Basin and Range : Annals of the Former World

  • by John McPhee
  • Narrated by Nelson Runger
  • Series: Annals of the Former World
  • 6 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

To geologists, rocks are beautiful, roadcuts are windowpanes, and the earth is alive, a work in progress. The cataclysmic movement that gives birth to mountains and oceans is ongoing and can still be seen at certain places on our planet. One of these is the Basin and Range region centered in Nevada and Utah. In this first book of a Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, the author crosses the spectacular Basin and Range with geology professor Kenneth Deffeyes in tow. McPhee draws on Deffeyes' expertise to dazzle you with the vast perspective of geologic time and the fascinating history of vanished landscapes. The effect is guaranteed to expand your mind.
McPhee's enthusiasm is infectious, as he provides one of the best introductions to plate tectonics and the New Geology. His elegant style is more pleasing than ever with narrator Nelson Runger's smooth, enthusiastic delivery. Runger mines the book's rich veins of poetic prose and subtle humor, and the result is pure gold.


What the Critics Say

"A fascinating book." (The New York Times Book Review)
"He 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." (New York Review of Books)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


McPhee is an amazing writer. I love geology, but he makes it positively lush and compelling to listen to. I am so glad Audible added this to their collection. Thanks!!
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- Julie

Top notch

McPhee does an excellent job of introducing geology. However, despite his excellent prose, pictures and maps would add to the experience.

Worst thing is Nelson Runger's narration--while his avuncular style is well suited to McPhee's prose, the microphone picks up all of his lip-smacking noises. Once I became attuned to this, I couldn't get it out of my mind--he sounded like a dog eating peanut butter. Please, filter this out on your next book.
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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-03-2004
  • Publisher: Recorded Books