Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for History
Synopses & Reviews
Hailed as a “nonfiction epic... in the tradition of Jared Diamond’s bestseller Collapse, and Simon Winchester’s Atlantic” (Dallas Morning News), Jack E. Davis’s The Gulf is “by turns informative, lyrical, inspiring and chilling for anyone who cares about the future of ‘America’s Sea’” (Wall Street Journal). Illuminating America’s political and economic relationship with the environment from the age of the conquistadors to the present, Davis demonstrates how the Gulf’s fruitful ecosystems and exceptional beauty empowered a growing nation. Filled with vivid, untold stories from the sportfish that launched Gulfside vacationing to Hollywood’s role in the country’s first offshore oil wells, this “vast and well-told story shows how we made the Gulf...[into] a ‘national sacrifice zone’” (Bill McKibben). The first and only study of its kind, The Gulf offers “a unique and illuminating history of the American Southern coast and sea as it should be written” (Edward O. Wilson).
“A sensitive and sturdy work of environmental history....[Davis] has a well-stocked mind, and frequently views the history of the Gulf through the prism of artists and writers including Winslow Homer, Wallace Stevens, Ernest Hemingway and John D. MacDonald. His prose is supple and clear....A cri de coeur about the Gulf’s environmental ruin.” Dwight Garner, New York Times
“An astonishing work of environmental history, sweeping in its narrative scope while also being wonderfully intimate in its richness of detail. The march of history and the vibrancy of place live on its every page, and the environmental story it tells could not make for more urgent reading in these perilous times.” Darcy Frey, Harvard University
“Splendid....Davis is a historian, and this book is packed with research, but The Gulf does not read like a textbook. He is a graceful, clear, often lyrical writer who makes sometimes surprising, always illuminating connections — it's not a stretch to compare him to John McPhee. And he is telling an important story, especially for those of us who live around what he calls the American Sea. What happens to it happens to us, and the more we know, the better equipped we'll be to deal with a future on its shores.” Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
“A tremendous book. Davis is not only one of our preeminent environmental historians, but also a first-rate storyteller and prose stylist. Lay readers and scholars alike will be delighted by The Gulf, a lovely evocation of the natural world and the problematic ways our nation has profited from it.” Blake Bailey, author of Cheever
Winner of the 2017 Kirkus Prize for Nonfictio A National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction Finalis ANew York Times Notable Book of 2017 One of theWashington Post's Best Books of the Year In this "cri de coeur about the Gulf's environmental ruin" New York Times), "Davis has written a beautiful homage to a neglected sea" (front page, New York Times Book Review).
Winner - Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction
Finalist - National Book Critics Circle Award (Nonfiction)
A New York Times
Notable Book of the Year
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post
, NPR, Library Journal
, and gCaptainBooklist
Editors' Choice (History)
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence
In this "cri de coeur about the Gulf's environmental ruin" (New York Times), "Davis has written a beautiful homage to a neglected sea" (front page, New York Times Book Review).
About the Author
Jack E. Davis is the author of the award-winning An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century. A professor of environmental history at the University of Florida, he grew up on the Gulf coast, and now lives in Florida and New Hampshire.