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Basin and Range by John McPhee

Basin and Range (1981)

by John McPhee

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588916,752 (4.06)22



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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Actually I did read a fair bit of this, and scanned the rest. I live in the Great Basin and travel through it often. I wanted some coherent science. Random bits of poetry and metaphor intended for the *New Yorker* audience wasn't for me, I guess. Maybe it's a good book for what it is - but somehow I don't think so. However, I won't give it stars but rather encourage you decide for yourself.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
This was a Kindle book, so I couldn't rip it up like one person who intensely disliked the book. Author's academic stream of consciousness is not understood by the average reader (me). I should have been forewarned in this example from the publisher's review: "...lyrical evocation of the science of geology, with important digressions..." In that sentence, there are at least three words that require a dictionary and all sentences are like that. This book did not contribute much to my knowledge of geology. ( )
  buffalogr | Aug 23, 2014 |
Flabbergasting, the science of geology told artfully. I am gobsmacked by the geologic megapicture. There is a most surprising confession two thirds of the way through this book, an encounter I won't spoil but the most convincing account I've personally heard regarding things inexplicable. McPhee shares the moment with his pal, a professor at Princeton, and a hundred locals. Which is more unlikely, the Earth, the stars, or consciousness itself!? ( )
  pilastr | Jul 31, 2014 |
"What did you do when you were a kid?"
I sure as hell didn't read geology books... ( )
  amelish | Sep 12, 2013 |
Interesting if you are interested in geology of North America. ( )
  Fernhill | Aug 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
JOHN MCPHEE has written with dizzying competence about everything from oranges to the making of bark canoes to the proper method of weighing food. Not only is he an excellent journalist, he is a veritable master of expertise, and his latest book, ''Basin and Range,'' represents yet another such foray, this time into the geology of the American continent in the company of scientists who have spent their lives climbing, hammering and measuring everything mineral they could lay their hands on between New York and California.
added by aathiessen | editNew York Times, Paul Zweig (May 17, 1981)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374516901, Paperback)

One of the most valuable tools for the advancement of geological science has in fact been the humble road cut. United States Interstate 80 crosses the entire North American continent, in the process exposing hundreds of millions of years of geological history. In Basin and Range, McPhee, accompanied at times by Princeton geologist Kenneth S. Deffeyes, demonstrates how the contorted and tilted rocks seen in these road cuts reveal how islands of the earth's crust have floated across the earth's surface, crashing and folding to form basin and range. This is a masterful and sometimes even poetic volume of popular writing about plate tectonics, communicating the profound satisfaction of using scientific research as a tool for understanding the world around us.

This is the first of four books on North American geology by McPhee, collectively entitled Annals of the Former World. The other volumes are In Suspect Terrain, Rising from the Plains, and Assembling California.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:11 -0400)

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The first of John McPhee's works in his series on geology and geologists, Basin and Range is a book of journeys through ancient terrains, always in juxtaposition with travels in the modern world--a history of vanished landscapes, enhanced by the histories of people who bring them to light. The title refers to the physiographic province of the United States that reaches from eastern Utah to eastern California, a silent world of austere beauty, of hundreds of discrete high mountain ranges that are green with junipers and often white with snow. The terrain becomes the setting for a lyrical evocation of the science of geology, with important digressions into the plate-tectonics revolution and the history of the geologic time scale.… (more)

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