James's Reviews > Basin and Range

Basin and Range by John McPhee
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Mar 09, 09

Read in March, 2009

Seeing as how this book was part of Annals, his Pulitzer book and the only reason people know who McPhee is, expectations were high, and maybe too high.

It was ok, and it definately wasn't great -even without expectations.

McPhee doesn't use illustrations or pictures and doesn't skirt jargon (though many books have a chapter or a section about the jargon). In many books this isn't an issue, but when it comes to geology many of the passages are fairly incomprehensible.

Ironically, this book for me has many of the same issues as Suiss; I'm not familiar enough with Swiss geography and not fluent in French: nor Jersey or Nevada geography, nor fluency in Geology.

As with most of his books, when he gets in to talking to the individuals, the professionals or the laymen, and is closer to documenting them, and adding his own commentary - then the book shines. And the last 1/3 or so was definately good, and possibly great.

Unfortunately, for a 200 page book, the first 130 pages shouldn't be such a drag.
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