OVERRIDE

Annals of the Former World

John McPhee

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion years

Twenty years ago, when John McPhee began his journeys back and forth across the United States, he planned to describe a cross section of North America at about the fortieth parallel and, in the process, come to an understanding not only of the science but of the style of the geologists he traveled with. The structure of the book never changed, but its breadth caused him to complete it in stages, under the overall title Annals of the Former World.

Like the terrain it covers, Annals of the Former World tells a multilayered tale, and the reader may choose one of many paths through it. As clearly and succinctly written as it is profoundly informed, this is our finest popular survey of geology and a masterpiece of modern nonfiction.
 
Annals of the Former World is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.

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Annals of the Former World
Book 1Basin and Range 
 
The poles of the earth have wandered. The equator has apparently moved. The continents, perched on their plates, are thought to have been carried so very far and to be going in so many directions that it seems an act of almost pure hubris to assert that some landmark of our world is fixed at 73 degrees 57 minutes and 53 seconds west longitude and 40 degrees 51 minutes and 14 seconds north latitude--a temporary description, at any rate, as if for a boat on the sea. Nevertheless, these coordinates will, for what is generally described
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REVIEWS

Praise for Annals of the Former World

"Tripling as a geology primer, an autobiography and a panorama of the nation, bejeweled with splendid vignettes and set-pieces, "Annals of the Former World" offers a view of America like no other. It is the outpouring of a master stylist. Yield to its geopoetry and have your eyes opened to a barely known aspect of the continent."
--Roy Porter, Los Angeles Times

"John McPhee has produced, over nearly a quarter of a century, a deep philology of the continent. Annals of the Former World is surely a classic. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was timeless."
--A.O. Scott, Village Voice

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • John McPhee

  • John McPhee is the author of twenty-five books (all published by FSG). He won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction in 1998 for this work. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
  • John McPhee Peter Cook
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Annals of the Former World

John McPhee

Pulitzer Prize Winner
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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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