Combining travelogue, history and memoir, Tom Nancollas’s Seashaken Houses is a lyrical love letter to seven of Britain and Ireland’s enduring oceanic guardians. From exploring the early pioneering engineering of Eddystone to spending a week experiencing the nerve-wracking, awe-inspiring embrace of Fastnet – the last bastion between Ireland and the battering Atlantic – Nancallos’s book evokes the charm, power and importance of these totemic structures.
Our Non-Fiction Book of the Month for August 2019
Lighthouses are striking totems of our relationship to the sea. For many, they encapsulate a romantic vision of solitary homes amongst the waves, but their original purpose was much more utilitarian than that. Today we still depend upon their guiding lights for the safe passage of ships.
Nowhere is this truer than in the rock lighthouses of Great Britain and Ireland which form a ring of twenty towers built between 1811 and 1904, so-called because they were constructed on desolate rock formations in the middle of the sea, and made of granite to withstand the power of its waves.
Seashaken Houses is a lyrical exploration of these singular towers, the people who risked their lives building and rebuilding them, those that inhabited their circular rooms, and the ways in which we value emblems of our history in a changing world.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 207 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 16 mm
'A deeply personal account, based on meticulous research - and I found it difficult to put down. Above all else, the author's affection and enthusiasm shine forth vividly' - Francis Pryor
'With compelling narrative and fascinating historical anecdotes, Tom shines a spotlight on these little known but spectacular structures' - Roma Agrawal
'Nancollas is intrepid and persistent. His book is a first-hand travel guide to seven places you almost certainly have no chance of ever visiting.' - Bella Bathurst, Spectator
'An impassioned history ... much more than a geeky history, it also helps us think anew about buildings, about heritage, and even about family' - The Bookseller
'Eloquent and well researched ... Lighthouses will never look the same again' - BBC CountryFile Magazine
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“Great little read”
Read this book over two days and loved it. It has everything. A bit of history, a bit of architectural history and even a ghost story. Will also appeal to lovers of the sea. Definitely a book for your holiday pile.
The author's enthusiasm shines through. I've always been fascinated by lighthouses and their stories. This does not disappoint!
“an ode to rock lighthouses ”
I'm not going to lie, I probably wouldn't have thanked you for giving me a book on lighthouses...
But, it is SUCH a pleasure to read. The history is fascinating, the anecdotes are priceless, the story is one... More
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