Synopses & Reviews
A fascinating look at the octopus through its life, death, robotic replicas, and delicious dinners
We eat, study, copy, and idealize the octopus. Yet this strange creature still eludes our understanding. With eight arms, three hearts, camouflaging skin, and a disarmingly intelligent look behind its eyes, it appears utterly alien. But octopuses have been captivating humans for as long as weand#8217;ve been catching them. Cultures have created octopus-centric creation myths, art, and, of course, cuisine. For all of our ancient fascination and modern research, however, we still havenand#8217;t been able to get a firm grasp on these slippery beasts.
Now journalist Katherine Harmon Courage dives into the fascinating underwater world of these mysterious cephalopods. From her transatlantic adventures to Spain and Greece, expeditions in the Caribbean and back to Brooklyn, she invites readers to experience the scientific discoveries, deep cultural ties, and delicious meals connected to the octopus.
Courage deftly interweaves personal narrative with interviews with leading octopus experts. She provides an entertaining yet informative romp through the world of these infinitely interesting creatures.
For more than four hundred years the people of coastal Maine have clung to their rocky, wind-swept lands, resisting outsiders’ attempts to control them while harvesting the astonishing bounty of the Gulf of Maine. Today’s independent, self-sufficient lobstermen belong to the communities imbued with a European sense of ties between land and people, but threatened by the forces of homogenization spreading up the eastern seaboard.
In the tradition of William Warner’s Beautiful Swimmers, veteran journalist Colin Woodard traces the history of the rugged fishing communities that dot the coast of Maine and the prized crustacean that has long provided their livelihood. Through forgotten wars and rebellions, and with a deep tradition of resistance to interference by people “from away,” Maine’s lobstermen have defended an earlier vision of America while defying the “tragedy of the commons”—the notion that people always overexploit their shared property. Instead, these icons of American individualism represent a rare example of true communal values and collaboration through grit, courage, and hard-won wisdom.
In the tradition of William Warner's "Beautiful Swimmers," veteran journalist Woodard traces the history of the rugged fishing communities that dot the coast of Maine and the prized crustacean that has long provided their livelihood.
This lively book reveals a little known culture that predates the Pilgrims and has remained true to the earliest version of the American Dream: an egalitarian, self-reliant republic. The self-sufficient lobstermen of the Maine coast are models of environmental prudence: at a time when the fishing industry is in crisis, they have conserved the bounty of their waters, even as the once-humble lobster has become a coveted delicacy. How denizens of the coast achieved this balance, even as they withstood assaults from everyone from French raiders to rapacious land speculators, makes for a stellar informal history ... a primer for conservation and the effects of bad politics (The Kingston Observer).
An endlessly fascinating look at American regionalism and the eleven andquot;nationsandquot; that continue to shape North America
According to award-winning journalist and historian Colin Woodard, North America is made up of eleven distinct nations, each with its own unique historical roots. In American Nations he takes readers on a journey through the history of our fractured continent, offering a revolutionary and revelatory take on American identity, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and continue to mold our future. From the Deep South to the Far West, to Yankeedom to El Norte, Woodard reveals how each region continues to uphold its distinguishing ideals and identities today, with results that can be seen in the composition of the U.S. Congress or on the county-by-county election maps of presidential elections.
About the Author
Katherine Harmon Courage is an award-winning freelance writer and contributing editor for Scientific American
. Her work covers health, biology, food, the environment and general interest stories and has appeared in books, magazines, newspapers and web sites, including Gourmet, Nature
and Scientific American
.and#160; Read more on her website, www.katherineharmon.com and follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/katherineharmon.