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Annals of the Former World Paperback – June 15, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 385 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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

“[McPhee] triumphs by succinct prose, by his uncanny ability to capture the essence of a complex issue, or an arcane trade secret, in a well-turned phrase.” ―Stephen Jay Gould, The New York Review of Books

“The finest non-technical overview of geology ever written . . . ” ―Milo Miles, The Boston Sunday Globe

“No other work explains so well -- and so vividly -- to the layman the living principles of geology. . . More than anyone else, McPhee has turned the world on to rocks.” ―Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun Times

“Sunlit, brilliant. . . this book of wonders . . . ranks with the Journals of Lewis and Clark.” ―John Skow, Time Magazine

“This major book incorporates some of the author's best work on geology into a comprehensive tour de force. Those familiar with McPhee's writing on the subject of geology will know that his narrative includes not only scientific theory but also portraitures of his geologic guides . . . McPhee's many fans won't be disappointed with the high-quality descriptive portraits of geologists, their work and theories. Since the writing follows McPhee's previous works and not any set geography or geologic logic, the author has provided what he calls a 'Narrative Table of Contents,' which not only describes each section in turn but the theories discussed in it. In this near flawless compilation of ambitious and expansive scope, McPhee's personalized style remains consistent and triumphant.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“No one else can take topics as diverse and seemingly dry and make of them such diverting, entertaining, and educational literature . . . This is the book on geology.” ―Library Journal (starred review)

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.

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Product details

  • Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (June 15, 2000)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 720 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0374518734
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0374518738
  • Item Weight : 1.94 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.19 x 1.85 x 9.17 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 385 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
385 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on December 6, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

david jarman
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock solid geology
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 11, 2018
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2 people found this helpful
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Dr. L. Bloomfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting overview of the geology of North America
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 8, 2019
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Craig Mollison
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 12, 2016
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Ron
5.0 out of 5 stars Geology as an exciting story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 6, 2013
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Audrey Driscoll
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Voyage With a Master Writer
Reviewed in Canada on December 19, 2019
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