A Deep Time Journey

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In Underland, Macfarland delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth's underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself. He takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through "deep time" - the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present - he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, from the prehistoric art of Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, from Bronze Age funeral chambers to the catacomb labyrinth below Paris, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk "hiding place" where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 2019.
Edition: First American edition.
ISBN: 9780393242140
Characteristics: 488 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 14, 2021

This is an epic journey into rock and ice caves, burial tombs, the labyrinth below Paris, prehistoric Norwegian sea caves, and other underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, human history and the land itself. “Many have been mappers…seeking not the scattered jewels of personal epiphany but rather to enlarge the possible means by which people might move and think together across landscapes, in responsible knowledge of deep past, deep future and the inhuman earth.” Fascinating.

Aug 03, 2020

I just couldn't get into this book. That doesn't mean that others won't like it though. For me it was just too wordy.

Jun 16, 2020

A good book, long read, but so many stories about things I had never thought of before. Keep a computer close by if you're like me and want to know the ultra specific-it is easy to go down the rabbit hole.

DBRL_ReginaF Feb 18, 2020

This book defies categorizations. It covers all (well, damn near all) things underground from the "world wood web," underground cities, underground rivers, caves, and forgotten burial sites among other things. It's a weird intersectional book but it's my kind of weird.

Feb 15, 2020

story started out great, but lost interest half way through. Author is very poetic and philosophical, not my favorite style

Oct 31, 2019

This book is not about nature; the prose is far too florid and the book is far too long; Euro-centric.

Oct 17, 2019

MacFarlane is an unusual combination of scholar, gifted writer, keen observer of nature, and outdoor adventurer. When he writes about the Underland - burial places, caves, glaciers, underground rivers - he has personally explored these places, many quite dangerous, and writes about them evocatively and poetically as only someone with firsthand experience can. Also explored are soil, mines, deep sea drilling, and nuclear waste storage, mostly in northern Europe. One of the most fascinating journeys is a multi-day expedition into the 200 mile network of the Paris catacombs with "cataphiles", a subculture of individuals who adhere to an unwritten code of conduct in the invisible city while flouting the law by being there. MacFarlane’s word imagery is powerful and visceral, but the single photo at the beginning of each chapter is frustratingly insufficient in conveying the magnificence, or poignance, of the Underland.

Jul 29, 2019

There isn't a category for the death-defying but detailed science of exploring caves, glaciers and ancient myths. Great book for travel - you will feel in another world no matter where you are reading.

Jul 22, 2019

kneeling bus newsletter

ontherideau Jul 19, 2019

Many of us are in awe of the vastness of the surface of our planet and the skies we gaze at. Robert MacFarlane shows us the vastness of what lies beneath the earth we walk on and the waters we sail across. It's another universe altogether, terrifying in ways. This book is an important piece of work.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top