95 books like Rising from the Plains

By John McPhee,

Here are 95 books that Rising from the Plains fans have personally recommended if you like Rising from the Plains. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Medical Detectives: The Classic Collection of Award-Winning Medical Investigative Reporting

Edith Forbes Author Of Tracking a Shadow: My Lived Experiment with MS

From my list on curious people on the hunt for new knowledge.

Who am I?

As a novelist, I am endlessly curious about people and like hearing their stories. As an erstwhile computer programmer and farmer, I also have a lifelong interest in science and natural history. When I find those two divergent interests have cross-pollinated in a single gracefully-written book, I am a very happy reader. I love books that weave together an intriguing scientific question with the human story of the scientists pursuing an answer to that question.

Edith's book list on curious people on the hunt for new knowledge

Edith Forbes Why did Edith love this book?

Ever since my seventh-grade science teacher used my flyaway hair to demonstrate static electricity, I have loved science, and I also like mystery stories. This classic collection of short pieces is a favorite in both arenas. It is like a true crime series in which the villains are microorganisms and molecules. Unraveling puzzles involving all manner of medical issues, from rabies to toxic chemicals, these case-study stories kept me riveted from beginning to end. Mostly written from the 1940s to the 1960s, they also touch on some shocking medical practices that one hopes are now outdated.

By Berton Roueché,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Medical Detectives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic collection of award-winning medical investigative reporting.

What do Lyme's disease in Long Island, a pig from New Jersey, and am amateur pianist have in common? All are subjects in three of 24 utterly fascinating tales of strange illnesses, rare diseases, poisons, and parasites-each tale a thriller of medical suspense by the incomparable Berton Roueche. The best of his New Yorker articles are collected here to astound readers with intriguing tales of epidemics in America's small towns, threats of contagion in our biggest cities, even bubonic plague in a peaceful urban park.

In each true story, local health authorities…


Book cover of Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains

Sam L. Pfiester Author Of Solomon's Temple: Musjid-i-Suleiman

From my list on earth history.

Who am I?

For most of my career as an oil explorationist I have worked with geologists, an exceptional group of men and women who, from observing earth’s surface as it is configured today, can decipher earth’s history. By understanding how rocks were originally formed and how in subsequent millennia rocks have been buried, transported warped, eroded, re-deposited, and altered by high pressures, high temperatures, hot water, and all the tectonic forces of nature that have formed the surface as we see it today, they believe, really believe, that they can visualize the subsurface.  It’s a fascinating four-dimensional detective story. 

Sam's book list on earth history

Sam L. Pfiester Why did Sam love this book?

Meldahl’s book describes more than 100 million years of North America’s history. For laymen, it is the best geologic field guide to understanding the tectonic forces and subsequent erosion which formed the western United States. The photos, maps, and illustrations depict how the rivers, mountains, and plains are where they are and why. Anyone who drives from California to the Great Plains, or in reverse, should carry this book in your car. Even though millions of people love history, few understand earth’s history, which stares in the face of all of us and, for those who are curious, reveals “the hidden poetry of our mutable earth” (Richard Fortey).

By Keith Heyer Meldahl,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rough-Hewn Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Unfold a map of North America," Keith Heyer Meldahl writes, "and the first thing to grab your eye is the bold shift between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains." In this absorbing book, Meldahl takes readers on a 1000-mile-long field trip back through more than 100 million years of deep time to explore America's most spectacular and scientifically intriguing landscapes. He places us on the outcrops, rock hammer in hand, to examine the evidence for how these rough-hewn lands came to be. We see California and its gold assembled from pieces of old ocean floor and the relentless movements…


Book cover of A Short History of Nearly Everything

James G.S. Clawson Author Of A Song of Humanity: A Science-Based Alternative to the World's Scriptures

From my list on science vs. religion.

Who am I?

