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An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World

By: Anders Halverson

257 pages, 21 b/w illus

Yale University Press

Paperback | Jul 2011 | #191751 | ISBN-13: 9780300140880
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NHBS Price: £12.99 $17/€15 approx
Hardback | Feb 2010 | #183630 | ISBN-13: 9780300140873
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About this book

This book renders an account of the rainbow trout and why it has become the most commonly stocked and controversial freshwater fish in the United States. Discovered in the remote waters of northern California, rainbow trout have been artificially propagated and distributed for more than 130 years by government officials eager to present Americans with an opportunity to get back to nature by going fishing.

Proudly dubbed "an entirely synthetic fish" by fisheries managers, the rainbow trout has been introduced into every state and province in the United States and Canada and to every continent except Antarctica, often with devastating effects on the native fauna.

The author examines the paradoxes and reveals a range of characters, from nineteenth-century boosters who believed rainbows could be the saviors of democracy to 21st century biologists who now seek to eradicate them from waters around the globe. Ultimately, the story of the rainbow trout is the story of our relationship with the natural world - how it has changed and how it startlingly has not.

'Make no mistake, this book is a major event in the history of angling and ecological analysis. It needs to become the stuff of every angler's conversation and practice. And it's such a pleasure to read! (Gordon Wickstrom, American Angler) 'With prose as engaging as it is thoughtful, Halverson has crafted an absorbing cautionary tale of ecological trial and error, documenting our tardy but increasing understanding of biological interdependence and its immeasurable value.' (Washington Post)"

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Anders Halverson is a research associate at the University of Colorado's Center of the American West. He has a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology from Yale University and has received several awards for his journalism. He was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to support the research and writing of An Entirely Synthetic Fish. Patricia Nelson Limerick is faculty director and chairwoman of the board of the Center of the American West and author of Desert Passages and The Legacy of Conquest.

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