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Gavin Maxwell Biography

(1914–1969), The House of Elrig, Harpoon at a Venture, God Protect Me from My Friends

British writer on travel and natural history, born at Elrig, Wigtown; his aristocratic family background is described in the autobiographical The House of Elrig (1965). He was educated at Hertford College, Oxford. Harpoon at a Venture (1952), his first book, describes the commercially unsuccessful shark fishery he opened in 1944 on the Hebridean island of Soay. During the 1950s he travelled widely, recording his experiences of Sicily in God Protect Me from My Friends (1956) and The Ten Pains of Death (1959). A journey to Iraq with. Wilfred Thesiger in 1956 produced A Reed Shaken by the Wind (1957), his acclaimed treatment of the country's Marsh Arabs. The otter he brought back from Iraq and another he subsequently acquired provided material for his best-known work, Ring of Bright Water (1960), an absorbing and lyrically detailed account of the creatures and the interactions of their lives with his. The Otter's Tale (1962) and The Rocks Remain (1963) continue his narrative of the otters. His other publications include Lords of the Atlas (1966), a study of the violent rise to power of the Glaoua dynasty in Morocco.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Harriet Martineau Biography to John McTaggart (John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart) Biography