Underlands | Granta

  • Published: 07/05/2015
  • ISBN: 9781847086723
  • 129x20mm
  • 304 pages


Ted Nield

Not so long ago, our roads, buildings, gravestones and monuments were built from local rock, our cities were powered by coal from Welsh mines, and our lamps were lit with paraffin from Scottish shale. We live among the remnants of those times but for the most part our mines are gone, our buildings are no longer local, and the flow of stone travels east to west.
Spurred on by the erasure of history and industry, Ted Nield journeyed across this buried landscape: from the small Welsh village where his mining ancestors were born and died, to Swansea, Aberdeen, East Lothian, Surrey and Dorset. Nield unearths the veins of coal, stone, oil, rock and clay that make up the country beneath our feet, exploring what the loss of kinship between past and present means for Britain and the rest of the world today.

[This book has] great charm and humour... [I was] genuinely moved by its messages... [Geology] can be oracular still, fiercely warning us against the degradation of our planet, and in the hands of Ted Nield it edges its way towards art

Jan Morris, Literary Review

A poetic remembrance of forgotten time and lost perspectives

Iain Finlayson, The Times

The ability to see the past and the future is both a blessing and a curse. I found that particularly strong testimony coming from someone who has spent a career in the oil industry

Paul Pearson, TLS

The Author

Ted Nield holds a doctorate in geology and works for the Geological Society of London as editor of the monthly magazine Geoscientist. He is a past Chair of the Association of British Science Writers and was a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society and a member of the Meteoritical Society. He is the author of Supercontinent (2007), Incoming! (2011) and Underlands (2014), all published by Granta Books. He lives in London.

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