The Turning Tide: A Biography of the Irish Sea (Hardcover)

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An immersive history of a pivotal stretch of water

'Fascinating, spellbinding, erudite and great fun.' Roddy Doyle

'Remarkable. Lively ... Gower writes beautifully and] the book is profoundly popular.'Times Literary Supplement

The Turning Tide is a hymn to a sea passage of world-historical importance. Combining social and cultural history, nature-writing, travelogue and politics, Jon Gower charts a sea which has carried both Vikings and saints, invasion forces and furtive gun-runners, writers, musicians and fishermen.

The divided but interconnected waters of the Irish Sea - from the narrow North Channel through St George's Channel to where the Celtic sea opens out into wide Atlantic - have a turbulent history to match the violence of its storms. Jon Gower is a sympathetic and interested pilot, taking the reader to the great shipyards of Belfast and through the mass exodus of the starving during the Irish Famine in coffin boats bound for America. He follows the migrations of working men and women looking for work in England and tells the tales of more casual travellers: sometimes seasick, often homesick too.

The Irish Sea is also a place with an abundant natural history. The rarest sea bird in Europe visits its coasts in summer while the rarest goose wings in during winter. Jon Gower navigates waters teeming with life, filled with seals and salt-tanged stories and surveyed by seabirds.

At a time when Irish affairs feel like they are building towards an historic crescendo, he tells the story of the people who have crossed these waters, and who live on their shores. Lyrically written and deeply considered, this is a remarkable and far-reaching book.

About the Author

Jon Gower grew up in Llanelli, Wales and studied English at Cambridge University. A former BBC Wales Arts and Media correspondent, he has been making documentary programmes for television and radio for several decades. He has over thirty books to his name, in both Welsh and English. His last trade book in English, The Story of Wales, with an introduction from Huw Edwards, was published to accompany a landmark BBC series broadcast. He lives in Cardiff, Wales, with his wife Sarah and two daughters, Elena and Onwy.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780008532635
ISBN-10: 000853263X
Publisher: Harpernorth
Publication Date: September 5th, 2023
Pages: 336
Language: English