From rocky coves at Mendocino and Monterey to San Diego’s reefs, abalone have held a cherished place in California culture for millennia. Prized for iridescent shells and delectable meat, these unique shellfish inspired indigenous artisans, bohemian writers, California cuisine, and the popular sport of skin diving, but also became a highly coveted commercial commodity. Mistakenly regarded as an inexhaustible seafood, abalone ultimately became vulnerable to overfishing and early impacts of climate change.
As the first and only comprehensive history of these once abundant but now tragically imperiled shellfish, Abalone guides the reader through eras of discovery, exploitation, scientific inquiry, fierce disputes between sport and commercial divers, near-extinction, and determined recovery efforts. Combining rich cultural and culinary history with hard-minded marine science, grassroots activism, and gritty politics, Ann Vileisis chronicles the plight of California’s abalone species and the growing biological awareness that has become crucial to conserve these rare animals into the future.
Abalone reveals the challenges of reckoning with past misunderstandings, emerging science, and political intransigence, while underscoring the vulnerability of wild animals to human appetites and environmental change. An important contribution to the emerging field of marine environmental history, this is a must-read for scientists, conservationists, environmental historians, and all who remember abalone fondly.
Like her father before her, Bette Husted grew up on stolen land. The bench land above the Clearwater River in north-central Idaho had been a home for the Nez Perce Indians until the Dawes Act opened their reservation to settlement in 1895. As a child on the family homestead, Husted felt the presence of the Nez Perce: "But they were always just out of sight, like a smoky shadow behind me that I couldn't quite turn around quickly enough to catch."
Above the Clearwater chronicles her family's history on the land, revealing their joys and sorrows, their triumphs and tragedies. In a series of graceful and moving essays, Husted traces this intimate history, from her Cold War childhood to her struggles as a parent and finally to her life as a woman and teacher in the rural West. Her family's stories echo those of countless other families in the American West: the conflicts with guns, the struggles over land ownership and water rights, the isolation of women, the separations by race and class, the family secrets of mental illness and suicide.
With a powerful, poetic voice, Husted illuminates the tangled relationship between the history of a particular place and the history of the families who inhabit that place over time. As Above the Clearwater explores one family's search for a home on land taken from its original inhabitants, it quietly asks all readers to examine their own homes in the same light.
The year he graduated from college, 22-year-old Noah Strycker was dropped by helicopter in a remote Antarctic field camp with two bird scientists and a three months’ supply of frozen food. His subjects: more than a quarter million penguins.
Compact, industrious, and approachable, the Adélie Penguins who call Antarctica home visit their breeding grounds each Antarctic summer to nest and rear their young before returning to sea. Because of long-term studies, scientists may know more about how these penguins will adjust to climate change than about any other creature in the world.
Bird scientists like Noah are less well known. Like the intrepid early explorers of Antarctica, modern scientists drawn to the frozen continent face an utterly inhospitable landscape, one that inspires, isolates, and punishes.
With wit, curiosity, and a deep knowledge of his subject, Strycker recounts the reality of life at the end of the Earth—thousand-year-old penguin mummies, hurricane-force blizzards, and day-to-day existence in below freezing temperatures—and delves deep into a world of science, obsession, and birds.
Among Penguins weaves a captivating tale of penguins and their researchers on the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent on Earth. Birders, lovers of the Antarctic, and fans of first-person adventure narratives will be fascinated by Strycker’s book.
Another Way the River Has collects Robin Cody’s finest nonfiction writings, many appearing for the first time in print. Cody’s prose rings with a sense of place. He is a native speaker who probes the streams and woods and salmon that run to the heart of what it means to live and love, to work and play, in Oregon.
His characters—from loggers to fishers to cowboys to the kids on his school bus—are smart and curious, often off-beat, always vivid. Cody brings the ear of a novelist and the eye of a reporter to the people and places that make the Northwest, and Northwest literature, distinctive.
“A rock, you know, will sink like a stone in water. But a flat rock, slung spinningly near the water surface and at an angel parallel to it, will go skipping across the water in defiance of gravity and common sense. How cool is that?! The first time a boy pulls this off ranks just short of first-time sex on the scale of things he will want to do over and over whenever he can and as long as he lives.”
-from “The Clackamas River”
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