Karl's Reviews > Annals of the Former World

Annals of the Former World by John McPhee
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it was amazing

A tour de force. Ostensibly a popular study of the geology of the United States along I-80, it's really the author's goal to teach all of us why geologists fall in love with geology. I'd always thought geology was "just rocks" until I read this. But McPhee takes you into the lives of his geologist guides, teaches you about the big breakthroughs in the science, and takes you through some geological events, some slow (like orogeny, one of my new favorite words) and some fast (the Loma Prieta earthquake). You learn a lot, but there are poetical passages in which he just lets the luscious, metaphorical terminology of the science wash over you; don't try to understand every paragraph word-for-word.

This is broken into five sections, four of which were previously published separately. One can read a section on its own, take a break, and then come back to this huge tome.
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Reading Progress

August 14, 2011 – Shelved
November 2, 2012 – Started Reading
March 14, 2013 – Finished Reading

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