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Reading McPhee is like watching a brilliant tennis player you've followed for years. I know his moves. I can even predict most of his methods, but I keep coming back to watch him put it all together. He is masterful. He makes the incredibly difficult work of narrative nonfiction seem effortless. Beautiful prose swims right up to McPhee and jumps into his net or flops right into the pages of his book.
Once again McPhee matches a microhistory (the American Shad) with great characters (biologists, fishermen, sportsmen, presidents, even his wife) present and past, amazing locations and takes you completely through the subject. You emerge from tail of the book knowing the history, the biology, the life, the death, the taste and the debate surrounding America's founding fish. He shows you every single bone in a boney fish. Read and released.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful
I enjoy nonfiction and John McPhee. As an audiobook, it's kind of neat to have John McPhee read it himself, but in printed book form it would be easier to skip over parts not of interest. This book contained many long fishing stories with too much minute by minute detail. Fishing fanatics might enjoy this - if that is you, then go for this book. I was expecting history, economics, science, and there was all that and much, much more. Making the darts, history of dams, biology of fish, deep sea fishing contests, many interesting topics and very comprehensive coverage. Now that I'm done, when I think back over what I learned, I do find it was worthwhile. But during the listening, I felt tortured at times.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful