Underground
A panoramic investigation of the subterranean landscape, from sacred caves and derelict subway stations to nuclear bunkers and ancient underground cities—an exploration of the history, science, architecture, and mythology of the worlds beneath our feet.When Will Hunt was sixteen years old, he discovered an abandoned tunnel that ran beneath his house in Providence, Rhode Island. His first tunnel trips inspired a lifelong fascination with exploring underground worlds, from the derelict subway stations and sewers of New York City to sacred caves, catacombs, tombs, bunkers, and ancient underground cities in more than twenty countries around the world. Underground is both a personal exploration of Hunt’s obsession and a panoramic study of how we are all connected to the underground, how caves and other dark hollows have frightened and enchanted us through the ages.In a narrative spanning continents and epochs, Hunt follows a cast of subterraneaphiles who have dedicated themselves to investigating underground worlds. He tracks the origins of life with a team of NASA microbiologists a mile beneath the Black Hills, camps out for three days with urban explorers in the catacombs and sewers of Paris, descends with an Aboriginal family into a 35,000-year-old mine in the Australian outback, and glimpses a sacred sculpture molded by Paleolithic artists in the depths of a cave in the Pyrenees.Each adventure is woven with findings in mythology and anthropology, natural history and neuroscience, literature and philosophy. In elegant and graceful prose, Hunt cures us of our “surface chauvinism,” opening our eyes to the planet’s hidden dimension. He reveals how the subterranean landscape gave shape to our most basic beliefs and guided how we think about ourselves as humans. At bottom, Underground is a meditation on the allure of darkness, the power of mystery, and our eternal desire to connect with what we cannot see.PRAISE FOR UNDERGROUND:“A mesmerizingly fascinating tale . . . I could not stop reading this beautifully written book.”—Michael Finkel, author of The Stranger in the Woods“Few books have blown my mind so totally, and so often. In Will Hunt’s nimble hands, excursion becomes inversion, and the darkness turns luminous. There are echoes of Sebald, Calvino, and Herzog in his elegant and enigmatic voice, but also real warmth and humor. . . . An intrepid—but far from fearless—journey, both theoretically and terrestrially.”—Robert Moor, New York Times bestselling author of On Trails“Underground left me, for days, wanting to go there—down, down, down, into the moisture and the mystery. It succeeds as reportage, as memoir, as historical survey and philosophical reflection. Will Hunt is a generous and literate mole man, beckoning us always to look lower.”—Ted Conover, author of Newjack“An unusual and intriguing travel book, into the world beneath the world we know . . . a vivid illumination of the dark and an effective evocation of its profound mystery.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)“Underground is for anyone who’s ever peered into a crack in the earth and felt that peculiar blend of unease and curiosity. Read this and you will never look at the ground beneath you in the same way again.”—Steve Rinella, author of MeatEater and American Buffalo“Will Hunt explores the subterranean world in all of its historic and psychological grandeur. This tour de force just might make you want to pull on a pair of rubber boots and strap on a headlamp to get a peek at the places we've forgotten.”—Scott Carney, New York Times bestselling author of What Doesn’t Kill Us

Underground Details

TitleUnderground
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 29th, 2019
PublisherSpiegel & Grau
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Travel

