The Mother Earth News
"This REMARKABLE AND SIMPLE-TO-UNDERSTAND GUIDE will show you how to get light, air, and good views; how to cut your material costs up to 90%; how to build greenhouses into your home; how to construct build-in root cellars, wine cellars, and fallout shelters; how to use solar energy effectively; how to build into hillsides and solve drainage problems; plus how to handle zoning and building codes. IF YOURE THINKING OF BUILDING YOUR OWN LIVABLE, PLEASANT, LIGHT AND AIRY AND TUNED-INTO-NATURE HOME, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU."
The Next Whole Earth Catalog
"A comprehensive how-to guide for the do-it-yourselfer. Oehler flatly doesnt like concrete, and the structural core of his sub-surface dwellings is what he calls the "PSP system" (post-shoring-polyethylene)
it sounds like THE VERY BEST LOW-COST
HOME GOING. Even if youre holding out for a guide on concrete underground construction, Oehlers book provides many times its cost in perceptive tips on sub-surface design, philosophy, living, and underground building in general."
Solar Energy Digest
"DETAILED INFORMATION ON HOW TO BUILD AN UNDERGROUND HOUSE TO SUIT ALMOST ANY TERRAIN AND POCKETBOOK
"A very readable book
pulls no punches. Youll like it whether you plan to build an underground house or not."
American Library Associations Booklist
"Underground houses are few, mostly variations on earth-berm or downhill-facing designs. This seven-year pioneer experience with an uphill-facing hobbit house is A REVELATION
plenty of natural light. No dark basement this. Appended designs incorporate electricity, plumbing, french drains, clerestories, and greenhouses."
San Francisco Review of Books
"ONE POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE TO THE OUTRAGEOUS COST OF COMMERCIAL HOUSING IS TO ADOPT THE UNDERGROUND DESIGN VISION OF MIKE OEHLER. The author is an authority on the subject, having lectured at Berkeley, Harvard, and elsewhere, and more importantly, having lived underground in a self-designed home for the past [twenty-nine] years. One should not assume that life in an inexpensive underground home is either dank or cryptlike. Oehler guarantees builders of subterranean dwellings such amenities as light, fresh air, and views."
"Shares his wisdom and experience
Oehler and friends have developed homes hobbit houses, as he calls them that are light, well ventilated, multileveled, and highly energy-efficient. The architectural possibilities are numerous; such homes can accommodate one person living simply or a large family
authored by a seasoned homesteader
Oehlers years of experience and SIMPLE, BUT FULL EXPLANATIONS make this inexpensive mode of home construction BOTH COMPREHENSIBLE AND TANTALIZING."
Daniel Lusk, National Public Radio
He has written A WONDERFULLY UNSOPHISTICATED MANUAL and filled it with design ideas and even plans for building in different ways and on different kinds of terrain
entertaining, sometimes philosophical
A VALUABLE DOCUMENT."
"THE AUTHOR SHOULD BE GIVEN AN AWARD for proving that an energy-efficient house is only as expensive as you want it to be
could save you dollars too
a joy to read
presents a new view into the evergrowing field of underground housing. IF YOU ARE PLAYING WITH THE IDEA OF AN UNDERGROUND STURCTURE, PICK UP A COPY OF THIS BOOK."
Jason Jacobs - June 13, 2009 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
Excellent book to start planning your new home
In my opinion, this book is awesome! It gives a general overview of planning your new underground home. The designs blew me away.
Just remember, if you want the nuts and bolts to building your new underground home, you need the DVD set for $95. The book is a cheaper way to check out what goes into building underground.
GF113 - September 29, 2009 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
Great How-To Book
This book illustrates and explains how to create an affordable underground house with far more advantages than an above ground house. Explains step by step planning, materials, construction, features, and some sample layouts to get you started. Along with much more.
This is the book I plan to use when I build my house.
homesteader - September 4, 2009 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
underground homes books
Found this book informative, well written and just the information I was looking for. Started building my own and will use it often.
D. Collins - January 6, 2009 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
Excellent for what it is
This book is quite interesting and is, as far as I can tell, intended as a primer to the concept rather than a complete recipe. Once you read this book you understand the major concepts at play, can visualize the options available, and understand why some ideas work and others don't. It thoroughly covers major pitfalls, practical lessons from the over 30 years these houses have been actually built (well, centuries if you want to count older methods for building them) and has a good update from the author in the back. I found it VERY useful as I am interested in this method of construction and this book has confirmed my interest while pointing me in very useful directions to get further information.
If you are at all interested in building your own home, take a look at this construction method and understand why there are such huge advantages over standard "clapboard" styles of construction - a high quality earth-structured home will trump a high quality freestanding home in almost every single regard every time.
Kyle B. - December 13, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
Mike is an original thinker/curmudgeon. Everyone interested in building with natural materials should study his ideas. His DVD set is more complete than this book and incorporates 25 years of experience building this way. Get them both. The only other natural material, owner-builder books of this profundity are: Ken Kern's "The owner built home" and the gorgeous treatise on building with cob, "The hand-sculpted house." Most people would do well to combine techniques and materials to fit your site, materials available and tastes.
Robert D. Steele - September 27, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
Beyond 5 Stars--Inspirational, Valuable, Practical
This book is phenomenally wise, useful, easy to read, and plain inspiring. I picked it up this morning intending to get back to it tonight and ended up not putting it down at all.