My core curiosity has been trying to understand the way the world is. Like all defenseless children, early on I trusted parents and elder others for that – for nearly half a century before I had the courage to question their comprehensive dogmas. I’ve been fortunate to have a wonderful education and to have traveled most of the globe, both of which assailed my assumptions. After a mid-life crisis/near-death experience, I decided to start over in understanding the world we live in. Before I died, I wanted to leave a science-based alternative to the world’s scriptures that open-minded parents could read to their children. My motto now is “In Truth We Trust.”  

James' book list on science vs. religion

James G.S. Clawson Why did James love this book?

This is a very good attempt to help inform people of where we came from and how we got here. I love the broad perspective and easy flow of the story. Bryson attacks the big questions and stimulates our thinking. This is a great starting point for exploring the issues in the tensions between science and religion. 

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Short History of Nearly Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the biggest-selling popular science book of the 21st century and has sold over 2 million copies.

'Possibly the best scientific primer ever published.' Economist
'Truly impressive...It's hard to imagine a better rough guide to science.' Guardian
'A travelogue of science, with a witty, engaging, and well-informed guide' The Times

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely at home he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to…


Book cover of The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

Ron S. Kenett Author Of The Real Work of Data Science: Turning Data into Information, Better Decisions, and Stronger Organizations

From my list on how numbers turn into information.

Who am I?

I was trained as a mathematician but have always been motivated by problem-solving challenges. Statistics and analytics combine mathematical models with statistical thinking. My career has always focused on this combination and, as a statistician, you can apply it in a wide range of domains. The advent of big data and machine learning algorithms has opened up new opportunities for applied statisticians. This perspective complements computer science views on how to address data science. The Real Work of Data Science, covers 18 areas (18 chapters) that need to be pushed forward in order to turning data into information, better decisions, and stronger organizations

Ron's book list on how numbers turn into information

Ron S. Kenett Why did Ron love this book?

In addressing decision makers, an understanding of forces affecting human behavior is essential. The author provides a comprehensive view on the work of Kahneman and Tversky mapping their journey which lead to their highly impactful behavioral economic body of knowledge. The bias they address provides data scientists a widened perspective on their role and how to address organizational challenges. This provides a language to recognise and address bias inherent in human thinking. The book provides a very powerful set of tools for data scientists who want to see behind the numbers and understand forces affecting human behavior.

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Undoing Project as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Michael Lewis could spin gold out of any topic he chose ... his best work ... vivid, original and hard to forget' Tim Harford, Financial Times

'Gripping ... There is war, heroism, genius, love, loss, discovery, enduring loyalty and friendship. It is epic stuff ... Michael Lewis is one of the best non-fiction writers of our time' Irish Times

From Michael Lewis, No.1 bestselling author of The Big Short and Flash Boys, this is the extraordinary story of the two men whose ideas changed the world.

Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky met in war-torn 1960s Israel. Both were gifted young…


Book cover of Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

Telmo Pievani Author Of Imperfection: A Natural History

From my list on the fact that evolution didn't predict us.

Who am I?

Telmo Pievani is Full Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Padua, where he covers the first Italian chair of Philosophy of Biological Sciences. A leading science communicator and columnist for Il corriere della sera, he is the author of The Unexpected Life, Creation without God, Serendipity, and other books.

Telmo's book list on the fact that evolution didn't predict us

Telmo Pievani Why did Telmo love this book?

I loved this book because I think it is a masterpiece on the contingency of evolution and our presence.

Rewind the tape of life and times and you will get different endings: that’s a great message of freedom for me. The epic of diversity that led to the explosion of multicellular life forms in the early Cambrian concerns us too. Unmissable.

By Stephen Jay Gould,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Wonderful Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

High in the Canadian Rockies is a small limestone quarry formed 530 million years ago called the Burgess Shale. It hold the remains of an ancient sea where dozens of strange creatures lived-a forgotten corner of evolution preserved in awesome detail. In this book Stephen Jay Gould explores what the Burgess Shale tells us about evolution and the nature of history.


