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The Fishermen and the Dragon

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The Fishermen and the Dragon by Kirk Wallace Johnson
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Aug 09, 2022 | ISBN 9780593590584 | 555 Minutes

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  • Aug 09, 2022 | ISBN 9781984880123

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“[A] powerful story…thoughtful and thoroughly researched. Although many of these events occurred more than 40 years ago, there is a queasy topicality to the fight for the Texas Gulf.”–The Economist

“Fast-paced though complex account of ethnic collision among the fisheries of Gulf Coast Texas…[Johnson’s] fascinating and disturbing narrative is a winning mix of biography, true crime, and ecological study. A carefully written investigation full of villains—and the occasional hero.”–Kirkus (Starred Review)

“[A] richly reported and dramatically rendered investigative work…a sweeping story about racism, oil, big business, and climate change. Part thriller, part courtroom drama, and part environmental crusade.”–Fortune

“Xenophobia, the ethical limits of free speech, environmental disaster, the psychological effects of war, corporate greed—Johnson tackles all of these and more in his follow-up to 2018’s The Feather Thief…a sprawling historical narrative with sobering connections to our current moment. Book clubs interested in nonfiction selections will find much to work with here.”–Booklist (Starred Review)

“Johnson spins a twisty tale that reads like a cross between a crime thriller and Where the Crawdads Sing in its vivid setting of the scene. He blows the lid off a true story lost to history—which still feels shockingly relevant today.”–Amazon (“Best Nonfiction Books in August“)

“A sweeping tour de force of reportage and storytelling.”–Raffi Khatchadourian, Staff Writer for The New Yorker

“Fascinating pieces of this story were lying around for the taking…but Johnson deserves tremendous credit for weaving together so many compelling tales.  In this narrative chock full of details, he ably pieces together a tale that teaches us a lot about the struggle that so many Texas fishermen still face, though these days threats come more from climate change than from men in white robes. And, now as it was then, from corporate polluters.  This relevant and revelatory book provides deeper information about truly shocking episodes in coastal Texas history—but also reason to hope.” —Texas Observer

“Johnson’s exceptional research, including interviews with…Klan sympathizers, and members of the Vietnamese community, allows him to marshal this sprawling history into a propulsive narrative. The result is a fascinating study of the forces roiling the Texas Gulf Coast and other parts of America.”–Publisher’s Weekly

“Johnson builds an exhaustive and disturbing account of how racism drove…white fishermen to misdirect their personal and economic frustrations onto the Vietnamese, setting the immigrants’ boats and houses on fire and eventually enlisting the might of the Ku Klux Klan.”–New York Times (“6 Audiobooks to Listen to Now.”)

“Though The Fishermen and the Dragon is ostensibly an investigative accounting of past events…it reveals much to us about our future. What happens when multinational corporations destroy traditional, local ways of life through greed, incompetence, and malfeasance? And then what happens when displaced communities, with no agenda other than to feed their families, are added to the mix? Kirk Wallace Johnson tries to answer these questions—and more—in this deeply reported story of struggling Texas Gulf Coast fishermen, Vietnamese refugees, rampant and widespread pollution, blatant xenophobia, and the deeply racist violence that inevitably ensues. There is a lesson here, and we’d better learn it fast.”–LitHub (“The Most Anticipated Books of 2022“)

“[T]he true story of struggling fishermen, racism and xenophobia, and environmental disaster on the Texas Gulf Coast in the 1970s.”–BookRiot (“40 of the Best Summer Reads for 2022“)

“Two stories interweave, collide, and ripple for more than 40 years, and Johnson’s thorough, diligent research and brisk storytelling make this narrative compelling for those seeking thrills or truths. Recommended for readers interested in environmental or racial justice and the power of activism.”–Library Journal

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