I have bought and read a number of underground building books as well as log cabin books, and would sort them into three categories:
A Expensive log homes for the really rich
B Moderate earth-covered (not quite underground) homes for the middle
C This book, for those who truly want to integrate innovation and low cost with deep Earth comfort and resilience and all the good stuff that goes with it.
This book, in short, is in a class of its own. Most will notice that it was first offered in 1978. As the USA goes through a major financial crisis that proves nothing has changed--Wall Street and the two "parties" it has bought down to their lost souls are still here, still looting the commonwealth--this book proves that it is timeless.
There is indeed a great deal of land across this great country where one can still afford to "dig in," and this could not be a better time to be thinking about renting what you have now in the close in fragile areas, and setting up alternative housing with adjacent land for a basic Life Garden.
As I went through each chapter I found the list of materials, the prices, the diagrams, and the text all coherent, concise, and totally "on target." Black and white photographs throughout, and a handful of color photographs in the middle, round the book out.
The book ends by discreetly recommending a tape series on design as the key element for success, and one that professional architects generally overlook (as we are all learning, the "experts" in finance and other areas are really "credentialed" but NOT experts).
I LIKE THIS BOOK. As an afterthought, it is recommended by just about every major alternative living, green energy, and sanity outpost (Vermont, Oregon, Washington State) reviewer. This book is a "good deal" and inspiring to boot.
Floyd Oathout - August 27, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
This is the best book I have read on alternative buildings. The author is very sensible about the whole project without being to much of a hippie. If my wife hadn't threatened divorce I would be building one of these houses right now. I HIGHLY recommend it!
Michael Skowronski - April 27, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
Great Ideas Brilliant Research
I enjoyed this book very much and used it as a basis for designing an underground building for my plantation resort in India. Mike goes into good detail concerning how to build an inexpensive home using his techniques and there are plenty of pictures to help you understand the procedures. I haven't seen anything else out there as good as this for underground building...if you do please let me know.
Author of Unforgettable: A Love and Spiritual Growth Story
mark mathias - August 17, 2006 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
What a great book!
I was amazed by this book. Not only does it provide plenty of details, but it is easy for anyone to understand.
Some other reviews comment on some of Mike's opinions. You have to remember, the world of the 70's was a lot different from today. No Political Correct bull! It was common for national magazines to get off on the ranting of the turbulent times. This doesn't distract from the book though, and I personally think it adds a bit of character to the book.
If you have ever thought of building an underground house, or getting away from the commercialism in modern society, this is the book for you. This is a must for the homesteader's library.
If I could ask for other things in this book, it would be a bigger description of the newer building methods in the update section. Also, some more three dement ional drawings of the inside of the houses. You can figure out what's going on but sometimes you have to study the perspective drawings and pictures a bit. I agree with another reviewer, a biography would be nice.
Great book, you will not be disappointed!
A Customer - February 3, 2004 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
Who Wants to Look at Houses?
I first purchased this book about twenty years ago, then lent out my copy and have been without it for five years or more. Having recently bought a new copy, I have just finished re-reading it once again. I find the author's ideas to be intelligent, logical, and revolutionary. His personality comes through strongly as he is a man who is not afraid to state his opinions. I find this book to be an interesting read for this reason alone, but strongly recommend it on the basis of the building system he outlines. He explains to the reader, in simple, easily comprehensible language, just how to go about building a warm in winter, cool in summer, low cost home, that is easy on both the eye and the environment.
A huge advantage is that a person living in such a home doesn't have to look at neighbor's homes, and, for their own part, is residing in a home that blends in with the surrounding countryside. If, by good fortune or good planning, one lives on enough acreage that viewing a neighbor's house is not an issue, there is still the benefit of having the home tucked away out of sight, part of the earth around it.
Having never been the type to build a "impressive" home, I am more intersted in staying out of sight and being left alone. I enjoy the woods and wildlife. Mike Oehler shows us how to build a home that lets me do just that.
Scott Knudsen - December 16, 2002 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
This book is full of great ideas on building a low cost home. A great book for your underground house library. A must have for anyone interested in Underground (earthen) houses.
Joseph E. Sniezek - September 26, 2002 Amazon 5 out of 5 stars
This book is excellent. I've wanted a copy for years, but now-a-days, it's very hard to find. I recommend it to everyone, provided you keep in mind the circumstances of rural Idaho. One person noted with horror the keeping of loaded guns (can be seen in the background of one of the photos). Don't forget Idaho
is bear country. And there is a bit of editorializing, but rural folk do that; you get used to it.
I don't fully agree with the earth flooring, unless you were really trying to economize. Rather, I like the idea of laying down plywood under the carpeting, but not nailing it down - it's still moveable if you need to reach your piping, and it can move with the house if it shifts, but there's less settling than carpet/earth. I can't believe carpet/earth doesn't become lumpy eventually.The one thing missing (maybe it'd be better in another book), is a biography of Mike. How did he come by his acreage in Idaho. Did he spend all his money on land and have none for a house? How did he survive all these years, farming/hunting? A person still need cash for taxes and such. His books and his lecturing brings in a little money; does he do anything else? I'd be interested in knowing how to start a lecture circuit, or self publish a book. I think there's an audience for this kind of practical information.