Check It Out: Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet by Will Hunt

Jan 7, 2020

This is Kelsey Patterson with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I’m recommending Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet by Will Hunt. From an early age, I’ve always had a fascination with the stars, moon, and the unknowns of the sky above and have read plenty of science fiction stories set in space—but I’d never really thought to look down and take notice of what’s beneath our feet. Showing us that indeed, there are worlds just as exciting below our feet, Underground skillfully explores the history, science, architecture, and mythology of those worlds. When Will Hunt was 16-years-old, he discovered an abandoned tunnel that ran beneath his house in Providence, Rhode Island. Those first tunnel trips inspired a lifelong attraction 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. The last line of the book jacket states, “Underground is a meditation on the allure of darkness, the power of mystery, and our eternal desire to connect with what we cannot see.”, and I couldn’t agree more. Check out Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet and other great adventure nonfiction like it at the Sioux City Public Library. 

Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.