Sarah's Reviews > The Last Fish Tale: The Fate of the Atlantic & Survival in Gloucester, America's Oldest Fishing Port & Most Original Town

The Last Fish Tale by Mark Kurlansky
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's review
Aug 07, 08

bookshelves: non-fiction, history
Read in August, 2008

Tighter than Salt, the only other of Kurlansky's books I've read, but equally well-researched, The Last Fish Tale reads like a memoir written on behalf of the town of Gloucester, Mass. This was an absolutely wonderful read: I was entertained even as I was educated, and I snickered at more than one of the oh-so-Gloucester tales related with Kurlansky's wry observations.

Following Gloucester's development from the pre-colonial era to present day, Kurlansky combines the unique history of the city with an overview of the development of the fishing industry in general. While he doesn't shy away from describing the incredible damage done by modern "improvements" to fishing gear and technique, he's equally quick to blame poor regulation and faulty science as the fishermen themselves for the past century of overfishing.

Growing up in Maryland and knowing the terrible condition of the Chesapeake and its traditional fisheries, I expected the last few chapters of this book to be bleak. But though the situation's gloomy, there's a glimmer of hope -- a glimmer of the fisherman's stubborn spirit -- that might just take Gloucester through to the next century.
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