next to me.
While I was a little disappointed with 'Assembling California', I loved 'Rising from the Plains'. I don't know if it was a return to my roots (Wyoming and Snake River and Mormon Country), or the fact that this book seemed just to excite McPhee more. You could tell he loved the Loves (David Love: Yale educated geologist, cowboy; John Love: David's father, mirthful Scot rancher/cowboy, nephew of John Muir; Ethel Waxham Love: David's mother, teacher, writer). He threads this family's golden personality and history with the geology and geography of Wyoming.
These books are dangerous and should not be given to children. I am keeping them locked up with my William S. Burroughs, Henry Miller, etc. If my son or daughter (no field geology sexist me) were to discover these McPhee books too young (s)he might just grow up to be a passionate field geologist. Reading this as I near my 40s, McPhee almost makes me want to take up a hammer, hop on a horse and ride into the mountains.
I give it four stars, simply because 'Coming into the Country' still exists for me as a slightly better book, but I think the combined energy of all of the 'Annals' is definitely amazing. I've grown to appreciate the narrative skills of Nelson Runger, although he went back and forth calling the Uinta Mountains at times the [WINtas) and at other times properly the (YOU-IN-tas). Anyway, a minor issue, but not overly distracting.
John McPhee seems to be able to write stories about anything and everything; in his hands, even a dry Nevada landscape in all it's dry detail can be dissected, revised, polished and turned into an entertaining, informative and thoroughly enjoyable yarn. Tackling subject matter with 4-billion years of depth, McPhee delivers with a powerful, endlessly engrossing tale that dazzles in its brilliance. Beyond good...bordering on great.
McPhee is an amazing writer. I love geology, but he makes it positively lush and compelling to listen to. I am so glad Audible added this to their collection. Thanks!!
My husband was born in Wyoming so the personal interest story was very interesting to me. The geological part was a bit dry but great information. I wish it had more of the personal interest story part.
I have a passion for all things science, music, and outdoors. I am also a "crazy dog lady."
Informative, real, inspiring.
The author combines the hard science with a little bit of a biography that is not distracting from the pertinent geo stuff.
No but I will now.
I would again, even though I've just finished listening to it twice through. I feel that this is McPhee's best work, synthesizing Wyoming's fascinating geologic complexities within the framework of a pioneering generational American family story. This is the author at his very best, and Nelson Runger's narration is also top-notch.
The central figure of course: the late David Love, eminent geologist.
Everything he narrates seems to be a flawless work of vocal art.
Not extreme, but yes- McPhee's wily sense of humor is always present. Thus laughter.
If you're heading for the Grand Tetons or the Wind River Range, or just to Jackson Hole, give this a listen before and during your visit.
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