Think North Sea and what do you see? I see the dark, stormy and inconclusive Battle of Jutland, and many of us, I suspect, will summon to mind some such disturbing association. It is not one of your lyrical seas, where mermaids play. Tom Blass, however, has undertaken in this remarkable book to portray it in the round, winds and all, and thus makes a reassuring whole of it.
He covers it completely, in a rambling and sometimes demanding way, and I was relieved to find that his work is not of the trendy Thoreau-esque school of travel writing, but more down to earth. The book begins, indeed, with a workaday North Sea freighter crossing from the Humber to