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Great Caves of the World Hardcover – October 10, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The onset of cooler weather causes many of us to retreat to our respective lairs and away spring. So put yourself in the proper frame of mind: Pick up a copy of Great Caves of the World -- a visual tour of the globe's most magnificent caves. (The Reader's Digest (Montreal) 2008-10-31)

Our world is pockmarked with remarkable caves, and the author explores these secretive landscapes.... The photographs are stunning. (Jodi DeLong Chronicle Herald 2008-12-07)

Cavers are sure to feel restless when studying the book, but anyone will be impressed by it. (Johanna Bailey and Gloria Hildebrandt Escarpment Views)

Geologist Tony Waltham delivers an excellent introduction. It's not a spelunking now-to, although the contents could tempt some readers to learn. Rather, it's a way to explore a world that is incredibly diverse with Waltham's down-to-earth explanations. (Sharon Wootton The Olympian 2009-01-03)

As every caver knows, there are caves and there are caves. And then--there are CAVES! It is the latter group that Waltham has concentrated on in his celebration of some of the most remarkable places on Earth... Great Caves of the World provides interesting reading on some of the world's most astonishing subsurface natural wonders. The book is sure to be of interest to cavers, non-caving outdoor enthusiasts, and just about anyone fascinated by wilderness adventure and the myriad wonders of the natural world. Serious underground adventurers interested in adding an international flavor to their search for new caves to explore will find this book to be an indispensable addition to their caving library. (Danny A. Brass National Spelunking Society)

Geologist and caver Tony Waltham does a favor for all of us so wedded to the wide-open spaces that we'll never explore the world's caverns. His Great Caves of the World gives us a look at that underworld that we're unlikely to visit. Photos of 28 extraordinary cave systems, some massive, some frighteningly claustrophobic, are included. They're breathtaking with the photographer's lighting. We can only imagine the impenetrable darkness without those beams. (Mary Ellen Botter Dallas Morning News 2008-11-30)

Caves always strike me as a little creepy, the result, perhaps, of one too many horror movies.... But Tony Waltham's Great Caves of the World bring them into the light, so to speak. (Catharine Hamm Los Angeles Times 2008-12-17)

Experienced wilderness travelers all have favorite spots to visit and Tony Waltham is clearly no exception. (Danny A. Brass PRS)

The photographs are incredible. (The Guelph Mercury 2009-02-28)

About the Author

Tony Waltham is an engineering geologist, karst (limestone cave) specialist and author. He has led caving tours of the United States, Italy, Iceland, Jordan, Syria, Alaska and Russia.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books (October 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554074134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554074136
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 10.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,356,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David W. Straight on October 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There are 28 caves in this 112-page book: each has some striking color photographs plus narrative text. Some of the photos are of formations that can be found in many caves, but most will help convey an idea of why a particular cave is included in the book. Every caver will have his/her opinions on why cave X should have been included in preference to cave Y, but the selection of caves from around the world is good. Of particular interest are photos of some immense cave passages, dramatic freefall pits, and the like.

What I and other cavers might miss here are maps--maps showing rough locations, and cave maps (plan or profile). We like to look at such maps to tweak our imagination. Fortunately, however, there are other sources--the Internet, the NSS News, and the superb Atlas of the Great Caves of the World (loaded with maps, but printed 20 years ago). So this is a book that will delight non-cavers and cavers especially--who will appreciate some of the fine caves that not many of them will be able to visit.
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The author has selected twenty-eight caves from around the world and, following three pages of introduction to caves in general, devotes one or more pages to each, with at least one large color photograph. Many of the caves are big: Mammoth Cave as the longest cave, Carlsbad Cavern as the largest tourist cave, San Actun as the longest underwater cave, Kazumura Cave as the longest lava tube, caves of Mulu as the largest cave passages, Krubera as the deepest. But some are small caves notable for other reasons: Sterkfontein Cave for paleontology, Grotte Chauvet for paleolithic art, Villa Luz and and the Waitomo Caves for biology. Caves notable for scenery include Lechuguilla, ice caves of Austria, and Skocjanske Jame.

A few of the photos aren't sharp enough to warrant the size they are printed, and some could have used more skillful preparation for printing. The text appears to have been written for children, because the reader is annoyed by constant repetition of dimensions in both metric and English systems, as well as references back to the introduction whenever terms are used that are even slightly technical. Nevertheless it is informative and explains clearly why each cave qualified as one of the author's choices. If you are interested in caves but don't know where all the caves I mentioned are, you should read this color picture book.--Bill Mixon
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The author takes us for a journey around the world, presenting several wonderful caves.
Although some more technical caves are missing (some of them really amazing), the books provide a great glimpse about Speleology, allowing the neophyte start thinking about a career (maybe a hobby) on this kind of adventure.
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