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Underland: A Deep Time Journey (2019)

por Robert Macfarlane

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8393019,012 (4.18)51
Hailed as "the great nature writer of this generation" (Wall Street Journal), Robert Macfarlane is the celebrated author of books about the intersections of the human and the natural realms. In Underland, he delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth's underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.In this highly anticipated sequel to his international bestseller The Old Ways, Macfarlane 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. Woven through Macfarlane's own travels are the unforgettable stories of descents into the underland made across history by explorers, artists, cavers, divers, mourners, dreamers, and murderers, all of whom have been drawn for different reasons to seek what Cormac McCarthy calls "the awful darkness within the world."Global in its geography and written with great lyricism and power, Underland speaks powerfully to our present moment. Taking a deep-time view of our planet, Macfarlane here asks a vital and unsettling question: "Are we being good ancestors to the future Earth?" Underland marks a new turn in Macfarlane's long-term mapping of the relations of landscape and the human heart. From its remarkable opening pages to its deeply moving conclusion, it is a journey into wonder, loss, fear, and hope. At once ancient and urgent, this is a book that will change the way you see the world.… (mais)
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The underlands are the deep time spaces of our world, and Macfarlane with his lyrical, poetic, high level language is the one best fit to describe them. The underlands are deposits from which we would extract mineral/oil wealth or that which needs to be hidden (secrets, burials.) Whether spelunking, mountaineering, or climbing glaciers, Macfarlane descriptions amaze the reader and leave her in wonder. What was discouraging was to read of the plastic that litters the beaches of Lofoten in Norway, and that the author assigns blame to the oil companies for having provided the raw material for making plastics, instead of pinning the blame on the humans who discard their refuse or make no effort to remove such from the landscape. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Apr 1, 2021 |
‘Underland’ is a lyrical and thought-provoking book that explores nature and space. But the space is not above our head, but under our feet. Macfarlane looks at how nature exists below the earth’s surface and how little we understand and know about it. He moves on from this to how humans have exploited the natural underground with prehistoric cave paintings, to burials, to mining, to the search for dark matter in the universe, to burying nuclear waste safely for millennia. He charts a revealing path through these seemingly disparate subjects, drawing on his personal experiences, with a confidence and ease that is compelling and even examines how some ancient myths of the underworld seem to foretell and have resonance with our actions today. This really is a warning call for all to consider how we treat nature.
  camharlow2 | Mar 20, 2021 |
There are a lot of interesting facts included in the book and I learned a little about a lot. It's a nice book for opening doors to new interests. ( )
  SGTCat | Feb 25, 2021 |
Well I admit to being a bit overwhelmed by Rob Macfarlane's abilities at climbing, caving, sailing, reading the history, geography and biology of land, and gaining access to sensitive sites - and he can write so well too. But it also resonated personally at many points: the handprints and dots in caves in northern Spain, Boulby mine in Yorkshire, tops blown off mountains and tunnels within in northern Italy after war - these are the bigger resonances but there are many others are smaller levels. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
As someone who loves caves, I thought this would be a very interesting topic: writing about below ground places. The catacombs of Paris I found particularly interesting. However a lot of the book was a bit dry. Occasionally, the author got way off track, like when he rambled about a fisherman in Norway for a long time, or ice burgs in Greenland. The writing was pretty good at times, but a lot of this book lost my attention for large portions of it. ( )
  Andjhostet | Jan 11, 2021 |
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Is it dark down there
Where the grass grows through the hair?
Is it dark in the under-land of Null?

Helen Adam, ‘Down there in the dark’, 1952
The void migrates to the surface...

’Advances In geophysics’, 2016
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The way into the underland is through the riven trunk of an old ash tree.
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Hailed as "the great nature writer of this generation" (Wall Street Journal), Robert Macfarlane is the celebrated author of books about the intersections of the human and the natural realms. In Underland, he delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth's underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.In this highly anticipated sequel to his international bestseller The Old Ways, Macfarlane 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. Woven through Macfarlane's own travels are the unforgettable stories of descents into the underland made across history by explorers, artists, cavers, divers, mourners, dreamers, and murderers, all of whom have been drawn for different reasons to seek what Cormac McCarthy calls "the awful darkness within the world."Global in its geography and written with great lyricism and power, Underland speaks powerfully to our present moment. Taking a deep-time view of our planet, Macfarlane here asks a vital and unsettling question: "Are we being good ancestors to the future Earth?" Underland marks a new turn in Macfarlane's long-term mapping of the relations of landscape and the human heart. From its remarkable opening pages to its deeply moving conclusion, it is a journey into wonder, loss, fear, and hope. At once ancient and urgent, this is a book that will change the way you see the world.

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