Synopses & Reviews
The cataclysmic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in May, 1980 marked the start of a decades-long struggle over resources, land-use, and economics that would leave the Pacific Northwest forever changed. Beginning at that pivotal moment and written with the critical eye of a seasoned earth scientist, Ground Truth is an extended eulogy to a rapidly changing land and population awakening to the realities of climate change, land-use, and pollution. Part natural history, part memoir-in-essays, Ground Truth is a moving portrait of the forces and landscapes that have shaped a region and the people who live there. In McConnell's complex, brutal, and beautiful Northwest, geology frequently comes to bear upon human lives, challenging notions of the region as a wild, untouched, and abundant landscape and forcing us to see ourselves as subject to these same processes.
The book illuminates the central role of landscapes in our ideas of home and self despite the growing disconnect between modern lifestyle and the environment. Written with a scientifically-driven female voice, McConnell's timely and significant work reveals how the landscapes we inhabit can also help us better understand ourselves and our relationship to the ground beneath our feet.
"Ground Truth is about the deep history of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, a history built on geography rooted in geology. And, like geology, it is full of gems..." Chet Orloff, Executive Director Emeritus, Oregon Historical Society
"McConnell renders her self-portrait against the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest’s dynamic geology and, in the process, tenders some of the hard questions we’d do well to ask ourselves." Ellen Waterston, author of Walking the High Desert: Encounters with Rural America Along the Oregon Desert Trail
"Clear-eyed, kind-hearted, and authoritative...by turns wry, gripping, and unflinchingly honest." Mary DeMocker, author of The Parent's Guide to Climate Revolution
About the Author
Ruby McConnell is a registered geologist and outdoor adventurer who writes about nature, art, and culture with a particular emphasis on the intersection of the environment and human experience. A recipient of numerous honors, including the Literary Arts Oregon Literary Fellowship, she has written extensively about the Pacific Northwest and the environment in scientific and literary journals. McConnell is the author of two previous titles, A Girl's Guide to the Wild and A Woman's Guide to the Wild. She lives in Oregon with her husband, Paul.