Customer Reviews for

Mole People: Life in the Tunnels beneath New York City

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Marginalization and Levels Within the Deepest Levels of Destitution

Author/journalist takes one on a tour under one of the richest cities in the world, New York City (Manhattan), to see the lifestyle of thousands of the most impoverished types (mainly US citizens) from all walks of life whose lifespan in that domain is often less than s...
Author/journalist takes one on a tour under one of the richest cities in the world, New York City (Manhattan), to see the lifestyle of thousands of the most impoverished types (mainly US citizens) from all walks of life whose lifespan in that domain is often less than six years. Within the tunnels are deeper and deeper levels, and those that live in the deepest sections have lost the vocal ability to even communicate except in grunts or so as the author states. Some of these underground dwellers are artists, some with advanced, fancy accredited USA university degrees that once held nice jobs, others are divorcees, families without jobs, and so on. Many of these dwellers state they were marginalized by society and did not choose that way of life but were pushed into it, and that lack of jobs and affordable housing, as well as every day NYC stress, made it more possible and easier for them to live in the tunnels. The more they live in those conditions, the less they are inclined to find better opportunities the book suggests, as they more easily rapidly adapt to their substandard living conditions in order to survive those immediate horrible conditions (but die early anyway) than try to make better for themselves and get out in the sun and live as humans.

posted by 1000302 on February 22, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Interesting but often trite

I had heard many whispers of these subterranean dwellers on several occasions and I am sure this book chronicles only a portion of the thousands who surely seek a "home" below ground. It does well to highlight the relative sophistication of these people, all things cons...
I had heard many whispers of these subterranean dwellers on several occasions and I am sure this book chronicles only a portion of the thousands who surely seek a "home" below ground. It does well to highlight the relative sophistication of these people, all things considered, and certainly their resourcefulness in utilizing things most of us have long since abandoned use of. The people are, on the whole, jarringly human, however, and the communities they fashion are like hyperbolized versions of many 'upstairs' - their problems merely magnified by the fact that they live in such a bluntly Darwinian environment. The writing itself is not terribly compelling and the book often reads much like a report or case study, which in effect is what I expected. As the book wears on however, Toth's doe-eyed lack of perspective grows evermore annoying, and despite her efforts to hide it, it eventually becomes glaringly evident that this book is written by a well-to-do, white, Ivy League college-educated woman with little perspective on the real world. Her idealistic views on these people and their problems/lives are maddening at times and it unfortunately ends up tainting a rather interesting book on a compelling, fascinating subject. By the end I felt myslef siding with Blade!! Borrow it - don't buy it.

posted by Anonymous on January 8, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2009

    Marginalization and Levels Within the Deepest Levels of Destitution

    Author/journalist takes one on a tour under one of the richest cities in the world, New York City (Manhattan), to see the lifestyle of thousands of the most impoverished types (mainly US citizens) from all walks of life whose lifespan in that domain is often less than six years. Within the tunnels are deeper and deeper levels, and those that live in the deepest sections have lost the vocal ability to even communicate except in grunts or so as the author states. Some of these underground dwellers are artists, some with advanced, fancy accredited USA university degrees that once held nice jobs, others are divorcees, families without jobs, and so on. Many of these dwellers state they were marginalized by society and did not choose that way of life but were pushed into it, and that lack of jobs and affordable housing, as well as every day NYC stress, made it more possible and easier for them to live in the tunnels. The more they live in those conditions, the less they are inclined to find better opportunities the book suggests, as they more easily rapidly adapt to their substandard living conditions in order to survive those immediate horrible conditions (but die early anyway) than try to make better for themselves and get out in the sun and live as humans.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Intriguing

    A dark and curious book. I spent many hours reflecting on what life would be like underground. For those of you who had your interest peaked due to this book, try watching the movie "Dark Days", a documentary about an abandoned NYC railroad tunnel.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2003

    Fascinating, Enthralling, Thrilling and Captivating

    Enthralling...are the stories of the mole people. Fascinating...are the relationship dynamics between mole people and their communities. Thrilling...how the author dared enter the mole people's domain. Captivating...I felt like I met everyone of them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 1999

    Mole People????????

    Once you pick this book up, there is no putting it down, be prepared for what is on the insides of the cover, It will give you a whole new outlook about what it is to be homeless, or to have sudden changes happen in your life for the worse, Meet the people and hear there stories about what it's like to live UNDERGROUND, I highly recommend this book for any curious readers out there to get a taste of something real and hardcore..............

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    Humanity lost...!

    I , by chance read this book back in 94, and could not believe that this was posible. It struck a cord in my heart with a deep sense of sorrow and disbelief. Read this book it will move you to tears , if not , at least it will instill a feeling of regained humanity and a need to help others in need...R. Cruz

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2002

    Gripping

    I live in New Jersey shadowed by the great city of New York so of course the title of this book grabed my attention. From start to finish the book was so gripping I couldnt put it down. The author does a great job sharing the stories of the lost souls they call the Mole people.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2002

    This is real!!!

    I grew up on the NJ Pailsades cliffs and can say I've met a few of these people myself. That this waif of a woman dared to document this story is a marvel in and of itself. Considering that this was written back in '93 and their population was then estimated at 50,000 it's a wake up call for anyone living in a major city.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2002

    Amazing

    I thought that this book was excellent. I think that most of the book was based on fact. I've read many reviews that felt the book was fiction, but I don't agree. I thought that it was well written and overall an amazing book. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in New York City or homelessness in general.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2002

    Riveting

    This is a scintillating account of hundreds of people who eke out a living in the bowels of New York City, unbeknownst to the millions of surface dwellers. I've heard lots of doubters, naysayers and jealous tunnel-Nazis try to debunk the existence of the Mole People over the years, but their presence has been confirmed in numerous documentaries and films. This book was the first to describe the lives of the Mole People, and remains the best of the genre, in my opinion. Toth deserves a Pulitzer Prize for risking her life to tell us this incredible story.

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    Posted January 28, 2011

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    Posted May 15, 2011

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