Peter Heinrich's Reviews > Bering Sea Blues: A Crabber's Tale of Fear in the Icy North

Bering Sea Blues by Joe Upton
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's review
Jan 01, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction, biography, history
Read from December 27 to 31, 2011 — I own a copy

Interesting memoir of crabbing in Alaska's Bering Sea (and points south), supplemented with stories of others lucky and not-so-lucky. Upton describes his experiences clearly and simply, weaving a narrative around the monotony and routine, magnificent natural surroundings, colorful companions, and occasional danger.

Here's the back-story you never hear on Deadliest Catch, and I found the history fascinating: the birth of the King Crab fishery, its peak 130 million pound harvest in 1980, and its crash down to 30 million, then 3.5 million pounds two years later; the transition from a derby to quota system; and the introduction of the 200-mile exclusion zone. Day-to-day crab fishing is also explained in more depth, but the television show has done a remarkable job of communicating the details.

I appreciated Upton's journalistic, no-nonsense delivery, and couldn't help comparing him to Ernest K. Gann, one of my favorite authors. But where Gann's Fate is the Hunter is a riveting account of his personal dance with death, Upton mostly recounts danger through cautionary anecdotes passed from fisherman to fisherman.

I don't mean to fault Upton for cheating death less dramatically or less often; I enjoyed both books, neither of which was overly sensational. Somehow, though, Gann's was also thrilling.

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Frank (new)

Frank curious what you think of this one when you're done Peter.

Peter Heinrich Will do!

message 3: by Anne (new)

Anne I found Fate Is The Hunter from this review - thanks !

Peter Heinrich Fantastic! Hope you like it.

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