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Opening Goliath: Danger and Discovery in Caving
     

Opening Goliath: Danger and Discovery in Caving

5.0 2
by Cary J. Griffith
 

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"Writing in a style that reads like fiction, Griffith takes readers into heart-stopping action alongside caver John Ackerman, who found unexplored Goliath Cave in southeastern Minnesota."—St. Paul Pioneer Press

Narrow passages, twisting upward or dropping precipitously. Huge vaults filled with fantastic shapes. Tunnels twined in tangled

Overview

"Writing in a style that reads like fiction, Griffith takes readers into heart-stopping action alongside caver John Ackerman, who found unexplored Goliath Cave in southeastern Minnesota."—St. Paul Pioneer Press

Narrow passages, twisting upward or dropping precipitously. Huge vaults filled with fantastic shapes. Tunnels twined in tangled mazes. Over centuries, underground rivers can carve holes and rooms in solid rock; drips of water build walls of stone. Natural caves shape another world beneath our feet. Dangerous and beautiful, these places remain unknown—until someone decides to investigate.

In 2004, businessman and caver John Ackerman drilled an entryway into Goliath Cave, a huge and unexplored complex in the karst region of southeastern Minnesota. Squeezing through tiny openings, scuba diving through silt-filled waters, scaling walls, and traversing crevasses, he and his fellow cavers painstakingly mapped ever-further reaches of the complex in an exploration that continues to this day.

But man-made caves that do not breathe can be even more dangerous than their natural cousins. In St. Paul, also in 2004, five teenagers entered an area where intermittent fires robbed the air of oxygen. Only two emerged alive.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Writing in a style that reads like fiction, Griffith takes readers into heart-stopping action alongside caver John Ackerman, who found unexplored Goliath Cave in southeastern Minnesota.”

St. Paul Pioneer Press

"For the great silent majority who prefer to cheat death by staying aboveground--in other words, for those who don't suffer from that peculiar mental affliction called caving--Griffith provides a safe and sane way of exploring the underground realm."

Natural History Magazine

“In nonfiction that reads like a fast-paced thriller, Cary J. Griffith explores the incredible beauty and danger of Minnesota’s caves, along with the personalities of those driven to enter the unknown, whatever the risks. But beyond the drama of exploration, Griffith presents the very human conflict that results when a newfound cave system becomes a public trust—and a political football, bounced between bureaucracies, well-meaning experts, and the recreational cavers who discovered the labyrinthine passages, all of whom claim to know the ‘best’ way to protect fragile underground wilderness. A great read and an insightful look at the politics of conservation, Opening Goliath is destined to become a classic among cavers and noncavers alike.”

Michael Ray Taylor, author of Cave Passages: Roaming the Underground Wilderness and Caves: Exploring Hidden Realms

“In Opening Goliath, Cary Griffith throws light on the hitherto dark world of Minnesota caving and the politics behind it. This fascinating story features danger, adventure, and an intriguing glimpse at the conflicts and personalities involved in discovering the big caves of Minnesota.”

Gregory Brick, author of Subterranean Twin Cities

“As captivating as it is informative, Opening Goliath leads the reader to and through a largely unknown world just beneath our feet, illuminating not only crawlways through the rock but a very human drama created by our reactions to the forces of geology.”

Jeffrey A. Dorale, Assistant Professor, Department of Geoscience, University of Iowa

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780873516495
Publisher:
Minnesota Historical Society Press
Publication date:
04/15/2009
Edition description:
1
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,183,396
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.10(h) x 3.80(d)

Meet the Author

Cary J. Griffith, a freelance writer who specializes in writing about the outdoors, is the author of Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods.

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Opening Goliath: Danger and Discovery in Caving 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
GreatLakesDiver More than 1 year ago
I finished reading Gary Griffith's book, Opening Goliath, Danger and Discovery in Caving during the flights on a recent trip to Atlanta. It is an excellent book and keeps the reader engaged. I enjoyed learning about the excitement of cave exploration and all the different geological formations that may occur under the surface. It was important to note the need to protect and preserve the fragile formations that were discovered in so many areas of the cave. The hazards were also noted, with good examples of why we shouldn't run out and crawl into one of the blocked off caves along the cliffs of South St. Paul. It was disheartening to learn of the young people who perished when they did not heed the warning signs. The cave diving episodes left me on the edge of my seat, as I have Scuba dived in confined spaces of shipwrecks and visited several underwater caverns in Florida. I have always stayed out of the cave portion, as we are cautioned in the diving community to not go into underwater caves without the proper training, equipment and experience. Mr. Griffith conveys why this should be respected when he describes Mr. Ackerman's experience as a newly certified diver who feels he has to go down and check things out underwater himself, in spite of his minimal training and equipment. It was good to learn later in the book that he relied on John Preston, an experienced cave diver, to do the initial underwater pursuit of extensions of the Goliath Cave they were exploring. Gary's book is recommend it as an informative, interesting and exciting story for others to learn about caving in Minnesota and Iowa, including the underwater portions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Opening Goliath is truly a page turner! It took me all of twenty four hours to devour this book. Although nonfiction, Opening Goliath reads like your favorite novel. His research, reflections and insight into the dangerous world of caving provide a stimulus for the mind and nourishment for the soul that will keep you wanting more!