"Harrowing in their frank detail and desperate tone, the selections in this anthology pack an emotional wallop...Should be required reading for anyone concerned about the violence in our society and the high rate of recidivism."—Publishers Weekly. Includes work by: Jack London, Nelson Algren, Chester Himes,Jack Henry Abbott, Robert Lowell, Malcolm X, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Piri Thomas.
There is now fairly widespread acknowledgment that the Vietnam War shattered many of the traditional narratives central to formerly prevailing vision of the United States and its history. Some people regret this and seek to restore old narratives that they consider essential to a unifying national identity, but their mighty efforts are unlikely to put Humpty Dumpty together again. Others see this shattering as a liberation from dangerous illusions, a wake-up call that forced millions of Americans toward more truthful and beneficial narratives about American history and culture. There is a third view, one that has gained considerable influence in intellectual circles, that sees any "master narrative" or "meta-narrative"--or, for that matter, any coherently structured narrative--as a socially constructed fantasy that radically falsifies the fragmentary, conflicted, and de-centered character of social experience. Although in this book the author does not engage in overt arguments about narrative theory, he does operate from a theoretical position that highly values narratives, especially coherently structures narratives--including some forms of fantasy--as crucial to comprehending, within our human limits, human reality.
In this brilliant portrait of the oceans’ unlikely hero, H. Bruce Franklin shows how menhaden have shaped America’s national—and natural—history, and why reckless overfishing now threatens their place in both. Since Native Americans began using menhaden as fertilizer, this amazing fish has greased the wheels of U.S. agriculture and industry. By the mid-1870s, menhaden had replaced whales as a principal source of industrial lubricant, with hundreds of ships and dozens of factories along the eastern seaboard working feverishly to produce fish oil. Since the Civil War, menhaden have provided the largest catch of any American fishery. Today, one company—Omega Protein—has a monopoly on the menhaden “reduction industry.” Every year it sweeps billions of fish from the sea, grinds them up, and turns them into animal feed, fertilizer, and oil used in everything from linoleum to health-food supplements. The massive harvest wouldn’t be such a problem if menhaden were only good for making lipstick and soap. But they are crucial to the diet of bigger fish and they filter the waters of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, playing an essential dual role in marine ecology perhaps unmatched anywhere on the planet. As their numbers have plummeted, fish and birds dependent on them have been decimatedand toxic algae have begun to choke our bays and seas. In Franklin’s vibrant prose, the decline of a once ubiquitous fish becomes an adventure story, an exploration of the U.S. political economy, a groundbreaking history of America’s emerging ecological consciousness, and an inspiring vision of a growing alliance between environmentalists and recreational anglers.