Book cover of Darwin's Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution

Edith Forbes Author Of Tracking a Shadow: My Lived Experiment with MS

From my list on curious people on the hunt for new knowledge.

Who am I?

As a novelist, I am endlessly curious about people and like hearing their stories. As an erstwhile computer programmer and farmer, I also have a lifelong interest in science and natural history. When I find those two divergent interests have cross-pollinated in a single gracefully-written book, I am a very happy reader. I love books that weave together an intriguing scientific question with the human story of the scientists pursuing an answer to that question.

Edith's book list on curious people on the hunt for new knowledge

Edith Forbes Why did Edith love this book?

Almost everyone knows the name of Charles Darwin, but how many of us know about Thomas Huxley? The reality is that Darwin’s brilliant leap of insight was only one step in bringing the theory of evolution into common knowledge. People don’t readily embrace a new idea that turns their entire worldview on its head, and Darwin alone could not have overcome the inertia and outright hostility that greeted his new theory. Darwin’s Armada is a delightful account of a larger cast of characters whose scientific efforts, exploratory voyages, and intriguing personalities were part of the story of this revolution in human thought.

By Iain McCalman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Darwin's Armada as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning cultural historian Iain McCalman tells the stories of Charles Darwin and his staunchest supporters: Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace. Beginning with the somber morning of April 26, 1882-the day of Darwin's funeral-Darwin's Armada steps back and recounts the lives and scientific discoveries of each of these explorers, who campaigned passionately in the war of ideas over evolution and advanced the scope of Darwin's work.


Book cover of Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World

Edith Forbes Author Of Tracking a Shadow: My Lived Experiment with MS

From my list on curious people on the hunt for new knowledge.

Who am I?

As a novelist, I am endlessly curious about people and like hearing their stories. As an erstwhile computer programmer and farmer, I also have a lifelong interest in science and natural history. When I find those two divergent interests have cross-pollinated in a single gracefully-written book, I am a very happy reader. I love books that weave together an intriguing scientific question with the human story of the scientists pursuing an answer to that question.

Edith's book list on curious people on the hunt for new knowledge

Edith Forbes Why did Edith love this book?

I am a recreational clarinetist and a friend gave me this book, thinking I would like to know how music is rewiring my brain and possibly helping stave off senility. Nina Kraus has pursued a career in the study of hearing, and her passion for her subject infuses the book. She is entranced by the two-way feedback connection between the brain and the ear, and how the sounds we have already heard and processed shape our interpretation of the next sound waves to reach our ears, sometimes in surprising ways. Her description of the miraculously intricate mechanisms inside the ear makes me grateful for every time I wore ear protection when I was using a power tool or driving a tractor.

By Nina Kraus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Of Sound Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How sound leaves a fundamental imprint on who we are.

Making sense of sound is one of the hardest jobs we ask our brains to do. In Of Sound Mind, Nina Kraus examines the partnership of sound and brain, showing for the first time that the processing of sound drives many of the brain's core functions. Our hearing is always on--we can't close our ears the way we close our eyes--and yet we can ignore sounds that are unimportant. We don't just hear; we engage with sounds. Kraus explores what goes on in our brains when we hear a word--or…


Book cover of The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology

Sam L. Pfiester Author Of Solomon's Temple: Musjid-i-Suleiman

From my list on earth history.

Who am I?

For most of my career as an oil explorationist I have worked with geologists, an exceptional group of men and women who, from observing earth’s surface as it is configured today, can decipher earth’s history. By understanding how rocks were originally formed and how in subsequent millennia rocks have been buried, transported warped, eroded, re-deposited, and altered by high pressures, high temperatures, hot water, and all the tectonic forces of nature that have formed the surface as we see it today, they believe, really believe, that they can visualize the subsurface.  It’s a fascinating four-dimensional detective story. 

Sam's book list on earth history

Sam L. Pfiester Why did Sam love this book?

