The author embarks on an amazing trip to Antarctica on a tall ship, to immerse herself in the natural world, hoping to see whales and other wildlife on the way to what she imagines is an icy tundra of wilderness. What she finds is a once well used hub of the whaling industry, and a scarred landscape of detritus it has left behind. Rather than being most struck by Shackleton’s grave, she finds herself drawn to the grave of an 18 yr-old boy who once found a living on one of the huge whaling factory ships that were regular visitors to Antarctica. Winterbottom takes a deep dive into his short life story, and through it reveals the human side of the people working in the most brutal and hazardous of environments. A beautifully told tale about the connections between humans and the most majestic animals to swim the oceans, and an industry that has almost wiped them out, and how it illegally continues to this day. Highly Recommended! — Becky Doherty
Following one woman's voyage across the Antarctic, this elegant debut confronts the dark history of the whaling industry and the mystery of one young whaler's death against the backdrop of the vast Southern Oceans. "Urgent and moving."--Publishers Weekly STARRED review
Tracing the footsteps of Shackleton, 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 tragic 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 Antarctica, 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. 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. Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.