One of the many nice things about publishing a book is that the press solicits people to say nice things about it, for printing on the back cover. These mini-book reviews are called blurbs, and the people who write them are called blurbers.
It’s still two months until the book will be out (Feb. 27 for those you counting the days) but the University of Chicago Press has finished the book jacket design and decided on these quotations for the book cover. John R. McNeill is one of the best American Cold War historians. Arthur McEvoy wrote the iconic The Fisherman’s Problem. And Ellen Pikitch is one of my oldest friends, director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, and, incidentally, this year’s winner of the Oscar Elton Sette award from the American Fisheries Society for Outstanding Marine Fishery Biology.
“In this compact and highly readable book, Finley argues that overfishing since the 1950s is less a tragedy of the commons than a tragedy of the Cold War. She shows how geopolitics, science, law, and greed combined to generate a scramble for the oceans and a regime of overfishing that lasts to this day. A welcome addition to several scholarly literatures.”—J. R. McNeill, author of Something New under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World
“Finley makes her point—that government subsidies to deep-sea fishing are a main cause of the current catastrophe—dramatically clear. Her descriptions of the damage that factory trawlers did to the ocean floor and the speed with which they wiped out fisheries in the ’60s and ’70s are especially powerful. Relevant not only to people who are interested in fisheries and oceans, but also to those concerned with global resource crises generally, this interdisciplinary, pragmatic book surpasses most of the work of historians in this area. Synthesizing scientific material with international law and politics, as well as the internal affairs of government agencies and private businesses, Finley links the fisheries story to the ‘great transformation’ of global ecology in the postwar period by way of the technology, policy, and politics of food production. All the Boats on the Ocean is a significant, original book.”—Arthur McEvoy, author of The Fisherman’s Problem: Ecology and Law in the California Fisheries, 1850‒1980.
“Those of us who thought we understood how the oceans plight came about will find much that is new in this thoroughly researched and highly engaging work. Weaving history, politics, and science, Finley shows how the seeds of the current predicament were sown during the Cold War Era, as government subsidies fueled the rapid acceleration of fishing. Her call for a reinterpretation of the role of fishing within government is long overdue. A must-read.”—Ellen Pikitch, Stony Brook University.