Publication Date: 06/10/2022 ISBN: 9781780277981 Category:

The Two-Headed Whale

Sandy Winterbottom

Publisher: Birlinn General
Publication Date: 06/10/2022 ISBN: 9781780277981 Category:


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Shortlisted for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award

In 2016, Sandy Winterbottom embarked on an epic six-week tall-ship voyage from Uruguay to Antarctica. At the mid-way stop in South Georgia, her pristine image of the Antarctic was shattered when she discovered the dark legacy of twentieth century industrial-scale whaling. Enraged by what she found, she was quick to blame the men who undertook this wholescale slaughter, but then she stumbled upon the grave of an eighteen-year-old whaler from Edinburgh who she could not allow to bear the brunt of blame. There are two sides to every story.

The Two-Headed Whale vividly brings to life the spectacular scenery and wildlife of the vast Southern Oceans, set alongside the true-life story of Anthony Ford, the boy in the grave, as he sailed the same seas and toiled in an industry where profits outranked human life. In this compelling account, Sandy challenges our preconceptions of the Antarctic, weaving in themes of colonialism, capitalism and its link to both environmental and human exploitation. Drawing together threads of nature and travel writing with an unflinching narrative of life onboard a whaling factory ship and the legacy it left behind, The Two-Headed Whale leaves us questioning our troubled relationship with the extraordinary abundance of this planet.

Publisher Review

'An alluring-sounding blend of travel and nature writing' * The Bookseller * 'Compassionate and clear sighted, The Two-Headed Whale brings vividly to life a little-known part of the world, and a little-known part of British history' -- Malachy Tallack 'A poised, clear-eyed and nuanced exploration of large themes, this book faces up squarely to concerns that are both personal and global. The writing - impassioned, resolute, restrained - is affecting and will endure' -- Kevin MacNeil

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