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In Pursuit of Giants: One Man's Global Search for the Last of the Great Fish Hardcover – June 14, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


In Pursuit of Giants is a very timely and important book, impressively thorough in the extent of its research, including many eloquent interviews at sea with commercial fishermen whose traditional livelihoods, like the splendid animals themselves, are everywhere on the point of disappearance. Like Carl Safina’s Song for the Blue Ocean, it is not only informative but exceptionally well written and a pleasure to read, which should bring it the wide audience it deserves.”

(Peter Matthiessen, author of Men���s Lives)

In Pursuit of Giants is an exquisitely detailed love story, the tale of Matt Rigney’s love of the lions and tigers of the sea—the bluefin tuna, swordfish, and marlin that make sports anglers’ pulses race. It’s a love story colored with sadness from the unrelenting assaults on these fish from commercial fishing, tuna ranching, and even sports anglers themselves. But it’s also a story of hope—Rigney documents the efforts of men and women he met in his travels around the world, individuals who are trying to save these ocean giants. In Pursuit of Giants should inspire its readers to both love and defend its magnificent subjects.”
(Ted Danson, actor and author of Oceana)

“[A] fascinating quest…. Suffused with passion for these great pelagic creatures. Muscular and lyrical by turns, Mr. Rigney’s prose deftly captures the wildness of the sea—the deep gleam of a shoal turning suddenly in the sunlight, the birdlike head of a striped marlin, spawning tuna “blazing their milky contrails.” Each section reads like a short story…. As this meticulous and engaging book demonstrates, we must change our mind-set lest we lose these giants.”

(David Profumo, The Wall Street Journal)

“Matt Rigney deftly navigates that symbolic tightrope between straight, fact-based narrative reporting and passionate advocacy….Rigney has crafted a smart, lyrical, passionate-but-not-too-preachy call to arms. In Pursuit of Giants should appeal to the recreational anglers who dream of catching 12-foot, 1,000-pound black marlin off the Great Barrier Reef and to conservationists and policymakers fretting about the permanent damage that has been wreaked over the half century….Rigney’s respect for many of his characters that make their living at sea and his near-spiritual connection to the big creates below resonates throughout.”

(The Miami Herald)

“[An] entertaining and impassioned text with strategic suggestions for sustainable fishing.”

“[Matt] Rigney provides a glorious read in his examination of sportfishing and the imperiled state of ocean life. The vivid immediacy of this call to action ranges from majestic descriptions of a marlin’s oceanic journey and a Japanese fisherman’s outrage at government-industry collusion to fishing fleet’s devastation of marine life….The “awe and humility” felt in the presence of these fish is sensitively and powerfully wrought throughout this dramatic, transcendental tale.”
(Publishers Weekly (Starred Review))

“A dramatic account that will appeal to the sportsman and conservationist alike.”
(Kirkus Reviews)

“A very important book; for any who cares about the sea, who cares about the planet and the future generations who will inherit it, who wonders at the mysterious power of the little remaining wilderness humankind has yet to rape and pillage, Rigney’s book is must-read…. A great fishing book, an adventure that leads the narrative into some of the most remote and hostile places on earth, chasing huge but increasingly endangered game fish that have animated the dreams of sport fisherman for more than a century.”
(The Valley Advocate)

“A damned wonderful read….I highly recommend this book.”
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

About the Author

A New England recreational fisherman for nearly forty years, Matt Rigny is a member of the International Game Fish Association and Oceana, the largest ocean restoration group in the world. He lives in western Massachusetts.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (June 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670023353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670023356
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Timely, impressive in scope, and relevant in its crucial messages regarding man's unconscious ravaging of the sea's vital fish resources and destruction of the natural balance of the ocean's ecosystems, In Pursuit of Giants is more than expose; it is a moral imperative for humans to wake up and take action before it is much too late. Rather than a dry lecture in this regard, Rigney illustrates his points by taking you with him on a ride around the world, out on the open sea, giving you an adventure of a lifetime. But the book is so much more than an environmental statement or riveting stories about guys fighting with, losing, or catching big game fish.

