Overcup Press

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

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 In Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life, geologist Ruby McConnell opens her memoir-in-essays, about the Pacific Northwest with the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in May of 1980. “I was born to a region digging out.” In poignant, wide-ranging essays about the wondrous annual return of salmon, to evaluating soil at an elementary school, Ground Truth is an extended eulogy to a rapidly changing land and a society awakening to the realities of logging, climate change, land-use, and pollution.

Poetic and urgent, these essays get to the heart of our environmental crisis through reflection and observation, skillfully weaving together McConnell’s scientific background and her connection with the people and places of the Pacific Northwest. The land – its contours and movements – is a central force through all of these essays. By turns lyrical, nuanced, and eye-opening, Ground Truth is a timely collection that speaks to the heart of our environmental crisis on a human scale and reveals how the landscapes we inhabit can help us better understand ourselves and our relationship to the ground beneath our feet.

The essays in Ground Truth focus on how the earth abides and endures through one cataclysmic event after another. This hopeful and inspiring collection applies geological thinking to modern living and shows us to think about time in ways that are both humbling and urgent. 

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.