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Annals of the Former World Audio Cassette – Abridged, 9 Nov 1999

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Penton Overseas Inc; abridged edition edition (9 Nov. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879557576
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879557574
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 3.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,998,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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)


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)"" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Awards and more acclaim for ANNALS OF THE FORMER WORLD:
* WINNER of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize in General Non-Fiction

"A work of such scope and seeming inevitability that it feels as predetermined as a mountain range." --David Ulin, Chicago Tribune

"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Anyone who enjoys well written non fiction will enjoy McPhee's latest, regardless of their interest in geology. He has the amazing ability to make any subject interesting, by explaining the science in a plain style while constantly keeping the personalities involved visible. From civil engineering to lighter-than-air flight to the cultivation of oranges, every essay and every book is a joy. If you are a fan of good writing, this one is for you. BUT, if you are a McPhee fan, you might be annoyed by this one. I have over two dozen of Mr. McPhee's books on my shelves at home. Four of them are this book. "Annals of the Former World" is a omnibus edition of "Assembling California", "Rising from the Plains", "In Suspect Terrain", and "Basin and Range". The only new material is a short (36 pages), well written essay "Crossing the Craton" and a poor-to-fair narrative table of contents. That's it, maybe 45 page! s of new material in a a 695 page book. I do feel that somewhere in the publicity for the book mention should have been made of this. If you've never read any of it, get it. If you are buying for a library, get it. If you are considering getting "Annals of the Former World" because you are a fan of the best non fiction writer around today, well, you might want to forget it.
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Format: Hardcover
McPhee's masteful writing make the difficult subjects of geology and geological time seem like old friends. I find myself looking at the rocks and layers in roadcuts in an entirely new way and wondering how McPhee would describe the images that I am seeing. He also makes geologists, both living and historic, people who I wanted to know more about. The subject coverage is exhausting. And reading the book is exhausting as well. This is not a book for a quick cross country flight. Rather it is one to be reread.
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Format: Hardcover
If you have any interest in geology, western history or people you will love this book. I wasn't all that enthused by the descriptions, but once started I couldn't put it down. It is great and deserved the Pulitzer Prize that it won.
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Format: Hardcover
John McPhee has re-written the book on non-fiction, turning science and history into one gripping drama after another in writing that brings to mind the finest Sunday newspaper features. No matter the subject, he's set the standard by which others should be measured; the Pulitzer committee couldn't have chosen better. It's especially proper that this book be so honored, as it represents a body of work spanning many years and concerning what I suspect is McPhee's very favorite subject matter; geology and natural history. Call it his "life achievement award" but don't tell him that (we need him to keep writing for ages to come). John, I've got a shelf set aside just for your books in my library but it's half empty all the time - I can't stop lending them out.
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By A Customer on 28 Feb. 1999
Format: Hardcover
McPhee is a writer I've visited from time to time over the past 20 years. I succumbed to this latest, a rebinding of several earlier books with new information on Archaen geology, because of McPhee's sheer exuberance at the natural world. The writing is pure McPhee, with all the quirks and foibles that he brings to writing. Some of his metaphors are wonderful; others seem too strained. He leaps like a brook, jumping from a comment about rock (naturally) to one about Mormons or birds or triple-long tractor trailors. At times, it's irritating. The biggest criticism is goes to the maps, what there is of them... they're poorly printed, in black and white and (mostly) gray. They're barely legible and far too few. This books calls for an abundance of maps and illustration as McPhee discusses very complicated issues of geology, tectonics and continental movement. Still, the book is enjoyable. All he needs to do, besides republishing it with another 50-or-so maps, is to print it in a format that you can handle while driving across I-80!
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Format: Hardcover
John McPhee's books fascinate me. He delves into obscure subjects like they are hot fudge sundaes, scooping out the best experts, and allowing their words to reveal their inner selves by talking about those things they love the most. Since I travel with a copy of "Roadside Kansas" in my car at all times, reading about the rocks in other parts of the continent was pleasurable. The reason I read McPhee isn't to find out more about Oranges, or Merchant Marines, or Geology, though. Its to understand that unique person who has been blessed with the elusive opportunity to earn their living doing the thing they love the most. McPhee's books let me see their world better than any other writer.
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Format: Hardcover
I am halfway through reading this for the second time. I feel that this is the most interesting non-fiction book I have ever read. (The Bible is the best book.) McPhee manages to convey the fascinating lives of individual geologists with the wonder of geology. When you finish reading it you want to be a geologist. My only criticism is that there should be an annotated and illustrated volume to better understand some of the technical parts. This book deserved the Pulitzer prize.
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