From Cnut to D-Day: the history and science of the ever-powerful tide explored for the first time. Half of the world's population today lives in coastal regions lapped by tidal waters. On our little island, we live surrounded by water and love to be beside the seaside. But it rises and falls according to rules that are a mystery to almost all of us. To fully grasp the influence of the tide, we must bring together centuries of science but also the literary history and folklore it has inspired: mistaken by Caesar, captured in the art of Turner and now puzzled over by the world's leading researchers. With Aldersey-Williams as our guide, chasing the most feared and celebrated tides around the world, from the original maelstrom in Scandinavia and today's danger-zone in Venice to the 15-metre beasts in Canada, for the first time its effects on our civilization become startlingly clear.
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Hugh Aldersey-Williams studied natural sciences at Cambridge. He is the author of several books exploring science, design and architecture – including Periodic Tales, Anatomies and The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century – and has curated exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Wellcome Collection. He lives in Norfolk with his wife and son.