The Ground Beneath Us

From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are


By Paul Bogard

Formats and Prices




$35.00 CAD



  1. Hardcover $27.00 $35.00 CAD
  2. ebook $13.99 $17.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 21, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

When a teaspoon of soil contains millions of species, and when we pave over the earth on a daily basis, what does that mean for our future? What is the risk to our food supply, the planet’s wildlife, the soil on which every life-form depends? How much undeveloped, untrodden ground do we even have left?

Paul Bogard set out to answer these questions in The Ground Beneath Us, and what he discovered is astounding. From New York (where more than 118,000,000 tons of human development rest on top of Manhattan Island) to Mexico City (which sinks inches each year into the Aztec ruins beneath it), Bogard shows us the weight of our cities’ footprints. And as we see hallowed ground coughing up bullets at a Civil War battlefield; long-hidden remains emerging from below the sites of concentration camps; the dangerous, alluring power of fracking; the fragility of the giant redwoods, our planet’s oldest living things; the surprises hidden under a Major League ballpark’s grass; and the sublime beauty of our few remaining wildest places, one truth becomes blazingly clear: The ground is the easiest resource to forget, and the last we should.

Bogard’s The Ground Beneath Us is deeply transporting reading that introduces farmers, geologists, ecologists, cartographers, and others in a quest to understand the importance of something too many of us take for granted: dirt. From growth and life to death and loss, and from the subsurface technologies that run our cities to the dwindling number of idyllic Edens that remain, this is the fascinating story of the ground beneath our feet.


Talk of mysteries!—Think of our life in nature,—daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it,—rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we?



For a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.


From the observatory deck on the 102nd floor of One World Trade Center, the island of Manhattan spreads north beneath a hazy gray-gold sky—the Hudson River on the left, the East on the right—a putty-white and beige-brown blanket of stone, steel, and concrete covering every inch of its once green ground. A belt of Midtown towers blocks the view of Central Park's verdant rectangle, but I know it's there on the other side. Just as I know what lies beneath the city's weight. "I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes," Fitzgerald wrote, "a fresh, green breast of the new world."

From near the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, as far from ground as it's possible to be while still connected, it's difficult to see more than a few scraps of that old new world. But my plan is to walk up the island from Ground Zero to the park. Here, in my country's largest city, its most urban area, I will begin to look for the ground beneath us—what's gone missing, what remains, what may come to be.

For now, what is under my feet here on the observation deck is turning my legs rubbery. Ninety million pounds of structural steel and more than two hundred thousand cubic yards of concrete—enough for a sidewalk stretching from here to Chicago—hold me up and anchor this tower down, but still I swear I can feel it sway. Long before the tower rose, the belowground level had to be prepared. Workers cleared debris from 9/11's wreckage and dug into the bedrock that would support the new building—two hundred feet below street level. Digging that deep yielded immediate discoveries, including shoes, wallets, and even human remains. Deeper still, workers struck timber, the oak ribs of an eighteenth-century boat from an era when the Hudson flowed through the site. Is it knowledge of the depth and weight of foundational construction that gives most people the confidence needed to press against the thirty-foot-tall floor-to-ceiling window glass, expressing amazement in languages from across the globe as they peer 1,268 feet down? While I do appreciate the view, I cannot wait to get back to solid ground.

Less expansive than "earth," less ambiguous than "the land," for me "ground" means where we "have trod, have trod," as Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote in his famous poem, and continue to tread, what we see when we look down, the planet as we experience it in our day-to-day lives.

And it is a wonderland. We walk on ground that teems with life—an incredible one-third of all living organisms—a trove of biodiversity still only just starting to be explored. Said Leonardo da Vinci some five hundred years ago, "We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot." Incredibly, that remains true. But it's also true that this is changing. Since the new century's start, our knowledge of soil has bloomed—we have learned more in the past decade than in all previous years combined. We now know, for example, that just a teaspoon of healthy soil holds millions of species, and far more microorganisms than there are people on Earth. This incredible living ground gives rise to every plant, animal, and human—some 97 percent of the food we eat comes from the ground—and to boundless beauty. From the tallest redwoods and evergreens to the tiniest blue wildflowers, the ground holds the wild world in place. The paths we walk repeatedly, the pressed prints of elephant, wolf, and lion, the bodies of those who fought and fell, the memories of everything gone before, the ground holds this all.

