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Women have a long history of keeping the lights burning, from tending ancient altar flames or bonfires to modern-day lighthouse keeping. Yet most of their stories are little-known. Guiding Lights includes true stories from around the world, chronicling the lives of the extraordinary women who mind the world's storm-battered towers. From Hannah Sutton and her partner Grant, the two caretakers living alone on Tasmania's wild Maatsuyker Island, to Karen Zacharuk, the keeper in charge of Cape Beale on Canada's Vancouver Island, where bears, cougars and wolves roam, the lives of lighthouse women are not for the faint of heart. Stunning photographs from throughout history accompany accounts of the dramatic torching of Puysegur Point, one of NZ's most inhospitable lighthouses; 'haunted' lighthouses in across the US and their tragic tales; lighthouse accidents and emergencies around the world; and two of the world's most legendary lighthouse women: Ida Lewis (US) and Grace Darling (UK), who risked their lives to save others. The book also explores our dual perception of lighthouses: are they comforting and romantic beacons symbolising hope and trust, or storm-lashed and forbidding towers with echoes of lonely, mad keepers? Whatever our perception, stories of women's courage and dedication in minding the lights - then and now - continue to capture our imagination and inspire.
The world's sub-Antarctic islands are brutally cold, uninhabited, bleak and beautiful outposts circling the lower part of the globe. They sit below New Zealand, Australia, Africa and South America, in the 'Roaring Forties' and 'Furious Fifties' latitudes. They are constantly buffeted by lashing rain and furious gales, surrounded by a deep and roaring ocean. And yet, humans have not been deterred from these islands which are so fully in the grip of nature's power. From early explorers and sealers to modern-day conservation and adventure tourism, the sub-Antarctic islands have been a common waypoint for those headed to Antarctica, and for scientists discovering the unique plants and wildlife that have earned the islands status as World Heritage sites. Shona Riddell herself is a descendant of 19th-century British settlers who attempted to create a home in this environment. She hopes to shed light on these 'forgotten islands' and their rich human history. Trial of Strength is filled with compelling photos for a modern audience. Balanced and engaging, it features tales of infamous shipwrecks and lesser-known stories of intrepid pioneers, as well as accounts of modern-day conservation wins and dramatic helicopter rescues, all with women's stories as more than just a footnote. It will leave you with an appreciation for the tenacity of the human race and the forbidding forces of nature.