Rising from the Plains (Annals of the Former World #3) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

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.

About the Author

John McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and was educated at Princeton University and Cambridge University. His writing career began at Time magazine and led to his long association with The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. Also in 1965, he published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and in the years since, he has written over 30 books, including Oranges (1967), Coming into the Country (1977), The Control of Nature (1989), The Founding Fish (2002), Uncommon Carriers (2007), and Silk Parachute (2011). Encounters with the Archdruid (1972) and The Curve of Binding Energy (1974) were nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science. McPhee received the Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977. In 1999, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Praise For…

“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

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374520656
ISBN-10: 0374520658
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: November 1st, 1987
Pages: 208
Language: English
Series: Annals of the Former World