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In Suspect Terrain

McPhee, John;McPhee, John A.

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ISBN 10: 0374176507 / ISBN 13: 9780374176501
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux, Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A., 1983
Used Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From CatchandReleaseBooks (Grottoes, VA, U.S.A.)

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First Edition/First Printing. Near Fine book. Price clipped jacket with one tear near spine top. Brodart protected, ships in a box. Bookseller Inventory # 003889

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Bibliographic Details

Title: In Suspect Terrain

Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux, Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1983

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

From the outwash plains of Brooklyn to Indiana's drifted diamonds and gold, John McPhee's In Suspect Terrain is a narrative of the earth, told in four sections of equal length, each in a different way reflecting the three others-- a biography; a set piece about a fragment of Appalachian landscape in illuminating counterpoint to the human history there; a modern collision of ideas about the origins of the mountain range; and, in contrast, a century-old collision of ideas about the existence of the Ice Age. The central figure is Anita Harris, an internationally celebrated geologist who went into her profession to get out of a Brooklyn ghetto. The unifying theme is plate tectonics-- here concentrating on the acceptance that all aspects of the theory do not universally enjoy. As such, In Suspect Terrain is a report from the rough spots at the front edge of a science.

In Suspect Terrain is the second book in a series on geology and geologists, presenting a cross section of North America along the fortieth parallel, and gathered under the overall title Annals of the Former World. The other books in the series are Basin and Range, Rising from the Plains, and Assembling California.

Review:

The Delaware Water Gap, where the Delaware River cuts through the Appalachian Mountains, is a bucolic and peaceful landscape perhaps best known as the setting of Edward Hicks's famous painting, The Peaceable Kingdom. However, the calm landscape conceals the tortuous geological history of this region and the equally complex debates concerning the geological past of the eastern United States.

In Basin and Range, McPhee traveled across the United States with a strong proponent of plate tectonics. In this volume, he travels over some of the same terrain with Anita G. Harris, a geologist who questions the ability of plate tectonics to completely explain the geology of this part of the world. As always, McPhee conveys the brilliant enthusiasms of those he profiles and the engaging complexity of the disciplines within which they work.

This is the second of four books on North American geology by McPhee, collectively entitled Annals of the Former World. The other volumes are Basin and Range, Rising from the Plains, and Assembling California.

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