Pieces of the Geologic Frame, Assembled

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Science  30 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5390, pp. 885
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5390.885

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Annals of the Former World. John McPhee. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 1998. 704 pp. $35, C$51. ISBN 0-374-10520-0.

McPhee assembles a geologic cross section of North America at about the 40th parallel by combining slightly revised and edited versions of four earlier books with a thematic overview and a new section that explores the midcontinent's buried Precambrian basement. Through a melange of journeys, set pieces, biographical sketches, and histories of humans and rocks, the resulting many-layered tale provides a primer on geology, plate tectonics, and geologic time.