Underground Review

  • Nick T. Borrelli
    January 1, 1970
    Very cool book about the unique world of our subterranean landscape. Whether it be subway systems, mines, catacombs, underground tunnels, etc.... This is a fascinating world tour penned by an urban explorer who documents the amazing underground world that exists and that we rarely even notice or think about. A quick read but a very fun one that I found entertaining and enlightening. Definitely pick this one up when it comes out in January of 2019.
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  • Isa
    January 1, 1970
    Underground is one of the most poetic, breathtaking and ambitious books I have read in a long time. Hunt offers a delightful and unexpected journey, a fantastic expedition full of discoveries, surprising facts and wonderful anecdotes. He is a clever and tenacious explorer, who places himself as an illuminating guide through the most secretive and curious places in a world I never suspected could exist. It is a boundary-breaking tale set between past legends and rituals, secret tunnels alive righ Underground is one of the most poetic, breathtaking and ambitious books I have read in a long time. Hunt offers a delightful and unexpected journey, a fantastic expedition full of discoveries, surprising facts and wonderful anecdotes. He is a clever and tenacious explorer, who places himself as an illuminating guide through the most secretive and curious places in a world I never suspected could exist. It is a boundary-breaking tale set between past legends and rituals, secret tunnels alive right beneath our feet, sacred caves existing since eternity, and incredible scientific expeditions digging though the earth. I can't recommend enough this beautiful and surprising piece of work which I read from cover to cover in a chill of excitement and curiosity. Fantastic!!
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  • R Littlefield
    January 1, 1970
    This non-fiction work starts off as a personal, memoir exploration of the author's preoccupation with subterranean worlds and expands into a much broader investigation, which ultimately explores the very roots of human spirituality. A unique and poetic and illuminating read.
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  • Flint Bill
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best works of non-fiction I've read in a while. Elegantly written, meticulously researched. Hunt went everywhere for this book! So many discoveries to be made about the world's caves, catacombs, mines, sewers and other holes in the ground. And it's beautifully illustrated. Recommend a hundred times over.
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  • Jocelyn
    January 1, 1970
    I requested this book thinking it would be about something entirely different and was pleasantly surprised by what i found. This book travels (literally) into many different types of underground and goes into the historical, religious, and artistic aspects of each. Very engaging writing style and well edited, i thought this book was wonderful. I received a free review copy odd this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Ariel
    January 1, 1970
    This book was absolutely fantastic. Hunt is a fantastic writer, who manages to make his trips to these various places both scary and charming, and does an excellent job of conveying the importance and fascination of the history surrounding it all. I learned so many things I didn't know before, and want to spew these facts at everyone I know, which I consider a mark of greatness in nonfiction. Definitely read.Thanks Edelweiss for an e-arc! It gets 5 glowing stars.
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  • Will Hunt
    January 1, 1970
    To be fair, I wrote this book ;)
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    https://booksnooks.wordpress.com/2019...Beneath my feet lies a 300 million-year-old petrified rainforest– the second largest in the world. Pictures of it can be seen here. It’s incredible to imagine that this snowy countryside was once a tropical rainforest and that its remains are now buried deep below where I stand today. Scientific proof of what once was. Do you ever wonder about what used to be? Do you wonder about what can’t be seen.Will Hunt’s curiosity about the unknown began the summer h https://booksnooks.wordpress.com/2019...Beneath my feet lies a 300 million-year-old petrified rainforest– the second largest in the world. Pictures of it can be seen here. It’s incredible to imagine that this snowy countryside was once a tropical rainforest and that its remains are now buried deep below where I stand today. Scientific proof of what once was. Do you ever wonder about what used to be? Do you wonder about what can’t be seen.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.
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  • Jypsy
    January 1, 1970
    Underground delves into a subject that most of us never think about. What is going on underground? This book explores that question in fascinating ways. Subways, tunnels, and many places we know nothing about. People live and die underground. It is its own culture. I recommend this book for everyone. It's a good idea to know what is going on underground. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Joyce
    January 1, 1970
    This is the kind of quirky book that I love--lots of history, geography, geology, literature, psychology, religion, all tied to a single idea: underground spaces, natural and man-made, and how they've been used over the millennia. I'd never consider going caving myself--I'm way too claustrophobic--but I enjoy reading about the pleasures and all that is to be found. Hunt recounts his research into these spaces from ancient caves to disused subway tunnels and offers an amazing array of facts (or p This is the kind of quirky book that I love--lots of history, geography, geology, literature, psychology, religion, all tied to a single idea: underground spaces, natural and man-made, and how they've been used over the millennia. I'd never consider going caving myself--I'm way too claustrophobic--but I enjoy reading about the pleasures and all that is to be found. Hunt recounts his research into these spaces from ancient caves to disused subway tunnels and offers an amazing array of facts (or perhaps trivia for fans of that) to be enjoyed. He writes about "pioneers" in the field and shares his encounters with modern underground explorers. The book is fairly brief and moves quite briskly from one adventure to the next, with bits of philosophizing slowing it slightly. Lots of literary references, as any number of books from classics to more recent titles have played with this idea, and he also brings in real people, like Picasso, who were strongly influenced by their own glimpses into these underground worlds. It's thought-provoking, informative, rich in mythology, religion, art, history. The writing is detailed and evocative, the setting often exotic. An earnest yet entertaining read. Hunt's personal journeys underline the universal nature of man's curiosity about hidden places.
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  • Caroline Ruggles
    January 1, 1970
    This book it beautifully written. It has me looking at the world around me, under me, in a whole new way.
  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    Falls short in contentThere is so much below us - subways, water pipes, sewage, electrical wires, etc - that have helped create the society we know. Yet the book focuses on the role of the underground in folklore and religion, which was I found only somewhat interesting. The book was also memoir, but this part was also bland. Memoirs can be worked well into stories like this, for example “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs,” by Steve Brusatte or “Built on Bones,” by Brenna Hassett. Disclosure: I Falls short in contentThere is so much below us - subways, water pipes, sewage, electrical wires, etc - that have helped create the society we know. Yet the book focuses on the role of the underground in folklore and religion, which was I found only somewhat interesting. The book was also memoir, but this part was also bland. Memoirs can be worked well into stories like this, for example “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs,” by Steve Brusatte or “Built on Bones,” by Brenna Hassett. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley for review purposes.
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    "Underground" is the author's musings about mankind's relationship with underground spaces. The author explained how he got interested in underground spaces. He told about a few of his adventures underground, but he mainly focused on how mankind has related to underground spaces throughout history, usually in religious ways. He related everything to the evolutionary past, from explaining the idea that life may have first come about underground to how evolution has made humans ill-equipped to pro "Underground" is the author's musings about mankind's relationship with underground spaces. The author explained how he got interested in underground spaces. He told about a few of his adventures underground, but he mainly focused on how mankind has related to underground spaces throughout history, usually in religious ways. He related everything to the evolutionary past, from explaining the idea that life may have first come about underground to how evolution has made humans ill-equipped to process underground spaces.The author talked about how myths often assign scary religious places to the underground realm, how mining men often appeased underworld deities in hopes of preserving their lives, and the Maya cave cult. He talked about underground cities and bunkers, underground graffiti and cave art, and how it was difficult for people to map underground areas. He also talked about people getting lost underground or studying sensory deprivation and sleep cycles in caves. This book might be most interesting to people like the author who are especially drawn by underground spaces.I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley.
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  • Kristine
    January 1, 1970
    Underground by Will Hunt is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late December.Reflections on the subways, underground utilities, sewers, burial grounds, caves, tunnels, pipeline in New York, France, South Dakota, Australia, Belize, and Turkey that's dotted liberally with religious origin stories, anthropology, and verses of poetry.
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  • Tyler Ruggles
    January 1, 1970
    Remarkable book: beautifully written, deeply researched, full of fresh and bold ideas. Bought a copy for everyone in my family!
  • Will Hunt
    January 1, 1970
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