With his Pulitzer Prize-winning Annals of the Former World, John McPhee explores not only the richly varied surface of the United States, but the geological wonders hidden deep beneath our feet. In this final book of the series, he embarks on a fascinating journey across the basement of the continent-the land masses forming Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and thereabouts-with a professor and geochronologist acting as a guide. Whether Randy Van Schmus is out in the field with his students, or grinding rock in the university lab, he insists the flat plains of middle America are anything but dull. He tells the story of eons of violent upheaval that is written in the features lying far below the shimmering wheat fields. As he shares how scientists are unlocking the secrets of the earth's timetable, millions of years seem but brief moments. John McPhee's enthusiasm and peerless writing style make the study of geology both accessible and entertaining. Nelson Runger's thought-provoking performance ensures you will view the earth with fresh insight.