The Pequod Review:
John McPhee is one of the great popularizers of science and geology, on par with Richard Feynman and Richard Dawkins in his ability to make the subject come alive. He writing is not only intelligent and informative, but is consistently lucid and readable. In Rising from the Plains, one of his best books, he details the geological history of Wyoming (a complex region with interlocking mountain ranges, latent volcanic activity, and extensive erosion, all impacted by the recent human activities of mining and dams). As before, he is accompanied by an intelligent guide — a local geologist who grew up in Wyoming and whose personal story adds a human dimension to the region’s history. This is narrative non-fiction at its very best.