Unfortunately, studies reveal that most of us in the industrialized world spend 90 to 95 percent of our time indoors. And when we do walk outside, we see beneath our shoe-clad feet an unnatural surface, likely some version of asphalt or concrete. In fact, we have some sixty-one thousand square miles of paved ground in the United States, an amount that together would be the twenty-fourth largest state by surface area, larger than any state east of the Mississippi. We now have more square miles of pavement in the lower forty-eight than we have square miles of wetlands, and every year a million new houses and ten thousand new miles of asphalt encase more natural ground. This isn't happening only in the United States, of course. Since 1950, the paved surface area in the European Union has grown 78 percent while the population has grown 33 percent, and in the ever-expanding cities of the developing world, the trend is true as well. As one recent study began, "Paved surfaces are quite possibly the most ubiquitous structures created by humans."

As our cities and suburbs and small towns expand, a seemingly inexorable spread of pavement on which we walk, build, and live separates us from the natural ground itself, concealing from us our profound relationship not only to the source of our food, water, and energy, but to the many intangible ways the ground sustains our lives. Remarkably, many children now growing up in cities around the world rarely stand on unpaved ground, and fewer still ever stand on ground we might think of as wild. For anyone living in an urban area—already some 50 percent of the human population, and by 2050 almost 70 percent—it can sometimes feel as though the natural ground on which everything we know and love is built is itself disappearing or has already disappeared.

Of course, we need paved surfaces. The network of roads connecting our cities and countries allows dramatic and dynamic freedom of movement, and concrete literally supports our daily lives, from the foundations and floors of our houses and buildings to the bridges, walls, and infrastructures all around. In the end, the question we might ask is not whether we will have concrete and pavement, but how and where, and at what cost?

Soil scientists increasingly use the term "soil sealing" to describe what we are doing to our ground; not only are we paving more of it, but often we are paving our most fertile ground, eliminating its life, an act that is practically irreversible. Once we cover the ground with concrete or asphalt, they warn, we have lost it; practically speaking, that ground is dead. And this at a time when we have more and more mouths to feed and much less fertile ground than perhaps we believe.

I first understood this in the city of Parma, at the center of Italy's agricultural breadbasket, when an Italian soil scientist showed me an apple, compared it to the planet, then sliced the fruit in four. He discarded three of the four pieces as water (71 percent of Earth's surface), and kept the last quarter as representative of the continents. But this piece he cut in two, keeping only one, saying we discard the other because it is too rocky, or covered by ice or mountains. He then cut this remaining piece into four parts, and of these discarded three as areas too hot, too low in fertility, too salty, or too wet. "And so there remains this one small piece," he told me, holding it with his fingertips. He then peeled this piece, explained that the peel represented the thin layer of living soil over lifeless rock, and told me, "With this we have to sustain and feed the planet."

Ciro Gardi, the soil scientist with the apple, was just one of the people I visited while I researched this book. I spoke with many who know the ground well—geographers, ecologists, farmers, biologists, hunters, historians, and others—and asked them to look down and tell me what they saw. I wanted to learn the science of the ground and to find out how our changing relationship with the ground impacts our physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being.

I visited places where humans have a distinct relationship to the ground, moving from some of our oldest cities to some of our last wilderness. What's it like, I wondered, to climb down into a Roman cemetery in London, to share the sandhills in Nebraska with one hundred thousand cranes, to stand in solitude amid the parklike forest clearing in eastern Poland where nine hundred thousand were murdered, to lie back on the Alaskan tundra miles from the nearest road? The oldest traditions and the newest science both tell us the ground is alive in ways that we have never known or have long forgotten. I wanted to know how.

Through my travels I came to know the ground intimately, and to distinguish between different kinds of ground. These different grounds are reflected in the book's three movements: "Paved and Hallowed," "Farmed and Wild," and "Hell and Sacred." While these section titles reflect my journeys from one ground to another, I use the word "and" with purpose: the boundaries between these grounds often blurred.

In the first section, I start with some of our most paved places, the cities where increasing numbers of us live, and move outward into areas only recently paved or perhaps soon to be, ending on some of the most famous grounds of the American Civil War. This section has a deceptively simple ambition to help us become aware of the world beneath the pavement that is so often beneath our feet.

