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Book Review : “The $50 and up underground house book : How to design and build underground”, by Mike Oehler

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To start my book reviews for, I had to go big. “The $50 and up underground house book” is probably one of the most well-known, well-marketed books on affordable underground home construction. You can hardly do a search for the subject without stumbling on countless references, and at the very least one can consider it a classic in it’s field. The book offers a fairly comprehensive, diverse perspective geared torwards survivalism and rustic earthen roof homes, mostly made out of natural log materials. The title says it all – bare-bones, cheap, fairly eco-friendly homes that you can make out of a variety of material types. The author claims to have constructed a “basic model” for literally under $50, using just a few hardware-store items and a cheap heating stove along side plenty of gathered lumber and natural wood to construct the house, and although small to contemporary standards the house illustrated definitely has a generous amount of rustic charm.
Now, as with any review, there are a few downsides to the book. The book meanders quite a bit towards otherwise-unrelated liberty and survivalist rants, and although it’s not off-putting for the most part, it does do a little injustice to the information that could have been otherwise presented there. Also, it does present a few outdated methods and construction techniques that wouldn’t otherwise pass most building codes, but in his defense a lot of underground home building techniques may not either.
All in all, I would recommend it be in the library of any underground home enthusiast, but it may be more of a source of underground building inspiration than a go-to source for other types of underground homes.
B&W with one color insert and color cover, softback, 1978 and 1979