are kind of exciting, but I can't help but think that the whole thing would have been a lot more effective with more context and less gossip. And possibly less of a sensationalistic emphasis on the (very real) deaths and injuries that occurred on these expeditions. Tabor makes a habit of starting each section with a description of the worst accident(s) on each expedition, only then going back to fill in the story from the beginning. I know this is a very common technique in non-fiction these days, but if not handled well, it can come across as manipulative, even exploitative, and I think it does a little bit here. Mind you, I have to admit to a degree of bias against Tabor's writing, as he managed to get off on the wrong foot with me from the very first sentence on the very first page. The sentence in question being, "As the fifteenth century began, we believed, absolutely, that the earth was flat." Now, OK, he's really just trying to make some rhetorical point about exploration there, but the incredible historical ignorance of that statement inevitably makes me wonder what else he's ignorant about and hasn't bothered to fact-check, and that made the rest of the book far less engaging for me than it should have been.
An account of several expeditions that set out to explore some truly massive cave systems, and their attempts to set a new record for the deepest known cave. It's an absolutely fascinating topic, but I found the book itself only just OK, in large part because it often seems far more interested in the cavers than in the caves. Early on, Tabor quotes one of the expedition leaders as taking exception when a reporter asks him about his "adventure," insisting instead that what he does is exploration with the goal of bringing back new data. But Tabor himself largely disregards this point, focusing mostly on the adventure aspects and the personalities involved. There's very little here about cave science, and, surprisingly, very little in the way of real description of these caves until very late in the book, except for their record-setting dimensions and the obstacles they present. Some of the stories here