Enjoyable reading for sport fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts who can look past any issues regarding cruelty to...

A NATURALIST GOES FISHING

CASTING IN FRAGILE WATERS FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO TO NEW ZEALAND'S SOUTH ISLAND

Personal and professional lives come together for McClintock (Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land, 2012), an Antarctic marine biologist and passionate sport fisherman.

The author is especially worried about the growing threat to fish posed by the increased acidification of the world's oceans, caused by the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A fishing trip to the Chandeleur Islands off the coast of Louisiana evokes concern about the health of the habitat for the redfish and speckled sea trout that have drawn him and his fishing buddies to the area on yearly visits for more than a decade. This “portion of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, the fifty-mile chain of uninhabited islands, is a naturalist’s dream,” writes the author. He has personally witnessed the effects of dredging, coupled with pollution and the impact of global warming, all of which are depleting the number of fish and reducing their size. Nonetheless, McClintock writes with relish about his adventures as a sport fisherman. He opens with a story of chasing redfish and speckled sea trout. After a 40-minute battle with a “big red” hooked on his tackle but putting up a strong fight, the fish got away. His brother was luckier in his battle with a trout, which was caught, held up proudly for a photograph, and then released back to the sea. The author also writes of a four-day stay in a fishing lodge north of Manitoba in Canada, where there is “some of the best lake trout and pike fishing in the world.” His accounts of these and other fishing adventures—in the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and more—provide a lively backdrop for concerns about the effects of climate change

Enjoyable reading for sport fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts who can look past any issues regarding cruelty to animals.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-137-27990-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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A quirky wonder of a book.

WHY FISH DON'T EXIST

A STORY OF LOSS, LOVE, AND THE HIDDEN ORDER OF LIFE

A Peabody Award–winning NPR science reporter chronicles the life of a turn-of-the-century scientist and how her quest led to significant revelations about the meaning of order, chaos, and her own existence.

Miller began doing research on David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) to understand how he had managed to carry on after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed his work. A taxonomist who is credited with discovering “a full fifth of fish known to man in his day,” Jordan had amassed an unparalleled collection of ichthyological specimens. Gathering up all the fish he could save, Jordan sewed the nameplates that had been on the destroyed jars directly onto the fish. His perseverance intrigued the author, who also discusses the struggles she underwent after her affair with a woman ended a heterosexual relationship. Born into an upstate New York farm family, Jordan attended Cornell and then became an itinerant scholar and field researcher until he landed at Indiana University, where his first ichthyological collection was destroyed by lightning. In between this catastrophe and others involving family members’ deaths, he reconstructed his collection. Later, he was appointed as the founding president of Stanford, where he evolved into a Machiavellian figure who trampled on colleagues and sang the praises of eugenics. Miller concludes that Jordan displayed the characteristics of someone who relied on “positive illusions” to rebound from disaster and that his stand on eugenics came from a belief in “a divine hierarchy from bacteria to humans that point[ed]…toward better.” Considering recent research that negates biological hierarchies, the author then suggests that Jordan’s beloved taxonomic category—fish—does not exist. Part biography, part science report, and part meditation on how the chaos that caused Miller’s existential misery could also bring self-acceptance and a loving wife, this unique book is an ingenious celebration of diversity and the mysterious order that underlies all existence.

A quirky wonder of a book.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6027-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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The book is not entirely negative; final chapters indicate roads of reversal, before it is too late!

SILENT SPRING

It should come as no surprise that the gifted author of The Sea Around Us and its successors can take another branch of science—that phase of biology indicated by the term ecology—and bring it so sharply into focus that any intelligent layman can understand what she is talking about.

Understand, yes, and shudder, for she has drawn a living portrait of what is happening to this balance nature has decreed in the science of life—and what man is doing (and has done) to destroy it and create a science of death. Death to our birds, to fish, to wild creatures of the woods—and, to a degree as yet undetermined, to man himself. World War II hastened the program by releasing lethal chemicals for destruction of insects that threatened man’s health and comfort, vegetation that needed quick disposal. The war against insects had been under way before, but the methods were relatively harmless to other than the insects under attack; the products non-chemical, sometimes even introduction of other insects, enemies of the ones under attack. But with chemicals—increasingly stronger, more potent, more varied, more dangerous—new chain reactions have set in. And ironically, the insects are winning the war, setting up immunities, and re-emerging, their natural enemies destroyed. The peril does not stop here. Waters, even to the underground water tables, are contaminated; soils are poisoned. The birds consume the poisons in their insect and earthworm diet; the cattle, in their fodder; the fish, in the waters and the food those waters provide. And humans? They drink the milk, eat the vegetables, the fish, the poultry. There is enough evidence to point to the far-reaching effects; but this is only the beginning,—in cancer, in liver disorders, in radiation perils…This is the horrifying story. It needed to be told—and by a scientist with a rare gift of communication and an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Already the articles taken from the book for publication in The New Yorker are being widely discussed. Book-of-the-Month distribution in October will spread the message yet more widely.

The book is not entirely negative; final chapters indicate roads of reversal, before it is too late!  

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 1962

ISBN: 061825305X

Page Count: 378

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1962

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