Photo by Ron Simmons
The Longest Cave
Readers Comments

A wonderful story
Reviewer: Stuart Woodward, Yokohama, Japan

...recently I bought the "Longest Cave" which I am now reading for the second time. As soon as it was delivered I read it all the way through on consecutive nights and then immediately started reading again. Thank you once again for writing the book, it is a wonderful story which I am bursting to tell anyone who will listen

Captivating, awe-inspiring, and incredibly exciting
Reviewer: Emily Ohlin from Chicago

If you like adventure, if you like caves, if you like drama and suspense, or if you breath in and out regularly and have a pulse, you really ought to read this book. The story of the years it took to connect the Flint Ridge/Mammoth cave systems, it sweeps the reader into the wonderfully obsessive world of the Flint Ridge Cavers. A great book. Strongly reccomended.

The All-time Number One Cave Adventure Book

Caves have been intertwined with Kentucky history since a man named Houchins chased a bear into Mammoth cave in the late 1700s. Later on, the valley north of Mammoth Cave was named after this early settler, and the ridge north of Houchins' Valley was called Flint Ridge. Starting in the early 1950s a group of cavers began a lifelong ambition of connecting the caves on the northern ridge (Flint Ridge) to the caves on the southern ridge (Mammoth Cave Ridge). Their goal was simple: To map the Longest Cave. This book covers that time. Along with 'The Caves Beyond' and 'Trapped', this book constitutes an informal trilogy about Mammoth Cave. It is a story of determination over hardship, of perseverence over fatigue, of triumph over nature. Roger Brucker and Red Watson write this book with the confidence of people that were there. From the very beginning, their influence on the project helped mold it into what it was to become. We see them age, from young men in their ealry twenties, to grizzled Flint Ridge veterans to seeing their children caving alongside them. There is a real sense of the passage of time here; people come, people go, the cave is eternal. Fiction should hope to be so true. Dominating all this is the cave. It is all pervading. Over three hundred miles of passage lies under their feet, and the reader fells as if he is crawling, climbing and squirming along with them. We feel the explorer's chill they wade through Hanson's Lost River, we feel their pain as they crawl through Agony Avenue. We satand alongside them as they are awed by the vastness and remoteness of Unknown Cave. Above all else, it is the story of the people who explore the cave. For fourty years, cavers have been gathering in Central Kentucky to explore this cave. To mankind, the cave is eternal. We may choos to protect it, we may, in our ignorance deface it. Either way, we live our lives by interacting with it. Or to put it in the books words: "That is where life is, that is where your friends are".
Read this book!

The Best True Story Adventure Ever!
Reviewer: A reader

This book is the best book I've ever came across! Outstanding adventure of how the World's Largest Cave System ever came about. The discoveries in this book are amazing! Suspense to the fullest! The people in this book who made this discovery should be noted as the best exploration team of all time! I can only amagine the feeling they got knowing they had made the biggest connection in cave history to this day. It would be almost impossible for anyone else to top the discovery in this book. An amazing adventure!! I couldn't stop reading this book over and over. The authors of this book should give the story to Hollywood to make into a motion picture. I could imagine this story making the best adventure movie of all time. Ron Howard or Steven Spielburg should be given a copy of this book! It would be a hit! I wish I had the full video tape of this expedition. National Geographic's short segment in "Mysteries Underground" was a tease. If anyone knows where or if there is such a tape, please post it! This is a must read if you like adventure to the fullest!

Sure-Fire Winner for Arm-Chair Adventurers
Reviewer: A reader

By now, I've forgotten how many times I have read THE LONGEST CAVE, by Richard Watson and Roger Brucker. I actually quit counting after 25 times completely through the book. Admittedly, I have some vested interest in the subject, having lived in cave country in Indiana, and having been in Mammoth Cave several times. This book is about an obsession by a core group of explorers to connect all of the separate caves in the Mammoth Cave area. Working against the difficulties presented underground is often not as hard as the problems they had with the beaurocracy of the National Park Service. Because of their opposition, all of the connection work had to be done from the other caves, rather than from Mammoth Cave itself. The story leads you from one connection to another until finally, the big one is made: Mammoth Cave is connected with all of the other caves, making the system the longest cave in the world, at least in surveyed length. That final connection is the last of my personal ties to the story that made it great for me...on the day that the connection was made between the Flint Ridge Cave System and Mammoth Cave, I was actually in Mammoth Cave, as a tourist, completely unaware of the history being created around me. Roger Brucker and "Red" Watson tell their tale in personal terms, noting the humor, hard work and sacrifices of the exploration, building some people into larger-than-life icons while still showing them as human. During my latest crawl through the cave by way of this book, I found myself wondering what these people are doing now, Bill Austin -- the manager of Floyd Collins Crystal Cave, Dr. Robert Pohl -- Bill's boss at Crystal Cave, Jack Lehrberger -- a "far-out" caver whose drive and stamina enabled many of the discoveries, and of course Watson and Brucker, who thought to tell the story. I hope that each of them is writing a book about their adventures, whether in Mammoth Cave or elsewhere. If it comes close to being as good as THE LONGEST CAVE, I'll read it many times.

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