In the second, I focus first on soil, the life in the ground on which all other terrestrial life depends. Moving from grounds we farm to feed our bodies to wilder grounds that feed our spirit too, this section has as its goal an appreciation of the countless ways the ground sustains us.

In the third, I consider what might be hell on Earth, and then visit places that approach the sacred, reaching some of the most evocative and emotionally powerful grounds in the world. I wonder now about action: Knowing what we do about our countless connections, about destruction and care, what relationship with the ground will we choose?

I begin near the top of One World Trade Center. To the east across the water, a garden of towers spreads, marking Brooklyn and beyond. To the south, New York Harbor dominates. West across the Hudson, towers mark the Jersey City waterfront, then concrete to the horizon. It's not really true, as the advertising for the observatory claims with its trademarked slogan, that you can "See Forever." But I'm as interested in what can't be seen. Looking down at the countless buildings, the famous streets and bridges, only a few scattered patches of green or brown peek through, a few rows or groves of trees. The rooftops and avenues, the plazas and streets, all the surfaces are paved with asphalt and concrete.

Think of the sheer weight of all this civilization—buildings, pavement, people, cars. One recent estimate for the total weight of the buildings on Manhattan alone used the Empire State Building (350,000 tons) as a starting point and finished with a total figure of more than 118 million tons. The more than five hundred miles of streets and a similar number for sidewalks weighed in at more than four million tons. Add to that figure two million tons of vehicles (including 450 dump trucks at 35 tons each and more than six thousand 38-ton subway cars), pets, food, and people (which, added together, weigh about what the Empire State Building weighs), and the island supports more than 125 million tons of human stuff. The city, like cities everywhere, literally weighs on the ground, ground that is essentially entombed.

In the northern Minnesota lake country where my family has a cabin, it's tradition among the Ojibwe to begin any journey by praying in the four directions—a way of honoring and giving thanks. As I circle the 102nd floor, it feels like I am doing something similar. The view from here offers a chance for each of us to hold our breath "in the presence of this continent." The view from so far up reminds us that even when we can see "forever," there is more to see beyond and beneath, and more to know of a world that still calls for all our capacity to wonder.


The ground we forget, and the grounds we remember.




1 the solid surface of the earth.

2 (grounds) the basis for belief, action, or argument.


Next to One World Trade Center, as part of the National September 11 Memorial, are the footprints where the two buildings stood, square depressions, water falling down the four sides and flowing into smaller squares. At ground level, the chest-high walls are etched with the names of those who died. Maybe most affecting are the names of the firefighters, those who rushed to help others, their names grouped together as they were in life. Next to the building footprints, a plaza holds some four hundred swamp white oaks and several rectangles of turfgrass. Small signs warn visitors off the grass, and when I ask a guard why, she replies, "It's not a park; it's a place to pay respects." So I will follow a biblical lead. "Remove the sandals from your feet," Moses is told before approaching the burning bush, "for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." I take a seat away from the crowds, remove my shoes, and place my bare feet on the concrete. Sometimes in the northern forest, I'll walk the loamy ground under Norway pines, salmon-colored needles cushioning my feet. But in day-to-day city and suburban life?

The experience of feeling our feet on natural ground, common throughout most of human history, has become increasingly rare. And for anyone in a city, rightly so—the hard and often filthy artificial surfaces beneath our feet call for some protection. The skin on the soles of our feet is our body's thickest and some of its most sensitive, covering a high concentration of nerve endings. Our feet, in fact, are as sensitive as our hands—imagine wearing gloves as much as we have our feet in shoes. And the prints of our toes? As unique as our fingers—some militaries keep inked footprints as backup IDs—and the ridges and curves on the soles of our feet are as unique as those on the palms of our hands.

Around the world we have footprints preserved, in wet sidewalk concrete and clay Mother's Day gifts, but ancient footprints, too. Most recently a 1.5-million-year-old set was found in northern Kenya, likely made by a human ancestor called Homo erectus. So similar to the prints of a modern human are the fossilized find that the archeologist who discovered them said they look "like something that you yourself could have made 20 minutes earlier in some kind of wet sediment just next to the site." Wherever you are, a footprint offers an invitation to imagine those who walked here before you.

