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Used Book in Good Condition
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There's always a risk involved whenever the promise of "greatest" is dropped into a title. Simply "great" or just
"outstanding" won't cut it when the superlative is the target being cast to. Given that this is a collection of fish
tales both fictional and factual, a little truth-stretching wouldn't be unexpected, but veteran outdoors editor Lamar
Underwood will have none of that; he tries to wriggle off the hook anyway, admitting his choices won't always match
expectations. He didn't need to. His collection of 28 stories, covering fishing in its various forms, more than delivers
on the titular pledge of utmost excellence.
Just look at the contributors. Some, like A.J. McClane, John Gierach, Robert Traver, Roderick L. Haig-Brown, Nick
Lyons, Ernest Schweibert, and Philip Wylie are firmly mounted in the pantheon of angling lit, while others--Hemingway,
Thomas McGuane, Patrick O'Brian, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Zane Grey--are acknowledged trophy scribes. Their
range--both as writers and anglers--is superb, and if the pieces aren't necessarily the writer's most famous or best,
they are certainly, as a group, representative, beautifully written, and diverse in their approach. Not surprisingly,
it's British Columbia's Renaissance man, Haig-Brown, who reels in the line of the book. In his tantalizing opening to
"Sachem River," Haig-Brown captures the allure of great angling writing in a single sentence: "I have told this story
before in different ways, but it is the best fishing story I know and it touches one of the loveliest rivers I know."
Like every selection in The Greatest Fishing Stories Ever Told, it invites you to sit by the fire, coaxing you to read
on as it thoroughly hooks you with its literary charms. --Jeff Silverman