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Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life - Ruby McConnell

Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life - Ruby McConnell

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Ground Truth is a book written by Ruby McConnell, a geologist, adventurer, and writer. The book explores the deep history of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, delving into the relationship between geography and geology. It combines elements of geological history, memoir, and an ode to the Pacific Northwest, while also incorporating an ecofeminist call to action.

The book takes place against the backdrop of the devastating eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, using this event to examine notions of self and our connections to the natural world. McConnell presents her self-portrait within the context of the dynamic geology of the Pacific Northwest, raising important questions for readers to ponder. Reviewers have praised McConnell's captivating writing style and her ability to interweave personal experiences with geological events. They describe the book as clear-eyed, kind-hearted, and authoritative, with a mix of wryness, gripping storytelling, and unflinching honesty. The author's ability to link geological events and time scales to her own life story is appreciated, and it is noted that the broader messages about human life in the book extend beyond geographical boundaries.

The excerpt from the book emphasizes the importance of storytelling and imagination in both life and geology. It highlights how the study of geology requires envisioning forces that surpass human capabilities and understanding time scales that exceed our lifespans. Geology often deals with non-surficial aspects, hidden beneath the surface and obscured by surface materials and human development. McConnell suggests that geologists must take what is seen on the surface and construct a story from it. She also discusses the significance of field work and experience in filling the gaps in understanding created by the obfuscation of surface materials.

Overall, Ground Truth offers a unique perspective on geology, the Pacific Northwest, and the intertwining of personal and environmental narratives.

212 pages | ISBN-13  978-1732610323 

What people are saying about this book

“Captivatingly written...McConnell examines notions of self and our relationships to the natural world in this significant new book.” - Ms. Magazine

   "Wry, gripping, and unflinchingly honest."  - Mary DeMocker, 2019 Oregon Book Award Finalist and author of The Parents' Guide to Climate Revolution 

 "Timely and significant, and daring—a radical exploration and understanding “that environmentalism cannot be about restoration, that the window for reversal has closed, that now, it is a matter of survival.” - Oregon Literary Arts

"a moving collection that will be satisfying to readers who enjoy both science and memoirs. "  --Buzzfeed Books 

About the Author

Ruby McConnell is a registered geologist, adventuress, activist, and proud explorer in the wildlands of the Pacific Northwest. Ruby’s research and writing about nature, art, and culture has been published in Oregon Quarterly, Grain Literary Journal, Oregon Humanities Magazine, Mother Earth News, Mind Body Green, Huffington Post, Burnt Pine Magazine, and more. In 2016, she was awarded an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship and in 2019, she won a writing residency from the Spring Creek Project, part of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Reflections Project. Ruby is the author of three previous books, including, A Woman’s Guide to the Wild - the critically acclaimed outdoor guide for anyone who identifies as, or loves, women (or just wants to learn how to read a map). Ruby lives with her husband Paul in Eugene, Oregon.

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