Underground Cities by Mark Ovenden

A book with the name Underground Cities by Mark Ovenden: Mapping the tunnels, transits and networks underneath our feet* sounds very interesting, isn’t it? If you think this, like I do, then you would love this book. It is a captivating read, offering a lot of interesting details, most of them historical oddities. Because the subject is so unusual I think the book would make for a great gift too.

Underground Cities by Mark Ovenden

Before starting to read the book I assumed that it will mainly be about Europe, but I was wrong. The first chapter is about North and South America and, in here, some of the details mentioned are fascinating, for example about the Buenos Aires and who dug the first tunnels.

Next chapter is about Europe, the biggest one, and here there are lots and lots of fascinating things. I was delighted to read about Liverpool, which, obviously has a special meaning for me, as I’m an “new” Liverpudlian. One of the surprises was to see Rotterdam in the list and reading about their underground network, as I’ve used it in our holiday in the Netherlands. What I remember about that journey was the friendliness of the staff and how complicated the ticketing is (at least it was when I went there). So, reading about its history and challenges for construction was fascinating.

The last chapter presents Asia and includes Mumbai, Beijing, Tokyo, and Sydney. Most of the cities mentioned in the book have maps and a graph to show how low different parts of the underground are. There are also many pictures and illustrations, making the book incredibly interesting and well worth reading.

Underground Cities by Mark Ovenden

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes!
Published by: Frances Lincoln
Year it was published: 2020
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): Travel & History
Pages: 224

About the author: Mark Ovenden is a British writer and broadcaster whose previous books include Transit Maps of the World and Paris Underground: The Maps, Stations and Designs of the Metro. He lives in Paris, France.”
Website & Social Media Links: Quarto

*I was sent a copy of Underground Cities by Mark Ovenden for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

5 thoughts on “Underground Cities by Mark Ovenden”

  • Hi Anca. I recently read ‘Underland’ by Robert Macfarlane and that has a long section on the Paris catacombs. It was absolutely fascinating and I really recommend it. On the same subject, I now have Underground by Will Hunt to read. I will add Underground Cities to my ‘books to get’ list.
    Cath recently posted…Several short reviewsMy Profile

    • I think this is much better on paper, as it is huge and the maps and illustrations would look better in real size.

  • Hi Anca,

    This sounds like such an interesting book, especially as I know a little about the tunnels under the UK, however I know nothing about the underground network in other parts of the world.

    I do have a book somewhere on my shelves, about the tunnels under London, which is a real eye-opener and I have watched a series on TV about the sewer men who work underground in the city. Not a job I would be lining up to do, but some of these guys actually sound as though they enjoy it!

    Somebody has to do it I guess and they have my total respect!

    Have a good Thursday and thanks as always for your support, I always appreciate it 🙂

    Yvonne xx

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