Praise for Swirling Currents

Purchase Swirling Currents Here

Dr. Judith McDowell, Woods Hole Sea Grant Director, Emeritus

Each chapter is an engaging mix of personal stories and scientific investigations, interwoven in a narrative that entertains as well as informs. The topics encompass not only marine life, but also the geological processes, historical challenges, and social pressures that place the challenges of managing coastal environments today with historical perspectives of the past and the needs of the future. Although most of the examples used are selected from the New England region, the problems are universal in regions throughout the world as is the need for solutions to those problems.

Rich Eldred, Posted Dec 7, 2018, Wicked Local / Brewster, MA

“She’s lived her life beside the ocean and on it. In the early 1980s she drove the town’s Clambulance (a reclaimed ambulance) about the Cape, raised tiny quahogs in washtubs from spat in a laboratory next to the Orleans Inn and deposited and monitored shellfish all over town.”


“Sandy MacFarlane is all done rowing forward and looking backward, as she’s now caught by swirling currents.”

Anne Giblin, senior scientist at the Ecosystems Center Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA

“In this ambitious, but very readable book, Sandy Macfarlane documents the challenges of coastal resource management. Through a series of case studies, she tackles many of today’s critical topics including marine mammal protection, overfishing, climate change, aquaculture, and nutrient over enrichment.”

read the full review here at the Gulf of Maine Institute

Cynthia O’Brien, owner, Market Street Bookshop, Mashpee, MA

“Brilliant”

Kathy Colvin, Titcomb’s Bookshop, Sandwich, MA

"Everyone should read this book. It is accessible to all readers yet technically sound."

Wayne Miller, author of Fore River Shipyard and Quincy, Massachusetts: A Shipbuilding Tradition

"Very thought provoking and a master class in marine biology and the environment."

Robert Rheault, Executive Director, East Coast Shellfish Growers Association

"It was an enjoyable ramble through history and I learned a lot about the Cape history that I had never known before. It was clearly a labor of love and I am glad the information was captured and presented in such an accessible format."

Ernie Ruber, New England Estuarine Research Society member, Mashpee, MA, Professor Emeritus, Northeastern University

You had me in your grip by Fort Hill! Finished, enjoyed and learned some things from this very fine piece of work!

Sandy Emler, Concerned Citizen who loves the sea and all the creatures within

This book is amazing in its scope, detail, and interesting presentation of facts and history. Macfarlane has a passionate love of our seas, the inhabitants within and our interactions with the oceans over the centuries. The book was a deceptively easy read and I was surprised how often I had to sort out the headlines of the daily news with what I had been reading. Whales in Boston Harbor in late August were a surprising sight but Macfarlane gives you the background information that explains the changes we are seeing. Her explanations are marvelously complex and straight forwardly simple. I was fascinated by the difference perceptions of the sea’s bounty by the Native American culture and those arriving on our shores from Europe. I learned about the historical fishing industry, the effect of improved fishing techniques creating bigger and bigger fish harvests and the affects that has had on overfishing various species. Tying it all together is the effect of global warming of our oceans and the changes in the Gulf Stream. This is a great book for anyone interested in the oceans, the interconnectedness of all species and our effect on the world in which we reside as one of a variety of species connected to the larger whole.

Bob Warner, Orleans, MA

I am half-way through your book at this point. I am blown away. It is beautifully (in some instances, when called for – lyrically) written. The STAGGERING amount of research graces the reader with concise history that would otherwise consume untenable resources of time, and your own unique perspective clarifies all of the otherwise inscrutable conflict. Just.

My initial thoughts were somewhat along the line of: 'You’ve outdone yourself'! But as I read on, I realize the larger truth: 'You’ve hit your stride!'

I can see why it took so long. So much research, so much effort coordinating all of that with your own perspectives.

Susan Devogel, Bentonville, VA

This book could not have been written without your years of experience, and, more importantly, your ability to pull all of those insights together.

Patti Holsclaw

This is a MUST READ for all who care about our fragile Big Blue Marble. Sandy Macfarlane is a brilliant writer who "mixes it all up" sharing history, culture, science - into a comprehensive explanation of the interconnected "whole". Bravo my dear friend!!