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Tide: The Science and Lore of the Greatest Force on Earth Hardcover – 2 Jun 2016

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (2 Jun. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241003369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241003367
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 4 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

The first in-depth, all-encompassing picture of the key force on our planet: the tide. From the original maelstrøm in Scandinavia to the world's highest tides in Nova Scotia, Hugh Aldersey-Williams brilliantly exposes the importance of the tide, and the way it has shaped - and will continue to shape - our civilization (Publisher's description)

Imagine, if possible, a gently studious Bill Bryson crossed with an upbeat and relaxed WG Sebald. It is a superb book... a delight to read. It is profound and powerful, and should win prizes. (James McConnachie Sunday Times)

A spring tide of colour and historical anecdote laps over the more austere mudflats of the actual science. So much so that I find myself looking forward to the next piece of technical exposition as, like the gentle ebb of a neap tide, his cultural history of tides also slowly reveals and explains each successive advance in our understanding of them (Tom Whipple The Times)

A wonderfully enjoyable exploration of the mysterious rhythms of the sea. I loved the combination of literary, historical, scientific, and experiential accounts of the tides, each ebbing and then flowing to allow the others to wash up on the pages of this remarkable book. (Mark Miodownik, author of 'Stuff Matters')

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)

Science writing at its best ... fascinating and beautiful (Matt Ridley on 'Periodic Tales')

Immensely engaging and continually makes one sit up in surprise (Richard Cohen on 'Periodic Tales' Sunday Times)

Aldersey-Williams is full of good stories and he knows how to tell them well (Graham Farmelo on 'Periodic Tales' Sunday Telegraph)

Engaging and thoughtful... Like some of the most compelling biographers, Aldersey-Williams partly inhabits his subject (Literary Review on The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century)

Exposes new facts and ideas every other page (Horatio Clare Observer)

Aldersey-Williams's corrective meshes a history of the science with tide-related technologies and tidally sculpted events. It's an eloquent ebb and flow (Nature)

From the Back Cover

'A superb book. A delight to read. A strikingly British blend of history, science, literature, eccentric travel and wayward storytelling. Imagine Bill Bryson crossed with WG Sebald' Sunday Times

Tides shape civilizations and directly affect the lives of over half the world's population - but how many of us really understand them and the power they hold over us? In Tide, Hugh Aldersey-Williams explores the science and history of the greatest force on Earth. Whether it's the tide's devastating role in D-Day and Caesar's failed invasion of Britain, the speculations of Aristotle and Newton, witnessing firsthand the fearsome waters around Nova Scotia, or revealing how tides overrun both literature and art, Aldersey-Williams shows how this extraordinary and perilous force continues to make us who and what we are.

'Eye-opening. Using science, history, literature and salty old seafarers' stories Aldersey-Williams explains the many ways in which tides have an impact on the human story' Mail on Sunday

'Enlightening' Observer

'Charming. Aldersey-Williams serves us shoals of dizzying facts and history' Spectator

[thumbnails of backlist]

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If I had picked this book up in my hands in Waterstones I would not have bought it for £18.99. I am very disappointed in its quality of production. The writing is certainly as described by reviewers in the Sunday Times Culture Magazine - but the paper is low quality - the book too chunky to hold and the spine will break if I open it out - BUT the worst disappointment is in the illustrations! I expected some beautiful colour plates - to go with the beautiful use of language. But instead all the photographs are black and white and so small and indistinct I have had to get a lens out to try to see the detail - and still I cant - it seems all right here to put in 6 photographs of a tide with a jetty each measuring 5.5cm x 2cm that are a blurr of dark and slightly lighter shades. I know its science writing first - but it really is taking the proverbial to print a book on cheap paper and copy in very poor quality photographs and charge nearly £19.00 for it. Its not good enough and the problem is not having seen it before I bought it but buying it online and relying on reviews by people I normally trust.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first half of the book is very good, explaining how the likes of Aristotle, Galileo etc. thought the tides work. This is interspersed with some personal anecdotes of the author's tide watching. At the half way he gives us Newton's explanation of how we get two high tides a day. Now I'm quite bright, with a scientific background, and my wife has a PhD and is an engineer. Neither of us understand the explanation. The author could at least have provided some diagrams to assist the explanation. In fact the book loses one star for having appalling black and white fuzzy pictures throughout.
The rest of the book tails off into more personal anecdotes about the sea and save the planet whimsy.
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Format: Hardcover
'Tide' is a fascinating and highly readable book on an extremely complicated scientific phenomenon, from the moment I opened it I found it hard to put the book down Hugh Waldersey-Williams carries us along with his deep interest and enthusiasm for his subject, and adds plenty of his own personal experience and travels to his explanation of the scientific complexities behind the universal occurrence of the tide. He has made fascinating a subject which we usually dismiss as a mundane everyday occurrence or find too overwhelmingly complicated and difficult to comprehend.
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By G. Wylie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Oct. 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this an engrossing read from start to finish, hence the five stars. It could have been an outstanding book if the quality of the black and white illustrations and been improved and the text supplemented, here and there, with helpful diagrams. Nevertheless, living on the shores of a Scottish sea loch, I thoroughly enjoyed the read which fascinated, and informed, throughout.
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By Big Jim TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Aug. 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of a slew of 'science' as entertainment books with lots of personal stuff, this is a decent enough effort but is let down by the poor or absent diagrams and photographs that would have made more sense of some of the content. I like the anecdotes - they add a personal touch that make us feel that we can observe these phenomena with knowledge we didn't have before reading the book, and the science is reasonable clear but in places it becomes a bit of a mish-mash. I don't necessarily think this is the author's fault. I believe that editors are trying to get the most out of the recent popularity of the likes of Tristan Gooley and Robert Macfarlane and sometimes it just doesn't quite come off. A nice coffee table style book with lavish illustrations would fit my bill much better
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was hoping for a lot of interesting technical modern detail about tides. Yes there is some in this book but you have to wade through a lot of self congratulatory artistic mush to find it. Had I known I would not have bought it
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the most interesting books I've read for years.Well written and entertaining. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is fascinating gives a great in depth view of how ties work and why they can vary so much
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