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FINALIST for the Oregon Book Award "The Pacific Northwest that you see today is the result of forty years of radical changes in the culture and economics of what was once a resource-extraction and agriculture-driven region.. They are changes so fundamental in nature and scope...that, for those of us from this place, will always be marked by the cataclysmic eruptions of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980." --Ruby McConnell In this collection of 17 essays, geologist Ruby McConnell opens her part natural history, part memoir-in-essays about the Pacific Northwest with the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in May of 1980. She was two years old. "Everything that I have stood direct witness to since, everything I know about this place, happened after we watched the mountain crumble... I was born to a region digging out." In poignant and wide-ranging essays that include the wondrous annual return of salmon, "the lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest people," to working at an elementary school evaluating soil and wondering how many kids have cancer, Ground Truth is an extended eulogy to a rapidly changing land, population and society awakening to the realities of logging, climate change, land-use and pollution. 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.