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, Welshman Jon Gower charts a sea which has carried both Vikings and saints; invasion forces, royals and rebels; 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 the 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.
The Turning Tide navigates waters teeming with life, filled with seals and salt-tanged stories and surveyed by seabirds. Lyrically written and fizzing with curiosity, 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.