Dr. Michael Ray Taylor’s fascination with caves has led to the upcoming publication of his second book about his underground adventures.
Hidden Nature: Wild Southern Caves will be released in August by Vanderbilt University Press. Taylor said the book covers his long obsession with wild caves in the South, and mixes personal memoir with recent trips to investigate cave science, biology, history, archeology, and conservation.
“I am especially proud of two chapters that tell the story of a microbiology research project I initiated in Tennessee in which Dr. Jamie Engman’s biology students found an exotic cave microbe previously seen only in deep sea hydrothermal vents,” said Taylor, who serves as chair of the communications and theatre arts department at Henderson State University.
He said parts of two chapters were previously published (in different form) in articles he wrote for the New York Times and Sports Illustrated, but the rest is “original adventure.”
Taylor’s first cave book, Cave Passages, was published 25 years ago. “In some ways, this is its sequel, looking back over a life spent exploring underground,” he said.
“I’d like to give a shout-out to the Henderson faculty writers group, especially Angela Boswell and Travis Langley, for help on many parts of my book as I was writing it,” Taylor said.
Chapter 16, a Tennessee literary website, has published a short excerpt from the new book, found at https://chapter16.org/the-bridge/.
More information about the book is available on Vanderbilt University Press’s website at https://www.vanderbilt.edu/university-press/book/9780826501028.