We are made for walking; our bodies evolved to perform this skill. And walking is maybe our most elemental experience of the earth, our most direct contact with the planet on which we rely. Walking (or bipedal locomotion, as it's known in some scientific literature) propels us at the perfect speed to soak up our surroundings, to talk with a friend, to contemplate the impending decision between a slice of pizza or lunch of some other kind. If travel by airplane erases the history, diversity, and beauty of the land we fly over, and driving reduces the world's sensory buffet to a tasteless, scentless, soundless blur, walking is where we have a chance to make it all up.

Maybe that's why so many of us claim that our best thinking comes while walking. Charles Darwin had a "thinking path" outside his home, a circuit on which he knocked a small stone from a pile each time around. Virginia Woolf used walking to get out of her house and venture into an exhilarating evening where women weren't often allowed, to "walk all over London; and see people and imagine their lives." Thoreau thought walking four hours a day to be living well, and wrote an essay in which he extolled the virtues of sauntering, to which the secret of success was "having no particular home, but [being] equally at home everywhere." William Wordsworth is said to have walked some 180,000 miles in his lifetime, which averages to more than six miles a day beginning at age five. There are countless famous examples of how walking stirs the soul and makes us who we are.

These days, though, we don't walk much. In fact, we in the United States walk less than the inhabitants of any other industrialized country. That my immediate examples above all hail from the nineteenth century makes sense, as even the "civilized" world was still made for walking then, not yet rearranged for cars, trucks, and buses. To mourn the loss of walking isn't merely to pine for the good old days, but to call attention to something we have always enjoyed. In New York, Paris, and other walking-friendly cities, we humans take advantage; we walk. I think we understand, as Rebecca Solnit explains in Wanderlust, that with the loss of walking we lose "an ancient and profound relationship with the body, world, and imagination."

We are learning more all the time about the true costs of this loss. As one Slate writer says, "The decline of walking has become a full-blown public health nightmare." One new study after another confirms that walking promotes health and well-being. This is true whether said studies claim that walking will bring "substantial reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular events," or that in terms of improving health, walking is "the equivalent of popping a series of magic pills." In addition to cutting our risk of becoming diabetic, suffering a stroke, or developing cancer, walking reduces hypertension, helps prevent depression, and strengthens the circulatory system. While Amish men take about eighteen thousand steps per day and Amish women fourteen thousand, the average American takes four thousand. Perhaps as a result, only 4 percent of Amish are obese, compared with 30 percent of the general population. Declares the nation's leading newspaper, "To Age Well, Walk."

At the southern end of Manhattan the streets still generally follow the more natural routes adopted by the Dutch from the Indians and developed in a way that reflected the island's hilly topography (the native Lenape name translates as "island of many hills") and swampy ground. Though it runs only as far north as Wall Street (once an actual wall built to keep the English or Indians out), the street map of the Dutch city (New Amsterdam until 1664) remains largely intact. Beyond that boundary lay wilderness. Here, across Houston, I find a very small park, just twenty-five by forty feet, that Time Landscape created in 1978 to preserve (or, actually, to re-create) the forest that "once blanketed Manhattan island." The surrounding area, says the sign, was "once a marshland dotted with sandy hills," the "trout-filled Minetta Brook" making it a popular site for fishing and hunting ducks. I stand outside the park's short fence on flat, smooth, hard concrete. On the other side is dark soil holding living things. Once there was a woodland here of witch hazel, black cherry, and red cedar trunks. Oak, sassafras, sweetgum, and tulip trees, arrowwood and dogwood shrubs, bindweed and catbrier vines, and violets. The small park invites city dwellers "including insects, birds, people, and other animals" to experience "a bygone Manhattan."

Farther up the island, north on Fifth Avenue, the Empire State Building marks the horizon ahead, while behind me One World Trade Center marks the other. At Fourteenth Street I stop, for here begins a most remarkable story about the ground beneath this city.

In 1808, in an attempt to unravel the "evil of confused streets" and to facilitate the development of the island, city commissioners commissioned what would eventually become the street grid of horizontal and vertical lines that defines today's New York City. In doing so they turned to John Randel Jr., first for the grid's design—a survey that took two years to complete—and then for its execution. Turns out the survey was the easy part. To execute the plan, Randel had to mark the grid exactly (and this was a man of precision, in one case complaining that his measurements had set the grid off by 1.8 inches). For six years, the work took him through swamps and woods, farms and fields, over more than eleven thousand acres in total. He was pelted by landowners throwing artichokes and cabbages, chased off property by dogs, and arrested several times. Nonetheless, Randel and his employees placed more than a thousand bolts and monuments to mark future intersections. The development that would follow Randel's work took more than a hundred years to realize, but began almost immediately. Swamps were drained, woods were cleared, farmland and fields paved, the hilly island leveled—the bedrock just beneath the surface blown apart.

