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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars new millennium classic
I had no interest in eels, this book came my way, and I was entranced. Not just by the subject, fascinating and curiously moving though that turned out to be, but also by the clarity and beauty of Tom Fort's writing, and the atmospheres, characters, senses of place that he evokes. To my mind, this is the first classic of 21st century nature writing in English. Fiennes,...
Published on 14 April 2008 by Tim Bartley

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3.0 out of 5 stars So near and yet so far
Well-written, anecdotal, at times distinctly charming, this could have been a four or five star book. It just seems to miss something. The author is a bit too whimsical, a bit too detached, there is a certain lack of passion, a feeling of a book written to sell in the wake of "Longitude" and "Nathaniel's Nutmeg". This is surprising as Tom Fort is, by profession, a fishing...
Published on 17 Jun 2012 by Peasant


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars new millennium classic, 14 April 2008
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This review is from: The Book of Eels: On the Trail of the Thin-heads (Paperback)
I had no interest in eels, this book came my way, and I was entranced. Not just by the subject, fascinating and curiously moving though that turned out to be, but also by the clarity and beauty of Tom Fort's writing, and the atmospheres, characters, senses of place that he evokes. To my mind, this is the first classic of 21st century nature writing in English. Fiennes, Deakin, Cocker, Mabey, Macfarlane et al may be garnering all the plaudits, but their work is neither as knowledgeable nor as original nor anything like as good as this extraordinary little masterpiece of intimate long knowledge, adventurous enquiry and attentive observation.

It is also - unlike the work of some of those other writers - untainted by the appropriated subjects and tortured language of the creative-writing-school industry, which so bedevils British publishing these days. Its style is as pure and clear and easy as it is beautiful. It celebrates mysteries, the author's wonder at the witnessing of which becomes ours. It explains social and scientific histories with a bright eye and a sure feel for the small points which bring stories to life. Most importantly, through its passion for subject A Book of Eels manages to give, in particular and harrowing detail, the most vivid image of the effect of climate change and our blind squandering of planetary resources that I've ever read. It's a masterwork. Read it, whether or not you have any interest in eels. I'll guarantee they'll haunt your conscience and your consciousness afterwards. It's made me want to get hold of everything else Tom Fort's written.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book, 15 April 2008
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A. Lynch (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book of Eels: On the Trail of the Thin-heads (Paperback)
This book captures the unique nature of the eel from not only a scientific point of view but also on a personal level.
From the capture or elvers, to the breeeding cycle of the eel to the conservation this book covers all aspects of the eels history.
An fascinating book even if you have no interest in eels. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars R..eely good informative book, 24 Dec 2012
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John W. Martin (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book of Eels: On the Trail of the Thin-heads (Paperback)
Was recommended this book and glad I bought it. Very informative and some interesting facts learnt. In turn I recommend it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars So near and yet so far, 17 Jun 2012
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Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book of Eels: On the Trail of the Thin-heads (Paperback)
Well-written, anecdotal, at times distinctly charming, this could have been a four or five star book. It just seems to miss something. The author is a bit too whimsical, a bit too detached, there is a certain lack of passion, a feeling of a book written to sell in the wake of "Longitude" and "Nathaniel's Nutmeg". This is surprising as Tom Fort is, by profession, a fishing journalist. You might disagree about the style, but you'll have to admit one thing the book suffers very much from a lack of is illustrations. There are none, unless you count the little engraving reproduced as a chapter heading. At times this almost made me grind my teeth; Fort describes the North American "rack" for catching eels in a way which makes it impossible to correctly imagine, yet the whole chapter hinges on you understanding what he is talking about. A simple sketch would have sufficed.

I'm sure there must be available, probably out of copyright even, numerous Hhandsome old illustrations of eel nets, traps and baskets, as well as of eels; maps shoing the location of the Sargasso Sea, diagrams of the life cycle of the eel, even (gasp) PHOTOGRAPHS!. But Fort is so intent on weaving his spell of words that he doesn't feel we need them. This is a mistake and I fear one born of arrogance rather than penny-pinching. What a shame.

A much better book - and one Fort has clearly read - is Eels: A Natural and Unnatural History. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book of Eels, 6 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Book of Eels: On the Trail of the Thin-heads (Paperback)
Tom Fort has researched his subject as tenaciously and determined as the nature of his subject. Eel populations are crashing, and we have no idea why;for such a thing to happen to this animal sets alarms off. This book is well written, only someone with a true fascination for their subect can write as movingly as this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Sep 2014
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D. Njoku (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book of Eels: On the Trail of the Thin-heads (Paperback)
All great stuff, some of which I have not yet managed to get around to enjoying.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor on recreational fishing, 1 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Book of Eels: On the Trail of the Thin-heads (Paperback)
A nice book; well written, but little or no coverage of recreational fishing for yellow eels in freshwater, or silver eels in saltwater.
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The Book of Eels: On the Trail of the Thin-heads
The Book of Eels: On the Trail of the Thin-heads by Tom Fort (Paperback - 18 Aug 2003)
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