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Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World-Record Largemouth Bass

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  • Posted September 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Easy quick-read...

    I thought this book was above average. I came upon this book one day and decided to read it (I'm not a fisherman or have fished since I've read this). It keeps your attention, is quick/easy to read, and shows you some insight into some strange obsessions people have. I would recommend this book. It is both uplifting and depressing to view a world that I would never otherwise have known about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2005


    My favorite book so far of this summer. America is full of weird subcultures, and this one--about people who are trying to break this longstanding record--is really interesting. Where the heck did the author find these guys?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2005

    A Fascinating Look At Fishing Fanaticism

    I was entranced by the colorful characters and stories that Mr. Burke portrayed in 'Sowbelly.' Burke looks at fisherman who have dedicated their lives, in some cases ruining them, to trying to catch the world record largemouth bass. These are some very strange and intense individuals, a satellite fringe of the truly hard core angler. Yet, Burke does not stop at just profiling a bunch of die hard bass freaks, he details the progression of bass fishing in America from occassional leisure activity to a multibillion dollar industry. As well, he lays out the shadowy circumstances of the world record, an event that is shrouded in hearsay and speculation, and how it helped give birth to a movement with as much fervor and fever as any major religion of the civilized world. Burke is at his best when he begins to parallell the pursuit of big bass other aspects of life. He writes that big bass fishing has developed into 'a subculture that has, at times, the languid feel of baseball...the spontaneity of jazz, the ruthlessness of the high halls of capitalism, and even a dash of the corruption that seems to seep into anything that really matters to anyone.' You do not need to love bass fishing to love this book. It's as much about hopes and dreams as it is about hauling in a big fish. And if you love bass fishing then this is absolutely required reading.

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