Half of the world’s population lives in coastal regions lapped by tidal waters. Yet how little most of us know about the tide.
Our ability to predict and understand the tide depends on centuries of science, from the observations of Aristotle and the theories of Newton to today’s supercomputer calculations. This story is punctuated here by notable tidal episodes in history, from Caesar’s thwarted invasion of Britain to the catastrophic flooding of Venice, and interwoven with a rich folklore that continues to inspire art and literature today.
With Aldersey-Williams as our guide to the most feared and celebrated tidal features on the planet, from the original maelstrøm in Scandinavia to the world’s highest tides in Nova Scotia to the crumbling coast of East Anglia, the importance of the tide, and the way it has shaped – and will continue to shape – our civilization, becomes startlingly clear.
“Hugh Aldersey-Williams offers a strikingly British blend of history, science, literature, eccentric travel and wayward storytelling. It is profound and powerful, and should win prizes.” - The Sunday Times
“This fascinating book deftly explores the dramatic history, critical importance, and scientific wonder of the tides. Hugh Aldersey-Williams is a marvelous guide who takes the reader on a sweeping and thought-provoking adventure into the heart of one of the most captivating, mysterious, and elemental forces of nature.” - Eric Jay Dolin, author of Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse
“Prepare for a voyage with the best of companions - Hugh Aldersey-Williams is a storyteller supreme, and he's found a subject worthy of his talents.” - Edward Dolnick, author of The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World