Monday, May 10, 2010

The Ditch

Peter Unwin's story of the English Channel begins at the pre-historic land bridge which, thousands of years ago linked Britain with the Continent. Although he captures a wealth of detail in his history, it does sweep through time without ever becoming ponderous.

The theme of the book centres around the role played by the famous strip of water in the creation of the various peoples who have inhabited, explored, pillaged, fished, traded and controlled it's edges. Central to all this, of course, is the role played by boats, tides, winds and hazards. The plans and dreams of kings, princes, fuhrers and emperors are all subject to the same forces and pretty much the same natural constraints until the landing of a little French monoplane on the cliffs of Dover early in the Twentieth Century. The role of seacraft in the security of nations was forever altered by the implications of its arrival.

A very interesting and approachable read.
Published by Review Books ISBN 0 7472 4452 9

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