In fact, this drastic rearranging of surface life drew—even two hundred years ago—criticism for its brutish disregard of the island's natural topography. Walt Whitman and Frederick Law Olmsted criticized the plan, as did Alexis de Tocqueville, who claimed that it represented the imposition of "relentless monotony." Others criticized the chopping down of forests, burying of streams, and filling in of hollows to create a flat surface on which the commissioners could more easily lay out their grid. "The great principle which governs these plans," wrote one critic, "is to reduce the surface of the earth as nearly as possible to dead level." This is the reason Manhattan's streets are so flat and straight, its long rows of tall buildings creating canyons of stone that echo the sound of traffic, why twice a year the sun sets perfectly aligned along east-west streets, an event that's come to be called Manhattanhenge. Some ancient people's monuments to honor the sky and its gods? Or simply the unintentional result of what another contemporary critic called the "republican predilection for control and balance… (and) distrust of nature."

Though Randel and his men tromped through swamps, climbed hills, and crossed streams, almost none of those natural features figured in their final maps. In fact, even in their field notes the natural world was valuable only as a resource for human use. I think of historian Frederick W. Turner's description of European explorers discovering a New World filled with flowers and sea life and birds, a beauty worthy of inspiring song and poetry and praise—even "a new mythology"—and then his devastating line: "As it was, they took inventory."

Randel's maps take inventory as well, of ground that is portrayed as ready for the city's taking. In this way, Randel's hand-drawn and colored maps—which when connected together to show the entire island stretch nine feet long—reveal the challenge posed by maps in general, that they are abstractions of reality reflecting certain sets of values. It may be obvious that no map can include every tree or bee or birdsong, but the implications may not be so. While on our maps we often see a park as a block of green, for example, or a lake as a blob of blue, more often a field of wildflowers or a stretch of woods is simply left blank. Even today our road maps—think Google—show only blocks of color dissected by streets. These are maps of abstraction, of time schedules telling us when we will arrive, not maps of living things. Whether we use them to understand the route through a city or to make decisions about what to "develop" and why, we would do well to pause. "Caution," a corner of each map might read: "No map can hold the true richness of the world."

Given that the Earth is spinning in space as it spins around the sun, and the sun is spinning in a galaxy that itself is hurtling outward at a thousand kilometers per second, I sometimes wonder how we are able to walk this ground at all. But as with so much else on this close-to-perfect world, it turns out that our planet spins at just the right speed to keep us happily walking crowded sidewalks, pizza in hand. The concept is this: as in a subway car or an airplane in flight, we seem set in place—we can walk around, stand on one leg, perform daring feats of balance—even though the train or plane is rushing us from one locale to another. It's only when that vehicle begins to slow or accelerate that we feel the pull—our body no longer quite sharing the vehicle's speed. All the spinning through space of celestial bodies doesn't affect us here on Earth because all these various bodies are moving at a constant rate.

There's also the fact of gravity. Newton gave us a basic understanding, which Einstein then complicated. Early in the twenty-first century, gravity is still acknowledged as "the most puzzling and least understood of the four fundamental forces of nature." Any simple definition of the word hides the fact that scientists still have loads of questions. "A force pulling together all matter," says one definition; another reveals that gravity not only dictates the movement of the planets in orbit around the sun and the movement of our oceans' tides, but also "the adherence of humans to Earth." And that's not all. Besides bringing such benefits as holding our atmosphere in place, gravity actually shapes our bodies. To put it another way, we are physically shaped—our bones and muscles molded—by our body's resistance to gravity's constant pull.

The mysteries of gravity relate to us in other ways too. After spending 340 days in space, American astronaut Scott Kelly admitted that the hardest challenge wasn't the effect of weightlessness on his body but "being isolated from people on the ground who are important to you." That pull toward our loved ones is a feeling we all can understand. And there's more: Kelly also felt a pull to the planet ("The solid earth!") on which we all rely. After witnessing great spreads of pollution, storms the size of which we have never seen, and the fragility of the atmosphere, he said, "I feel more like an environmentalist since I've been up here." Like the size of the universe or time before your time, gravity, a force we only begin to understand though it shapes Earth's life, seems a mystery too big to hold, and to which the only worthy response is astonishment and thanks.

