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Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet (SPIEGEL & GRAU) Hardcover – January 29, 2019
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“Dynamic and engaging . . . [Hunt’s] clear excitement about this information is contagious. . . . Underground is a thoughtful, inquisitive book. Hunt approaches the subject with an unusual dedication and open-mindedness that is difficult to resist. . . . These traits, alongside the striking photography that appears throughout the book, makes Hunt's debut an admirable and successful one.”—NPR
“As Hunt’s journey progresses, you get the sense these forays are about more than just an adrenaline rush. What Hunt is really chasing, through the muck and darkness and stench and clammy cold, is a story of shared humanity.”—Vice
“It’s Hunt’s deeply personal connection to [the underground] that enlivens this endlessly fascinating book.”—The Toronto Star
“Caves, catacombs, and tunnels come alive in this unusual guide to the surprising marvels and mysteries below us. . . . Hunt, who was first drawn underground as a curious child, finds plenty to appreciate, including ancient and modern artworks, signs of life’s beginnings on earth, and a sense of the transcendent.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“An unusual and intriguing travel book . . . Without belaboring the point, Hunt alludes to conjecture that all of life might have started underground, that it retains a revelatory diversity, and that the level below the Earth could be a womb as well as a tomb. Ultimately, he compellingly examines ‘how much of our existence remains in mystery, how much of reality continues to elude us, and how much deeper our world runs beyond what we know.’ A vivid illumination of the dark and an effective evocation of its profound mystery.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A fascinating journey that transcends culture and time, linking modern and ancient practices to create a colorful mosaic. . . . [Hunt’s] excitement at traveling beneath the earth is infectious . . . a lively, informative read that nicely balances adventure with anthropology and science.”—Shelf Awareness
“A thoughtful and often romantic examination of humanity’s relationship to underground spaces. . . . This is no travel guide, but a historical and philosophical examination the dual nature of what’s beneath us: since the birth of civilization, the underground has been a subject of fascination and fear, a symbol of birth and of death, of deprivation and of abundance, for the humans who walk above it. It remains a mystery, but this book brings us a little closer to illuminating the darkness.”—Lit Hub
- Publisher : Random House; Illustrated edition (January 29, 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0812996747
- ISBN-13 : 978-0812996746
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.77 x 0.95 x 8.54 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #433,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Will Hunt’s curiosity about the unknown began the summer he turned 16, when he discovered an abandoned train tunnel that ran under his neighborhood. It was this experience that eventually launched his passion for urban exploring- a hobby that allowed him to travel all over the world as he sought out abandoned subway platforms (ghost stations), dodged police officers in foreign countries, and encountered “Mole People”. While in the Catacombs of Paris, he even came across an underground library, La Librairie, where urban explorers left books for others to borrow. Oh, my soul!
I saw that we- all of us, the human species- have always felt a quiet pull from the underground, that we are connected to this realm as we are to our own shadow.
I must say my favorite bit may have been the story about the “Mole Man of Hackney” who decided to dig a wine cellar in his basement and never stopped. He kept burrowing until his home started to collapse. In his words, “I just have a big basement.”
Underground by Will Hunt was fascinating and really well done! If you are a fan of traveling from your couch or, like me, are simply saving your cabbage and working all the side hustles so you can travel in real life, this is the book for you! Hearing about his expeditions energized my sense of adventure and learning the science of the “worlds beneath our feet” caused me to look at things from a whole new perspective. Microbiologists keep finding life deeper and deeper inside the earth and are even discovering pockets of water that are more than a billion years old. In addition, it’s estimated that more than half of the world’s caves are undiscovered! We explore outer space, but there is so much to find here- our oceans and underground landscapes are just as much a mystery.