Book Review: Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver by Jill Heinerth

What’s the story?:

From one of the world’s most renowned cave divers, a firsthand account of exploring the earth’s final frontier: the hidden depths of our oceans and the sunken caves inside our planet

More people have died exploring underwater caves than climbing Mount Everest, and we know more about deep space than we do about the depths of our oceans. From one of the top cave divers working today—and one of the very few women in her field—Into the Planet blends science, adventure, and memoir to bring readers face-to-face with the terror and beauty of earth’s remaining unknowns and the extremes of human capability.

Jill Heinerth—the first person in history to dive deep into an Antarctic iceberg and leader of a team that discovered the ancient watery remains of Mayan civilizations—has descended farther into the inner depths of our planet than any other woman. She takes us into the harrowing split-second decisions that determine whether a diver makes it back to safety, the prejudices that prevent women from pursuing careers underwater, and her endeavor to recover a fallen friend’s body from the confines of a cave. But there’s beauty beyond the danger of diving, and while Heinerth swims beneath our feet in the lifeblood of our planet, she works with biologists discovering new species, physicists tracking climate change, and hydrogeologists examining our finite freshwater reserves.

Written with hair-raising intensity, Into the Planet is the first book to deliver an intimate account of cave diving, transporting readers deep into inner space, where fear must be reconciled and a mission’s success balances between knowing one’s limits and pushing the envelope of human endurance.


I find it hard to get into a nonfiction book. I want the book to often read like a fiction book. I was given this book from TBR- Tailored Book Recommendations, from BookRiot. I pay for the subscription myself, and love the service. I always find that they send me things that I would not normally pick for myself. This book was one of those books.

Cave diving is something I’ve never really thought about because I am scared of drowning. I don’t find comfort in the idea of going hundreds of miles beneath the water. There are so many things that could go wrong and kill you. I also have the image of Jaws in my head everytime I think of going scuba-diving.

What I love most about Jill Heinerth’s writing is how honest she is with her story. She doesn’t sugar-coat a lot of things and it is that rawness that made me want to read more of her story. She’s a strong woman and she overcame a lot of things to get her name in the history books, and the job that she calls hers. I had no idea how competitive and complete the world of cave diving was, especially for women. It was eye-opening and made me more aware of my world. It also made me say WOMEN ARE AWESOME!

I will say that this book is probably not for everyone. There are some technical terms and some science type things described in this book. There were times I did have to take a break just because it got a bit much for me to process, however, it didn’t discourage me. If you want to see what a woman can do in a field that is deadly and exciting, this book is definitely for you.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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