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Download The Founding Fish Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Founding Fish Audiobook, by John McPhee Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (427 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John McPhee Narrator: John McPhee Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2016 ISBN: 9781440798863
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The Founding Fish is the shad, and John McPhee’s veneration for it is both scientific and culinary. McPhee was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World. Noted for his accessible and perceptive studies of the physical world, he weaves together strands of personal, natural, and national history in this absorbing study that traces the shad’s importance from the seventeenth century to his family’s dinner table.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It is a mini-encyclopedia, a highly informative and entertaining amalgam of natural and personal history, a work in a class by itself.”

    New York Times

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathon | 1/24/2014

    " Up until the last couple of chapters I probably would have given 3 stars, but the last couple of chapters made the whole thing stand together a bit better. Still, a book with a fairly limited audience. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl | 1/21/2014

    " John McPhee is my favorite writer - I don't even like to fish and I loved this book. He combines natural history with personal observations and descriptions of people that make you feel like you know them, or wish you did. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 1/18/2014

    " I had a lot of fun with this book. I learned so much! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian Storms | 1/16/2014

    " Okay, I'm a naturalist. And admittedly, I have tried reading McPhee. Other than Encounters with the Archdruid. I couldn't do it. I couldn't even get started in The Pine Barrens. His one about the geology of California should be good, but I didn't get into it. I think I have discovered that I like fish a lot more than I like rocks though. The Founding Fish is a book about the American Shad, the decline, the rise, the fall, the fishermen who pursue it, the river restoration efforts that surround it. McPhee is a fisherman in this one, and he speaks with a fisherman's love of the sport and a naturalist's appreciation of the living creature. I listened to this one on my way across the country. I didn't finish it. I still loved it. I will one day listen to the rest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Olaf | 1/15/2014

    " John McPhee rocks "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 12/25/2013

    " Not one of his best. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tom | 12/23/2013

    " I thought it would be more historical, and less Talk about fishing. Since I don't care about fishing persay I didn't care about the book, except for the historical information, and biological information. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nino | 11/21/2013

    " Currently in Chapter 2. Occasionally drifts from main point. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Foster | 11/16/2013

    " Did not enjoy this - some interesting facts but the author's voice was too snobbish and self-important. Distracted me from the content of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Howard White | 11/16/2013

    " Highly recommended. I knew next to nothing about shad before picking this book up in Barnes and Noble. McPhee's ability to weave this extraordinary fish's life history in with the angler's experience is really entertaining and educational. McPhee is a national treasure. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dovofthegalilee | 12/30/2012

    " I admire McPhee as a writer and hold him as a national treasure in my heart but this book nearly did me in. It's too much fish. I guess if that's what you're looking for you might be pleased but I like the geology more myself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Harvey | 10/30/2012

    " Great detail and provides a nice natural history of the delaware and sckuykill river while detailing how important shad were to our country "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jrobertus | 8/11/2012

    " In general I love McPhee's work, such as Coming into the Country. In this case I listened to the author read his audio book. It had its moments, but was really more than I cared to know about shad. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tuck | 4/26/2012

    " this is in the h w wilson catalog for a significant addition to knowledge. but i didn't learn that much. haha. mcphee is a great writer,but this one didn't hit that mark of great natural history, like say "On the run :an angler's journey down the striper coast" by David DiBenedetto. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Powell | 4/11/2012

    " It would be particularly enjoyed by someone who fishes. It made me wish I could try it with an experienced angler. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Onecolymbyte | 3/17/2012

    " Engaging mix of fish stories, fish history, fish biology, and fish adventure. Also makes me want to eat shad. I recommend reading in January to invigorate the shad angler in you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rich Biggs | 11/16/2011

    " For me, there's something hypnotic about McPhee's writing that pulls me in. Though when it's about something I'm not particularly interested in, like fish, it's more of a slog. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jimcgold | 8/11/2011

    " The history of Chad fishing and how it shaped our country. McPhee does not pass on opportunities to relate his present day encounters with chad fisherman, including himself. Well written as always. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 3/19/2011

    " It would be particularly enjoyed by someone who fishes. It made me wish I could try it with an experienced angler. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Howard | 2/19/2011

    " Highly recommended. I knew next to nothing about shad before picking this book up in Barnes and Noble. McPhee's ability to weave this extraordinary fish's life history in with the angler's experience is really entertaining and educational. McPhee is a national treasure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rich | 6/24/2010

    " For me, there's something hypnotic about McPhee's writing that pulls me in. Though when it's about something I'm not particularly interested in, like fish, it's more of a slog. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jrobertus | 6/18/2010

    " In general I love McPhee's work, such as Coming into the Country. In this case I listened to the author read his audio book. It had its moments, but was really more than I cared to know about shad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl | 2/25/2010

    " John McPhee is my favorite writer - I don't even like to fish and I loved this book. He combines natural history with personal observations and descriptions of people that make you feel like you know them, or wish you did. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tuck | 1/4/2010

    " this is in the h w wilson catalog for a significant addition to knowledge. but i didn't learn that much. haha. mcphee is a great writer,but this one didn't hit that mark of great natural history, like say "On the run :an angler's journey down the striper coast" by David DiBenedetto. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Syd | 7/12/2009

    " I thought there would be more science and less fishing information, but I did learn a lot about shad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jesse | 4/8/2009

    " Not my favorite McPhee book but it was still pretty interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 greg | 1/17/2009

    " Do you like shad? You better if you're gonna read this one. I like John McPhee but there's just no getting around the fact that if you're just not interested in a topic of his - it ain't gonna work for ya. Maybe if he'd write a book on trout fishing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Harvey | 12/15/2008

    " Great detail and provides a nice natural history of the delaware and sckuykill river while detailing how important shad were to our country "

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About the Author
Author John McPhee

John McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and was educated at Princeton University and Cambridge University. His writing career began at Time magazine and led to his long association with the New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. The same year he published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with FSG, and followed with several others.