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The Channel Reviews

The Channel by Charlie Connelly

The Channel: The Remarkable Men and Women Who Made It the Most Fascinating Waterway in the World

Charlie Connelly

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: History, Non-fiction
Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 25 Jun 2020
ISBN: 9781474607919

A voyage through the culture, people and history of the defining piece of water known as the English Channel.

4 stars out of 5
James McConnachie
28 Jun 2020

"A delightful look at centuries of aquatic eccentrics"

Charlie Connelly’s book on the English Channel is different. It is funny, sweet-tempered and skips along like a skiff in a fresh breeze. Connelly is best known for Attention All Shipping, his 2005 book about the areas named on the shipping forecast. His approach here is similar. He tells stories of extraordinary people whose lives have touched this stretch of sea, weaving them together with anecdotes of his own.


3 stars out of 5
28 Jun 2020

"as a collection of whimsical anecdotes, it is entertaining enough"

But, in the main, Connelly prefers to keep it light. One gets the impression that he also prefers not to do any first-hand research. His stories come from other histories, and even when a living person is available to be interviewed (such as Sarah Thomas, the American cancer survivor who became the first person to swim the Channel four times without stopping last year, well in advance of this book going to press), Connelly does not deign to talk to them. It seems the most work he is prepared to do is to wander around Calais or Dieppe, perhaps sit at a café where someone famous once sat, and recount the words on plaques or statues he comes across.