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Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World's Most Mysterious Fish Paperback – October 11, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
The author takes us from the United States, to New Zeeland and on to the orient and then the Polynesian Island. This work is not merely the study of a specific species of fish; it is also the study of a number of indigenous peoples around the world and their interaction with eels, both as a food source and that of a spiritual nature.
This work takes us unto the world of eels; eels as food, eels as religious symbols (for more than one culture) and eels as another indicator of the problems we are having in our environment.
The author has done what I would consider a good job on his research, but must admit that my endorsement in this area is rather shaky, as I knew absolutely nothing of eels before reading this work. My only encounter with one of their tribe is when I accidently caught on fishing near the coast in Virginia a number of years ago and spent ten minutes dancing around like my head was in fire trying to figure out how I was going to get the thing off the hook without injuring either the eel or myself. Anyway, I took the author's word as to the facts and figures he presented.
The book is well written and is an easy and enjoyable read. My only objection to the work, an this is purely personal, is that I would have like to have read a bit more about the actual eels and less about their impact on some of the cultures addressed in the book. Others may find this a good thing though.
As with most books of this nature lately, I finished it and found myself more than a bit depressed. It would seem that we humans are mucking up the world of eels and if things keep going in the current direction, we may soon only be able to read about yet another extinct animal.
Having recently enjoyed Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg, this book caught my eye. Author James Prosek has travelled extensively studying eels and their place in various cultures - the Maori in New Zealand, the east coast of the US, Japan, and the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia (missing is Europe). However - and in contrast to Four Fish - he focuses mostly on the cultural (or perhaps it would be more correct to say "ethnological") aspects of the eel and the book frequently takes a mystical approach to the subject. The chapters on the Maori were especially long (and tedious) with a multitude of personal stories and their reverence for the eel.Read more ›
To many people, and I believe James Prosek himself, the Eel is a spiritual fish. Eels have inspired mankind the world over and provided the spark for a great deal of theology in world culture. This is not unique to particular groups such as the Maori, but can be found in groups the world over. The Uroboros is very likely originally an Eel because snakes normally coil and do not form single circles. I have seen Eels form a circle. I recall a time around 35 years ago when I caught a fairly large (36") Eel in the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania. My first thought was it was just another Eel. I looked at it and it looked back at me almost like it had a personality. I told my Father I wanted to let it go. However he wanted me to give it away to an elderly Italian friend of his. We put it in the bag and away it went. Sweet white meat- it was delicious.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I haven't actually read the book but I've seen the documentary based on the book and it is educational and entertaining. I want to make my own fish painting.Published 2 months ago by Neil P. Allen
I read this book during a trip to Malaysia, and it couldn't have been better timing. As a book that's been in my "I'll get to it" stack for months, I kept feeling kind of... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Kalera Stratton
Who knew how fascinating these creatures are? They go through an amazing lifecycle that has to be read to be believed. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Peter K.
Great book. Love the interweaving of native culture with life history of the this eel species. Wish there were more books like this.Published 16 months ago by Robert T. Nishimoto
Great book, gotta love Prosek's passion for the eel. This is a good read. Their is also a documentary called the mystery of eels that is a good companion piece to this book.Published 21 months ago by john del
Prosek fandom might regret that there's no painting or illustration here, but to get into only his graphic art is to know just part if his talent. Read morePublished 21 months ago by malesser
James Prosek's book is a marvel. I've always been a sucker for fish and fishing. The eel is a fascinating fish and I have known very little about them (except that they are near to... Read morePublished on December 7, 2013 by Richard Torkar