The Book of Tides by William Thomson

Review published on January 20, 2017.

Twice every day, without fail, the UK expands in area, and twice every day it shrinks. This phenomenon is caused by nothing more than the tide going in and out, driven primarily by our celestial neighbour, the Moon. Seeing the power of the sea inspired William Thomson to develop his own business and to travel around the British coast living with his young family in their camper van and studying the tides while indulging in a spot of surfing whenever he could.

The book is divided into eight chapters covering all aspects of the tides around the UK. Each chapter uses bold, clear and beautiful infographics as he explains all about rip tides, rapids, whirlpools and waves. There are further chapters on the concept of stream, something that I had never heard of before, and just what a tidal bore is and the best rivers to see them on. The tsunami merits a whole chapter; thankfully they are rare, in this country at least.

I have always been fascinated by the sea and the effects that the tide has on the coastal environment. My closest patch, Poole Harbour, merits a special mention because of its double high tide twice a day. Strangely, Jersey, which has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world, doesn’t get a mention at all. Even though the book is crammed full of facts and fascinating details, it is still very readable and, more importantly, it is a beautiful book to hold and refer back to.

Paul Cheney 4/3

The Book of Tides by William Thomson
Quercus 9781786480798 hbk Oct 2016

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