The Two-Headed Whale
Life and Loss in the Deepest Oceans
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About the Book
Shortlisted for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award
In 2016, 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 dark 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 the vast Southern Oceans, 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. In this compelling account, Sandy challenges our preconceptions of the Antarctic, weaving in themes of colonialism, capitalism and its link to both environmental and human exploitation. 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.
Sandy Winterbottom spent most of her career as an academic teaching and researching in the Environmental Sciences at Stirling University. In 2010, she left to work in the renewables industry but following a life-changing trip to South Georgia and the Antarctic in 2016, she returned to study and completed the Creative Writing Masters Programme at Stirling University, tutored by Kathleen Jamie. She lives near Muckhart in Central Scotland. This is her first book.
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