Over My Head: Journeys in Leaky Boats from the Strait of Magellan to Cape Horn and Beyond

Margaret Winslow
iUniverse (2012)
ISBN 9781475954319
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader  Views (2/13)

Article first published as Book Review: Over My Head: Journeys in Leaky Boats from the Strait of Magellan to Cape Horn and Beyond by Margaret Winslow on Blogcritics. 

“Over My Head” is about author Margaret Winslow’s journey to the most southern point of South America for geological research. It takes place in the 1970s, just as women were entering more male-dominated fields and South America was just being explored. Winslow recounts her experiences as an inexperienced geologist in a science that is still very male-dominated. Throughout the book, Winslow continues to make expeditions to Tierra del Fuego, even going to Antarctica! And by the end of her memoir, she goes from an inexperienced, self-doubting geologist to a successful and fearless geologist. 

I think Winslow was very successful in telling her story and relaying the often dangerous and yet exhilarating expedition. From killer whales to falling glaciers, you’re always on the edge of your seat. Winslow’s writing is littered with jargon sometimes; I’m not that familiar with research boats or science terms. Sometimes I found myself skipping ahead when she went into detail, but this is only because I am not naturally interested in some of the more technical or science-related things. 

This book is more for those who enjoy adventure and science, maybe even women who want to specialize in the field of geology. I have to admit, I did not know much about geology, and I wasn’t aware of how male-dominated the science was. Winslow discusses how the men treated her on her first expedition, and how at one point crew members would harass her. All in all, I have a new understanding of the dangers of geological expeditions and got a better idea of how difficult it was to explore the area in a time where technology was not as advanced as it is today.

I recommend “Over My Head” by Margaret Winslow to anyone who is considering entering the field of geology or who is just fascinated with the area and/or adventure. Definitely an informative and entertaining read! 

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