Photo of Nevada by Danny McL used under a Creative Commons license.

John McPhee, Basin and Range (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1982).
An accessible and well-written guide to Nevada’s geology. If you don’t want to read a book about geology, or if your experience of Nevada will be limited to Las Vegas, then this may not be for you. But in much of the state, little obstructs an appreciation of geological features, and McPhee explains the rock you see. The title comes from the structural characteristic of much of the state, the alternating mountain ranges and valleys (basins). McPhee starts in New Jersey, and digresses to cover plate tectonics and the geologic time scale. Note also that this book also is included with McPhee’s other writing about geology in Annals of the Former World.

Paul Zweig reviewed the book in The New York Times. Bill Cameron’s post on it is worth reading. John Regehr liked it too. Stephen Jay Gould reviewed in The New York Review of Books but it will cost you $3 to see what he said. Douglas McCollam reviewed Annals of the Former World in the Columbia Journalism Review. So did David Quammen, in The New York Times. Tommbert appreciates McPhee. NPR did this story on McPhee in 2006, and has a 1978 interview with him as well.

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