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The Frayed Atlantic Edge: A Historian’s Journey from Shetland to the Channel

Narrated by: Ed Hughes
Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Summary

The story of a breathtaking kayak journey along the weather-ravaged coasts of Atlantic Britain and Ireland, undertaken by a leading historian and nature writer. In a book of staggering range and beauty, learn how wind, rock and ocean have shaped the diverse communities of coastal Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall.

Over the course of a year, leading historian and nature writer David Gange kayaked the weather-ravaged coasts of Atlantic Britain and Ireland from north to south: every cove, sound, inlet, island. The story of his journey is one of staggering adventure, range and beauty. And one which reveals how the similar ingredients of wind, rock and ocean have been transformed into wildly different Atlantic cultures in coastal Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall. For too long, Gange argues, the significance of coasts has been underestimated and the potential of small boats as tools to make sense of these histories rarely explored. This audiobook seeks to put this imbalance right.

Paddling alone in sun and storms, among dozens of whales and countless seabirds, Gange and his kayak travelled through a Shetland summer, Scottish winter and Irish spring before reaching Wales and Cornwall.

Sitting low in the water, as did millions in eras when coasts were the main arteries of trade and communication, Gange describes, in captivating prose and loving detail, the experiences of kayaking, coastal living and historical discovery. Drawing on the archives of islands and coastal towns, as well as their vast poetic literatures in many languages, he shows that the neglected histories of these stunning regions are of real importance in reconceptualising both the past and the future of the whole archipelago. It is a history of Britain and Ireland like no other.

©2019 David Gange (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"This is the book that has been wanting to be written for decades: the ragged fringe of Britain as a laboratory for the human spirit, challenging, beautiful, a place where sea and land are deeply interpenetrated, often materially impoverished and half obscured by a mawkish romanticism, but actually rich and inevitably complex: and here is the man to do it - physically resourceful, articulate, clear-eyed, informed, attentive to the realities, and crucially at home in all the elements. A book reliant in the end on one key fact: edges are revelatory." (Adam Nicolson, winner of the Wainwright Prize 2018)

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exceptionally refreshing and thought provoking

I've exceptionally enjoyed listening to this along with the Kindle version when I wanted to pause and make notes on more detail. the combination of the excellent narration with the writing style provides a visceral and evocative window into the perspectives of the Communities he describes on this this journey. I think I got more from this book because I'd already read about half a dozen of the other books he refers to on his journey but I've been left with doesn't more I wish to read in the future