This book is about Wyoming, a state of geothermal mystery and the only place in the world where every geological age is represented. With poetry and precision, McPhee distills complex science for a literary audience. Over the course of the book, plate tectonics are likened to the formation and reformation of the complexes in the psyche, and Wyoming is presented as a most complicated individual, if an arbitrarily defined state can be described as an 'individual' (but what is an individual if not an arbitrarily defined state?). The foreshadowing of fracking is particularly wrenching. There's history and politics and a love story, too. In them we understand how the "lonesome cowboy" is shaped by the mountains around him, and how a writer and perhaps we ourselves could be likewise entranced by nothing, really, other than just land.— Nora
Rising from the Plains is John McPhee's third book on geology and geologists. Following Basin and Range and In Suspect Terrain, it continues to present a cross section of North America along the fortieth parallel—a series gathering under the overall title Annals of the Former World.
“Mr. McPhee has created a style--blending detailed reporting with a novelistic sense of narrative--and a standard that have influenced a whole generation of journalists.” —Timothy Bay, The Baltimore Sun
“McPhee rides shotgun across Wyoming in a four-wheel-drive Bronco while the geologist David Love steers, lectures, and reminisces....This instructive account of the geologic West and the frontier West is a delight.” —Evan S. Connell, The New York Times Book Review