THE BEST OF FIELD AND STREAM by J.I. Merritt

THE BEST OF FIELD AND STREAM

100 Years of Great Writing from America's Premier Sporting Magazine
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A delightful collection of articles marking the 100th anniversary of one of the country's best and most durable hunting and fishing magazines. As Merritt (Goodbye Liberty Belle, not reviewed) suggests in his introduction, a key to Field and Stream's longevity has been its emphasis on conservation issues, its editorial stance against encroaching industrialism, and its support of measures like uniform game laws. Founded in St. Paul, Minn., by John R. Burkhard, the magazine underwent a series of moves and name changes before landing in New York City. The pieces gathered here represent some of the very best writers in the business: Havilah Babcock, Robert Ruark, Nash Buckingham, Nick Lyons, and others. Ed Zern's waggish 1964 piece reveals that The Compleat Angler, which he found unreadable, is actually ``a turgidly political allegory'' intended to challenge the Cromwellian regime. In one of Lyons's entries we meet a legendary ``old Catskill trouting genius'' with a magic formula ``for dyeing leaders to within a chromophore of the color of eight different streams at a dozen different times of the year.'' One of the most wonderfully written articles is by a rare early female intruder in this dominantly male world: Florence A. Tasker's 1908 ``A Woman Through Husky-Land'' recounts her five- month, 4,000-mile canoe trip from Hudson Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. While there's but one piece by Zane Grey, it's a good one on fishing for horse mackerel off the Santa Barbara Islands. But the best comes from the revered Babcock, perhaps the most elegant writer ever to grace the pages of an American sporting journal. In ``When a Man's Thoughts Are Pure,'' he sets gun aside to observe quail taking a dust bath: ``I have lain in the brush and watched an entire bevy, one after another in orderly fashion, perform its fluttery ablutions.'' Marvelous reading for hunters, fishers, and naturalists. (8 pages color illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-55821-288-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Lyons Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1994