Rigney has the makings of one of the great story tellers, and he brings to life each person he meets, capturing their complexity, humor, and intensity, their own stories and dead-on insights - whether about life and humanity, the fish, or the industry in which they work. All the while, Rigney breathes fire into his every image of nature, described in dazzling, stunning flashes of language that never gets old. In one moment, you are with him on the boat, wide eyed and astounded by the Swordfish's power, its deadly sword, its guile to outwit any hunter and its courage to fight to the death. In another moment, which I won't spoil, Death literally has Rigney - momentarily - in the palm of Its hand. There are risks to this kind of quest - one which speaks about the author's guts to finish this five-year endeavor and then make it visceral.

This book is at its heart the story of man who is seeking to confront and reveal his own essential nature, mirrored in the qualities of the wild, unpredictable ocean and its intriguing, mysterious, beautiful inhabitants. The deeper he seeks, the more is unveiled...
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Format: Hardcover
Running a small farm and having very little time for recreational reading, I assumed that when I started In Pursuit of Giants I might finish it by late summer. Boy was I wrong. This book has a life of its own. It breathes the sea into your lungs and imprints its magnificent creatures on your mind. It's a twenty first century adventure story with an extremely important mission - the need to respect and conserve the oceans' living creatures. The focus of this book is on the large pelagic fish, the fish giants - the bluefin tuna, swordfish and marlins which in addition to their beauty, strength and courage are severely threatened by industrial/corporate fishing practices. Although these giants are the focus of the book their plights are symptomatic of all of the ocean's species. The oceans are gigantic ecosystems that must be respected and protected for the sake of all species, including humans. Apart from the exciting adventure and the extremely important message of marine conservation, this book is beautifully crafted with detailed interviews, personal reflections and poetic descriptions of the sea and its many life forms. While on one of his sea journeys the author describes in breathtaking detail a diminutive flying fish that suddenly appeared in large numbers skimming the surface of the waves. Your mind is at once on the boat with the author feeling, witnessing, absorbing these magnificent creatures and at the same time transported to a fairyland. Overall this book is an excellent read which is nobly and colorfully written and deserves the attention of all of the earth's citizens who care about a sustainable future.
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Format: Hardcover
This book by Matt Rigney is a fantastic read. Right off the top I want to say I recommend this book to anyone, but particularly anyone who cares about the natural world and the problems caused by Homo Sapiens. This book is both educational and a great read. It does an excellent job of teaching one about the serious problems with some of the world's ocean fisheries and at the same time provides very compelling story telling. I loved it. Sometimes I almost felt as if I were there on the boat with the author. He obviously loves the sea and its living creatures and that authenticity is evident throughout this book.

The book does not range widely across many species but instead focuses on "giant" fish as indicated by the title. Rigney travels the globe and goes in-depth on a half-dozen stories about the Sea of Cortez, Marlin, Swordfish, Bluefin Tuna, and more.

Very highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
In Pursuit of Giants is not only the best book I've read recently about the environment in general, and the oceans in particular, it is the best non-fiction book I've read in a long time. It is one part adventure story -- the author's quest to unearth the truth about what might be the last of the big game fish -- and one part siren call to the disaster facing the big fish of the oceans: blue fin tuna, sword fish, you name it.

I did not think it possible for an author to bring to life something as cold as fish -- but his description of what makes a sword fish so fast is one of the best descriptions of anything i've ever read.

His section on being out for a week or more on the open ocean with the "last" of the swordfish harpooners in Nova Scotia is worth the price of the book. He really seems to have a novelist's talent for bringing real life people alive on the page. What he witnesses the Greenpeace activists in the Med Sea go through as they try to stop illegal fishing, would make a great scene in an movie.

My only regret is I did not read this during my summer vacation at the ocean in Wilmington, NC. To have been able to look up from the book and see the ocean where all this tragedy and drama is being acted out would have heightened the experience.

In short, an "important" book which is also a heck of a read!!
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