The Founding Fish

The Founding Fish

by John McPhee
4.5 2

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Overview

The Founding Fish by John McPhee

John McPhee's twenty-sixth book is a braid of personal history, natural history, and American history, in descending order of volume. Each spring, American shad-Alosa sapidissima-leave the ocean in hundreds of thousands and run heroic distances upriver to spawn.

McPhee--a shad fisherman himself--recounts the shad's cameo role in the lives of George Washington and Henry David Thoreau. He fishes with and visits the laboratories of famous ichthyologists; he takes instruction in the making of shad darts from a master of the art; and he cooks shad in a variety of ways, delectably explained at the end of the book. Mostly, though, he goes fishing for shad in various North American rivers, and he "fishes the same way he writes books, avidly and intensely. He wants to know everything about the fish he's after--its history, its habits, its place in the cosmos" (Bill Pride, The Denver Post). His adventures in pursuit of shad occasion the kind of writing--expert and ardent--at which he has no equal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374706340
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 09/10/2003
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 367,353
File size: 374 KB

About the Author

John McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and was educated at Princeton University and Cambridge University. His writing career began at Time magazine and led to his long association with The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. Also in 1965, he published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and in the years since, he has written nearly 30 books, including Oranges (1967), Coming into the Country (1977), The Control of Nature (1989), Uncommon Carriers (2007), and Silk Parachute (2011). Encounters with the Archdruid (1972) and The Curve of Binding Energy (1974) were nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science. McPhee received the Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977. In 1999, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


John McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and was educated at Princeton University and Cambridge University. His writing career began at Time magazine and led to his long association with The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. Also in 1965, he published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and in the years since, he has written nearly 30 books, including Oranges (1967), Coming into the Country (1977), The Control of Nature (1989), The Founding Fish (2002), Uncommon Carriers (2007), and Silk Parachute (2011). Encounters with the Archdruid (1972) and The Curve of Binding Energy (1974) were nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science. McPhee received the Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977. In 1999, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Hometown:

Princeton, New Jersey

Date of Birth:

March 8, 1931

Place of Birth:

Princeton, New Jersey

Education:

A.B., Princeton University, 1953; graduate study at Cambridge University, 1953-54

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Founding Fish 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As always, McPhee is great. No one is better. But why the Andy Rooney rant near the end about catch and release fishing? Is McPhee getting crotchety as his hair silvers? Yes, one can indeed puncture the pretensions of yuppified fly fishermen, and yes, fishing is, no matter how you cut it, still a blood sport. But the benefits of catch and release fishing are evident in the exact stretch of water McPhee fishes -- the upper Delaware. This is one of THE great wild trout streams in the US, and catch and release, even if only 50% effective, contributes to that. Hmm. Mini-rant of my own. McPhee is great. Wonderful detail. Wonderful style.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love bothJohn Mcphee's writing and shad fishing. Anyone so inclined must read this book. But, Mcphee badly needs an editor. First the highly technical aspects of the book require maps and illustrations. Mcphees excellent descriptive skills cannot satisfy this need.. Second, the book's almost encyclopedic coverage is at times defeating. Too often the book smells of the lamp rather than fish. One example is the tediously long destruction of the myth that a shad run saved the Continental Army at Valley Forge. No matter, buy the book and call for a revised tighter, technically illustrated text.