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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.

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“A mesmerizingly fascinating tale . . .”—Michael Finkel, New York Times bestselling author of The Stranger in the Woods

“Few books have blown my mind so totally, and so often. There are echoes of Sebald, Calvino, and Herzog in his elegant and enigmatic voice, but also real warmth and humor. . . ." —Robert Moor, New York Times bestselling author of On Trails


"Unclassifiably brilliant..."—Nature


“Genuinely exciting . . . beautifully written . . . has the narrative drive of adventure stories.”—The Guardian

“Will Hunt is a generous and literate mole man, beckoning us always to look lower.”—Ted Conover, author of Newjack

“. . . 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.”—Steve Rinella, author of MeatEater and American Buffalo
“Will Hunt explores the subterranean world in all of its historic and psychological grandeur.”—Scott Carney, New York Times bestselling author of What Doesn’t Kill Us

“Will Hunt is an irresistible guide”—Justin Davidson, author of Magnetic City and architecture critic of New York

“Underground is a revelation”—John Vaillant, author of The Tiger 





Will Hunt on what he's learned from exploring the subterranean world

'Underground' Digs Up The Secrets Of Hidden Communities Around The World



Social Spelunking With Will Hunt

The Secret Lives of People Obsessed with Going Deep Underground

Stories of the Subterranean

Reasons to Love New York - Freedom Tunnel

Into the Earth: the mysteries and meanings of underground spaces

What lies beneath: the art, people, and emotion of the underground


NPR: 'Underground' Digs Deep Into The World Beneath Our Feet


New York Times Book Review: "Deep Dive"

The Guardian: "The Worlds Beneath Our Feet"

Literary Review: "Strolling in the Deep"

Nature: "Books in Brief"

KIRKUS: "Starred review"

Shelf Awareness: Book Review

THe National: "Book review: Underground"

THe Toronto Star: ‘Underground’ explores what literally lies beneath roads, cities and Earth

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"Preparing Odesa's catacombs for a Russian Assault" the new yorker

Underground explorers convert the city's forgotten Soviet bunkers into modern shelters

"A Pilgrimage on the white road" orion

Retracing an ancient Maya pilgrimage in the jungle of the Yucatán

"Artists of the dark zone" archaeology

Deciphering Cherokee ritual imagery deep in the caves of the American South


"Getting Lost Makes the Brain Go Haywire" The Atlantic

The strange, unexpected power of being lost



The neuroscience of darkness

"what lies beneath" the guardian

A survey of the world's subterranean places (extract from the book)


"Of Sewers and cesspits" archaeology

The surprising history of medieval sewers 

"Faith and Fathom" Galleria Poggialli

Essay for a contemporary art show curated by Zhivago Duncan

"Cave of the Crystal Maiden" DISCOVER

Why did the ancient Maya take their sacrificial rites underground?

"The Ghosts of Pickering Trail" The Atavist

One Family hoped their new home might bring a fresh start. But the house held secrets that would cause them years of heartache. 


A three-day trek from one edge of Paris to the other – underground the whole way. 

"Damned Spot" Audible Originals

Four-part audio documentary about places where tragedies have occurred.

          Episode 1 - Mcdonald's

          Episode 2 - Master of Disaster

          Episode 3 - La Palazza

          Episode 4 - Jasper, Texas

"Ghost River" Paris Review Daily

A search for a lost river flowing beneath Manhattan.

"Underground colonies" Paris Review Daily

On ants and the underground cities of Cappadocia.

"submerged ruins" The american reADER

On artist Ellie Ga.


Ancient rock paintings near the Rio Grande contain hidden messages about a mysterious 4,000-year-old religion. Now one archaeologist has learned to read them.


Seismic snapshots expose Earth's inner-life.


Will's writing, photography, and audio storytelling have appeared in The New YorkerThe Economist, The Atlantic MonthlyThe Atavist, The GuardianThe Paris Review DailyAudible Originals, and Outside, among other places. He has received grants and fellowships from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and The Macdowell Colony. He serves as a visiting scholar at the NYU Institute for Public Knowledge and teaches creative writing at Columbia University. UNDERGROUND is his first book.



+February 4: In Conversation with Ted Conover at NYU School of Journalism

6-8pm // 20 Cooper Square // 6th floor

+February 21: Reading at Books on the Square, Providence, RI

6 pm // 471 Angell St // Providence, RI



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US: Carrie Neill:

UK: Harriett Collins:

Represented by Stuart Krichevsky Agency

Tel: (212) 725-5288 | Fax: (212) 725-5275 |