In Suspect Terrain

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In Suspect Terrain

John McPhee

Publisher: Farrar Straus GirouxFormat: Paperback

From the outwash plains of Brooklyn to Indiana's drifted diamonds and gold “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.

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