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The Log from the Sea of Cortez (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)by John Steinbeck
Synopses & Reviews
In January 2010, the Gemini was moored in the Swinomish Slough on a Native American reservation near Anacortes, Washington. Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the rusted and dilapidated boat was in fact the most famous fishing vessel ever to have sailed: the original Western Flyer, immortalized in John Steinbeckandrsquo;s nonfiction classic The Log from the Sea of Cortez.
In this book, Kevin M. Bailey resurrects this forgotten witness to the changing tides of Pacific fisheries. He draws on the Steinbeck archives, interviews with family members of crew, and more than three decades of working in Pacific Northwest fisheries to trace the depletion of marine life through the voyages of a single ship. After Steinbeck and his friend Ed Rickettsandmdash;a pioneer in the study of the West Coastandrsquo;s diverse sea life and the inspiration behind andldquo;Docandrdquo; in Cannery Rowandmdash;chartered the boat for their now-famous 1940 expedition, the Western Flyer returned to its life as a sardine seiner in California. But when the sardine fishery in Monterey collapsed, the boat moved on: fishing for Pacific ocean perch off Washington, king crab in the Bering Sea off Alaska, and finally wild Pacific salmonandmdash;all industries that would also face collapse.
As the Western Flyer herself faces an uncertain futureandmdash;a businessman has bought her, intending to bring the boat to Salinas, California, and turn it into a restaurant feature just blocks from Steinbeckandrsquo;s graveandmdash;debates about the status of the California sardine, and of West Coast fisheries generally, have resurfaced. A compelling and timely tale of a boat and the people it carried, of fisheries exploited, and of fortunes won and lost, The Western Flyer is environmental history at its best: a journey through time and across the sea, charting the ebb and flow of the cobalt waters of the Pacific coast.
In the two years after the 1939 publication of Steinbecks masterful The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck and his novel increasingly became the center of intense controversy and censorship. In search of a respite from the national stage, Steinbeck and his close friend, biologist Ed Ricketts, embarked on a month long marine specimen-collecting expedition in the Gulf of California, which resulted in their collaboration on the Sea of Cortez. In 1951, after Ricketts death, Steinbeck reissued his narrative portion of the work in memory of his friend and the inspiration for Cannery Rows Doc”. This exciting day-by-day account of their journey together is a rare blend of science, philosophy, and high-spirited adventure. This edition features an introduction by Richard Astro.
This exciting day-by-day account of Steinbeck's trip to the Gulf of California with biologist Ed Ricketts, drawn from the longer Sea of Cortez, is a wonderful combination of science, philosophy, and high-spirited adventure.
Includes bibliographical references (p. xxv-xxvi) and index.
About the Author
JOHN STEINBECK (19021968) was born in Salinas, California. He worked as a laborer and a journalist, and in 1935, when he published Tortilla Flat, he achieved popular success and financial security. Steinbeck wrote more than twenty-five novels and won the Nobel Prize in 1962.
Robert DeMott is the Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor at Ohio University and the author of Steinbec‛s Typewriter, an award-winning book of critical essays.
Gary Scharnhorst is professor of English at the University of New Mexico. He is the editor of books by Bret Harte and John De Forest for Penguin Classics.
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