The Underworld: Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From bestselling author Susan Casey, an awe-inspiring portrait of the mysterious world beneath the waves, and the men and women who seek to uncover its secrets
“An irresistible mix of splendid scholarship, heart-stopping adventure writing, and vivid, visceral prose." —Sy Montgomery, New York Times best-selling author of The Soul of an Octopus
For all of human history, the deep ocean has been a source of wonder and terror, an unknown realm that evoked a singular, compelling question: What’s down there? Unable to answer this for centuries, people believed the deep was a sinister realm of fiendish creatures and deadly peril. But now, cutting-edge technologies allow scientists and explorers to dive miles beneath the surface, and we are beginning to understand this strange and exotic underworld: A place of soaring mountains, smoldering volcanoes, and valleys 7,000 feet deeper than Everest is high, where tectonic plates collide and separate, and extraordinary life forms operate under different rules. Far from a dark void, the deep is a vibrant realm that’s home to pink gelatinous predators and shimmering creatures a hundred feet long and ancient animals with glass skeletons and sharks that live for half a millennium—among countless other marvels.
Susan Casey is our premiere chronicler of the aquatic world. For The Underworld she traversed the globe, joining scientists and explorers on dives to the deepest places on the planet, interviewing the marine geologists, marine biologists, and oceanographers who are searching for knowledge in this vast unseen realm. She takes us on a fascinating journey through the history of deep-sea exploration, from the myths and legends of the ancient world to storied shipwrecks we can now reach on the bottom, to the first intrepid bathysphere pilots, to the scientists who are just beginning to understand the mind-blowing complexity and ecological importance of the quadrillions of creatures who live in realms long thought to be devoid of life.
Throughout this journey, she learned how vital the deep is to the future of the planet, and how urgent it is that we understand it in a time of increasing threats from climate change, industrial fishing, pollution, and the mining companies that are also exploring its depths. The Underworld is Susan Casey’s most beautiful and thrilling book yet, a gorgeous evocation of the natural world and a powerful call to arms.
Praise for The Underworld: Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"An awe-inspiring journey."—People
“Casey’s descriptions of the shimmeringly strange life teeming below the waves capture her wonder and ravishment in prose that morphs into poetry … enthralling.”
—The Boston Globe
“Not just a knowledgeable guide, Ms. Casey is also a memorable wordsmith…[Casey’s] book has more than enough deep-sea biology and geology to dazzle.”
—Wall Street Journal
“A fascinating history of mankind's journeys to the depths of the ocean and the intrepid scientists and adventurers who have devoted their lives to the work … Casey's book satisfies our greatest curiosities about the mysteries of the ocean.”
“In [The Underworld] Casey proves to be an exceptional adventurer and chronicler but also a member of a community dedicated to exploration and conservation of our least-understood aquatic wild places.”
—Los Angeles Times
“[The Underworld] is a fine tour of the history and challenges of exploring this most fantastical and forbidding of earthen worlds.”
—The Washington Post
“[An] entertaining account…wondrous…Casey excels at conjuring the “marvelous weirdos” that glide through submersibles' beam." —Scientific American
“One of the most accurate and vivid portrayals of a deep-sea dive that I have ever read”
“A thrilling and enlightening exploration of the deepest parts of the world’s oceans, featuring some of the most daring aquanauts using cutting-edge technology to make discoveries that boggle the mind”
—The Explorers Journal
"Is Susan Casey the next Rachel Carson? Yes. Her latest book, The Underworld: Journeys to the Depth of the Ocean, establishes her as the latest in the lineage of great ocean interpreters that began with Carson’s Under the Sea-Wind ... Casey’s narrative is so cinematic we begin to feel the awe, wonder and excitement of the abyss." —Rachel Carson Council
"Masterful and mesmerizing, Susan Casey's THE UNDERWORLD is an irresistible mix of splendid scholarship, heart-stopping adventure writing, and vivid, visceral prose. Her book about the ocean's deeps is both uplifting and profound in the literal sense. I was riveted to every page."
—Sy Montgomery, author of The New York Times bestseller THE SOUL OF AN OCTOPUS
"Prepare to submerge. Susan Casey is a reporter in a league of her own. She will go anywhere to get her story. This one is full of astounding news, great characters, wondrous explorations, and a full measure of outrage. Deep-sea mining, you will come to understand, must be stopped."
—William Finnegan, author of Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life