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The $50 and Up Underground House Book
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The $50 and Up Underground House Book

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  236 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The $50 & Up Underground House Book teaches how to build the lowest cost, most sunshine-filled, best ventilated and driest underground houses of all. It teaches how to incorporate greenhouses, root cellars and fallout shelters into an underground home. It covers both hillside and flat land design, and explains how to solve drainage problems with dependable gravity rath ...more
Hardcover, 4th Edition, 115 pages
Published December 1st 1981 by Mole Publishing Company (first published 1978)
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Dec 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Astounding. This kind of house isn't likely to catch on in the US anytime in the near future, but if it did...we'd be a different nation. When I first encountered this book, I felt as though I had unlocked some magical tome. Not having authorization to check the book out, I stayed at a table and copied the drawings by hand, taking notes wherever I needed them.

Simply put, this is a book about how to take a shovel, a pick, an axe or chainsaw, a hammer, a saw, some boards, a sheet of plastic, and
Rebekah Gamble
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Alright, there's drama with this book- mostly the writer can be a bit of a jerk, and really, no one cares about his personal opinions and he doesn't seem to know that. Also, some things in the book are somewhat out of date. Otherwise, it's a great read with useful pointers and even places to go for more information in tough spots. The man's crazy and that's a very good thing in this case.
Robert Beveridge
Aug 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those with thick skins interested in saving money on their utility bills
Mike Oehler, The $50 and Up Underground House Book (Mole Publishing, 1981)

First off: not to put too fine a point on it, Mike Oehler is a sexist asshole. Well, there is a possibility that Mike Oehler was a sexist asshole in the seventies and that leopard has changed his spots; however, we'll note in passing that the edition I read was a sixth, from 1997, with a number of updates, and he chose to leave the bit in the introduction about how much he hates liberated women, some nasty comments on a dr
Aug 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is just crazy. It's an introductory guide to building, more or less by hand, elaborate partially or mostly underground houses, preferably on hillsides. These houses range from a grungy unsafe burrow with dirt floors to something like a log cabin, with heating, plumbing, windows, and multiple bedrooms and exits. It sounds like a made up fantasy for people who just read The Hobbit, but there are lots of pictures and detailed architectural diagrams of comfy, if spare, human-sized real lif ...more
Beth Lequeuvre
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I admit, introducing the author as the drunk bellowing at the end of the bar who dislikes "liberated" women, most architecture, tv & cars was not winning me over from the beginning. I am a huge fan of underground homes and wanted to learn more so I soldiered on. I learned the author was not university educated but also neither was Frank Lloyd Wright. His homes are designed with Post/Shoring/Polyethylene. There were not very many pictures and the black and white photos that were available wer ...more
Victoria Haf
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mike Oehler te enseña como ha construido sus casas subterráneas, es un buen libro incluso si tu no quieres construir una porque en general te da consejos de como hacer una casa que funcione bien y cubra las necesidades de vida. Ideal para la gente DIY y los interesados en permacultura, va muy bien con el libro de "el arquitecto descalzo" . Realmente te dan ganas de vivir en las casas que te describe, además tiene ilustraciones muy claras.
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is a more readable and useful version of Walden --- opinionated guy uses lots of muscle power and little money to build a house back in the woods.

Despite his frequent rants against liberated women, I nearly gave this five stars, but ended up docking one because the actual instructions for building were a bit scattered, making them tough to follow. On the other hand, I enjoyed reading a book about under-building, complete with a chapter on how to get around building codes.
Elisabeth M
Dec 07, 2008 marked it as to-read
While they say it's problematically non-compliant with current building codes, I'd like to see what this fellow suggests toward cost-efficient underground building strategies. Maybe his ideas could be adapted. Hopefully? Seems worth reading, either way.
Shannon Mccalla
Oct 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Good for people who know what they're doing;i.e. familiar with the business end of a shovel. I would need heavy equipment or to hire some big guys to do it. However, very clear and funny. too Only 3 stars because you really need some building experience to do this safely.
Brandi Denson
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
If I never go through with my new plan to build underground, I was still thoroughly entertained by this book. If I *do* build it successfully, I'll come back and give this one the 5th star it likely deserves. :)
Jennifer AM
Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Some good ideas, although not entirely practical. It would be very hard to meet code on one of these although it seems that some people have been permitted to legally build one of these houses. The concept is awesome.
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Underground housing is an option for those desiring to leave a smaller footprint on the Earth's surface. It contains several money saving ideas and was written before the recent end of the world craze.
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up
Good ideas, I think, but hard to follow. The black and white drawing are quite primitive, and were hard for me to make sense of. If you're a skilled builder, this may all seem more clear. Not for the curious.
Charity Henderson-vanderslice
This was an amazing book! The construction techniques he demonstrated were very innovative, yet have been used since the 70s. I recommend this book to anyone interested in green construction. Fascinating!
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very interesting concept. But, it is space dependent in that it will not work in urban areas. This is a book for the 'back to the woods' or survivalist niche audience.
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Some good info, but it's hard to get past his sexist remarks.
I want one! The author is somewhat cranky. I like it.
Mar 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Very interesting and insightful.
Heidi Wellman
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great resource

Great resource

this book is a fantastic resource. at times the details were too technical for me but information was concise and necessary.
Jul 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
pretty interesting but pretty primitive (in a good way)!
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Foolwise and Pennypounds to be made, build your own earth shelter!
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good, if eccentric, read.
Good explanations of how to build and what problems to expect.
Tim Metayer
rated it liked it
Feb 05, 2012
rated it liked it
Dec 18, 2014
rated it really liked it
Sep 04, 2013
John Alden
rated it really liked it
Sep 28, 2015
Chris Oakes
rated it it was ok
May 02, 2016
Mark Patro
rated it really liked it
Jun 22, 2016
Heather Mauricio
rated it really liked it
Aug 07, 2017
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