THE PHILOSOPHER FISH: Sturgeon, Caviar and the Geography of Desire

Richard Adams Carey, Author . Counterpoint $24 (352p) ISBN 978-1-58243-173-4

With the humanism and narrative mastery that won him acclaim for Against the Tide , ecojournalist Carey weaves the story of an enigmatic fish and the "multitude of hooks" in the "gilded morsel." Geneticists believe the sturgeon holds the key to understanding the secrets of vertebrate evolution; canny entrepreneurs, meanwhile, pursue it for the high prices it fetches. Navigating the eddies of avarice and ecological altruism, Carey baits with hard data, arresting first-person writing and well-wrought insights. This is the sort of nonfiction that, by virtue of the author's generalist assurance, can satisfy a broad readership. Students of global political economy, for example, will find plenty to admire in a book whose subject, viewed as a commodity, echoes—and is imperiled by—that of oil, the Caspian region's other black gold. Those with stateside interests—e.g., American natural history and environmentalism—will also find the work fascinating, as few creatures could better illuminate the rift between the utilitarian and the preservationist factions of the American environmental movement. The interconnected stories Carey shares converge in a deeper understanding of the human species, one whose desires are embodied as much by the gun-toting buccaneers of the Caspian coast as by the rain-slickered and lab-coated ranks of the world's sturgeon hatcheries. Agent, Gary Morris of the David Black Literary Agency. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/31/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Paperback - 333 pages - 978-1-58243-352-3
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