Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean
Joy McCann


Paperback | Jun 2018 | NewSouth | 9781742235738 | 256pp | 234x153mm | Stocked item (plenty) | GEN | AUD$32.99, NZD$39.99


‘Written with intensity and excitement, Wild Sea is a poetic exploration of a vast, wondrous ocean and a ripping yarn. TOM GRIFFITHS


‘An apparition of an adult wandering albatross comes into view. A small flutter and powerful wings arch upward in a slow, poised descent to feed the waiting mouth. Fluffy chicks, half-grown, huddle close to the grass. One strides over to a neighbouring giant petrel chick and picks a fight. They remind me of bored teenagers filling in time between snacks.’


Latitude 54° 02′ South, Longitude 37° 14' West: 

Prion Island, South Georgia


Unimpeded by any landmass, the mysterious Southern Ocean flows completely around Earth from west to east between the seasonally shifting icy continent of Antarctica and the coastlines and islands of Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa.

Weaving together sea captains’ journals, whalers’ log books, explorers’ letters, scientific research and ancient beliefs with her own voyage of discovery, Joy McCann reveals the secrets of a little-known ocean and its importance as a barometer of climate change.


‘…a thrillingly hybrid creation, drawing together elements of environmental and intellectual history, science and personal observation to illuminate not just the physical and ecological reality of this loneliest of wildernesses but also the ways humans have understood it…the book is ultimately a hymn to connection and wonder, and a recognition of the myriad ways in which the Southern Ocean touches all of us.’— James Bradley, The Australian


‘This bracing history charts the myths, the exploration and the inhabitants of the all-too-real and wild circumpolar ocean to our south. It’s a vast and potentially unwieldy subject that McCann deftly distils to its essentials, from the ocean’s winds and icy currents to the krill that sustain its depths and the albatross that cruise its skies.’— Sydney Morning Herald, Pick of the Week, 4 August 2018


'Using the best of her expertise as a respected historian and researcher, Joy McCann asks us to think about the Southern Ocean as more than just a 'remote scientific laboratory, or as a source of food or prosperity'...A wonderful book club text or book to spark dinner table conversation.'  Jo Printz, ABC Central Victoria Breakfast


'Australian environmental and social historian Joy McCann’s history of this spectacular and often mysterious and threatening feature of our planet is both informative and impressive...McCann’s wide-ranging research is presented in clear and often vivid prose which conveys her love and respect for her subject. This is more than a history of the Ocean, drawn from scientific investigations and explorers’ accounts. It is a fascinating celebration of what the Ocean means to the earth and a call for careful attention to the threats faced by those who depend upon it, especially its inhabitants from tiny krill to the majestic whale and albatross.' Dictionary of Sydney


''Written with intensity and excitement', says the blurb on the front cover, and it is true. The vastness of this ocean is explored on so many different fronts by the author that the reader gains a deeper understanding...There are so many fascinating facts and stories told in this researched and creatively written book it will be a great 'go to,' book for many years.' — Blue Wolf Reviews