Walking past Rockefeller Center I think of the annual Christmas tree in the square, sawed at its base and delivered by semi, set atop a sea of concrete. Everywhere in this city you will find that juxtaposition of the natural world with the human-made: the rooftop garden, the small pine on a patio thirty floors up, the overgrown rail line turned park. It's a juxtaposition dramatically displayed on the cover of Eric Sanderson's book Mannahatta


  • Praise for The Ground Beneath Us

    "A beautiful call for deeper physical, intellectual, and emotional connections between people and Earth. Paul Bogard eloquently describes the roots of culture and ecology, and the importance of the many forms of 'ground' and soil for our collective future."—David George Haskell, author of The Songs of Trees and the Pulitzer finalist, The Forest Unseen; Professor of Biology, University of the South
  • "An intriguing examination of the ground, which 'holds the wild world in place'.... environmental journalist Bogard contributes an expert if unsettling account of the 'living ground.' In the author's expansive view, the ground is whatever lies under our feet, and he explores the many ways humans exploit it until, ultimately, they pave it.... insightful, wide-ranging."—Kirkus
  • "Bogard considers both built landscapes and more natural ones in this diverse and engaging discussion on dirt. Examining urban areas such as New York City, he looks at "what's gone missing, what remains, what may come to be." The soil is "a trove of biodiversity" that we have yet to fully explore, and Bogard chats with an array of experts to learn how to dig deeper."

    Publishers Weekly
  • "A whopper of a cautionary tale... Beyond ecological concerns, Bogard asserts that pavement disconnects us from nature, making the land seem homogeneous and undermining our well-being. The fragility of the life-giving earth we call dirt is the fragility of us all."—Booklist
  • "Bogard reminds us of the riches underfoot, from New York's Central Park soil biome, which teems with thousands of freshly discovered species, to terrestrial pitstops that keep migrating birds on the wing."—Nature
  • "With lively and deeply personal prose, Bogard unlocks the secret world of earth itself: from the startling biodiversity of soil, to hallowed sites like Gettysburg and New York's World Trade Center, to all that is sacred and profane we ask the ground to hold.... This is a gorgeous--and very important--book. Once you've read it, you won't walk, stand, or sway the same way again."—Bookish
  • "Mind-blowing.... For the science-minded, this book is a dream and conservationists will want to share, share, share. If you're curious about what's underfoot or under-pavement, The Ground Beneath Us will keep you rooted in your chair."—Terri Schlichenmeyer, Long View Daily News
  • Praise for The End of Night

    Shortlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

    Finalist, Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award

    Chosen as one of Gizmodo's Best Books of 2013

    An Amazon Best Book of the Month, Nonfiction: Editors' Pick, July 2013

    2014 Nautilus Award Silver Winner
  • "A lyrical, far-reaching book. Part elegy, part call-to-arms, The End of Night feels like an essential addition to the literature of nature." -- Boston Globe
  • "A moving, poetic, immersive, multifaceted, and thought-provoking study... Terrific." -- Publishers Weekly
  • "[Bogard] offers delightful insights from experts on the activities of nature during the night.... Bogard will leave readers in awe of darkness and in admiration of his book." -- Library Journal (starred review)
  • "It's impossible to read it without feeling the impulse to set out for the spaces beyond the city limits and spread out a blanket under the stars." -- Columbus Dispatch
  • "Absorbing... The End of Night delivers a forceful...critique of our overexposed world." -- Wall Street Journal
  • "A hymn to vanished darkness. A literary journey. This is a rich book. As you read it, you too will want to reclaim the night and perhaps rediscover the heavens of the Enlightenment." -- Nature

On Sale
Mar 21, 2017
Page Count
320 pages

Paul Bogard

About the Author

Paul Bogard is the author of The End of Night and the editor of the anthology Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark. His writing and commentary on the natural world have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on Slate, Salon, and All Things Considered. He teaches creative nonfiction at James Madison University and lives in Virginia and Minnesota.

Learn more about this author