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

A Classic, finally all FIVE parts now available

What made the experience of listening to Basin and Range the most enjoyable?

The wealth of Geological information interwoven with the stories of the Geologists whoexplain, through McPhee, the complex but fascinating Geological history of America from coast to coast. But be aware that "Assembling California" is not listed with the other 4 books of the canon. Be sure to get all five. The Sequence I would suggest would In my opinion logically follow the trek across the country really from coast to coast ie books1 through 5 in order. Some have suggested a different sequence, but all stand alone very well. This series of 5 Audio books should be in every library of those who admire and enjoy superb non-fiction writing or Geology.These are suberbly performed by Nelson Runger.If, like me, much of your listening is done while driving, this audio book series willtransport you to "The Former World" as you travel.Ronald E. Bowers, MDFL

What other book might you compare Basin and Range to and why?

the other 4 books of "Annals of the Former World"

What about Nelson Runger’s performance did you like?

Tone and delivery matched the style of the book(s). Not pedantic.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes, and re-listen!

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- Ronald E. Bowers

Book Details

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