Winchester’s book is a biography of William Smith, the orphaned son of a village blacksmith. It is the story of one man’s passion, triumph, and tragedy. In his youth Smith was engaged in digging canals in England. Through careful observation of the fossils, he was the first to document the sequential layers of earth’s history. His geologic map, completed in 1815, heralded the beginning of a new science, the science of geology. 

By Simon Winchester,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Map That Changed the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF THE FATHER OF MODERN GEOLOGY

Hidden behind velvet curtains above a stairway in a house in London's Piccadilly is an enormous and beautiful hand-coloured map - the first geological map of anywhere in the world. Its maker was a farmer's son named William Smith. Born in 1769 his life was troubled: he was imprisoned for debt, turned out of his home, his work was plagiarised, his wife went insane and the scientific establishment shunned him.

It was not until 1829, when a Yorkshire aristocrat recognised his genius, that he was returned to London in triumph: The…


Book cover of Annals of the Former World

Keith Heyer Meldahl Author Of Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains

From my list on geology that tell great stories.

Who am I?

When I first crossed the American West nearly 4 decades ago in my ’67 Chevy, it changed my life. I had never imagined mountains built of contorted rock shoved miles into the sky, faults slashing like fresh scars across the landscape, and starkly beautiful deserts where people seemed an afterthought. After many happy years of researching and exploring the West with my geology students, I knew I wanted to tell the story to a larger audience. The result has been three books: Hard Road West, Rough-Hewn Land, and Surf, Sand, and Stone. 

Keith's book list on geology that tell great stories

Keith Heyer Meldahl Why did Keith love this book?

Every geology book collection should include this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic. McPhee travels with four different U.S. geologists, visiting their outcrops and laboratories while tracing the evolution of geologic thought and discoveries. McPhee has the eye of a scientist, the soul of a poet, and the pen (keyboard?) of a master author. The result is fluid and beautiful writing about science and those who practice it. 

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Annals of the Former World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion years

Twenty years ago, when John McPhee began his journeys back and forth across the United States, he planned to describe a cross section of North America at about the fortieth parallel and, in the process, come to an understanding not only of the science but of the style of the geologists he traveled with. The structure of the book never changed, but its breadth caused him to complete it in stages, under the overall title Annals of the Former World.

Like the terrain…


Book cover of Measures for Measure: Geology and the Industrial Revolution

Jude Tresswell Author Of The Refuge Bid

From my list on featuring the lives of coal miners.

Who am I?

I write fictional, contemporary gay mysteries, but I prefer to read facts and I enjoy the research that accompanies my storytelling. Industrial history and geology fascinate me, so it isn’t any wonder that I set my tales in the Durham hills of northeast England. As some of my videos in the link show, there are many abandoned quarries, lead and coal mines in the area. I can become emotional when I think about the socio-political history of mining and quarrying. My latest tale reflects my interest in quarrying and my five recommendations reflect a passion that has its roots in the UK’s once thriving, now defunct, coal industry.

Jude's book list on featuring the lives of coal miners

Jude Tresswell Why did Jude love this book?

My sole non-fiction choice. I love the scope of this book: the early engineers and industrialists who were involved, the palaeogeological conditions that made coal deposits possible, the legacy of burning carbon, and, chapter by chapter, a description of most of the coalfields of Britain and the landscapes that resulted. Add poems and songs and paintings and you have a wonderful book. My sole gripe: the illustrations are too tiny. The breadth of content deserves something better.

By Mike Leeder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Measures for Measure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Measures for Measure features once greatly-disturbed landscapes - now largely reclaimed, physically at least, by post-industrial activity. Yet the surviving machines, buildings and housing of the original Industrial Revolution, founded mostly upon Coal Measures strata, still loom large over many parts of Britain. They do so nowadays in the family-friendly and informative context of industrial museums, reconstructed industrial settlements, preserved landscapes and historic townscapes. Our society and its creative core of literature, visual arts and architecture were profoundly affected by the whole process. The British Carboniferous legacy for wider humankind was profound and permanent, more so with the realisation over…


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