Jack Davis - THE GULF

Start: 
Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 5:00pm
Location: 
2421 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005

Rich in vivid, previously untold stories, The Gulf tells the larger narrative of the American Sea--from the sportfish that brought the earliest tourists to Gulf shores to Hollywood's engagement with the first offshore oil wells--as it inspired and empowered, sometimes to its own detriment, the ethnically diverse groups of a growing nation. Davis' pageant of historical characters is vast, including: the presidents who directed western expansion toward its shores, the New England fishers who introduced their own distinct skills to the region, and the industries and big agriculture that sent their contamination downstream into the estuarine wonderland. Nor does Davis neglect the colorfully idiosyncratic individuals: the Tabasco king who devoted his life to wildlife conservation, the Texas shrimper who gave hers to clean water and public health, as well as the New York architect who hooked the "big one" that set the sportfishing world on fire.

Praise for The Gulf:

“A perceptive historical survey of America’s Gulf Coast, this fascinating work accents the region’s nexus between nature and civilization. . . . Marked by thorough knowledge and fluid writing, this work will enhance any collection of American and environmental history.” —Booklist starred review

“Engaging, truly relevant . . . . The story of this magnificent body of water . . . remains an improbable, valiant survival tale in the face of the BP oil spill and ongoing climate change. An elegant narrative braced by a fierce, sobering environmental conviction.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Comprehensive and thoroughly researched. . . . Davis makes the convincing argument that wiser, far-sighted practices—including those aimed at combating climate change—could help the Gulf region to remain a bastion of resources for the foreseeable future.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780871408662
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - March 14th, 2017

When painter Winslow Homer first sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, he was struck by its "special kind of providence." Indeed, the Gulf presented itself as America's sea bound by geography, culture, and tradition to the national experience and yet, there has never been a comprehensive history of the Gulf until now. And so, in this rich and original work that explores the Gulf through our human connection with the sea, environmental historian Jack E. Davis finally places this exceptional region into the American mythos in a sweeping history that extends from the Pleistocene age to the twenty-first century.

Significant beyond tragic oil spills and hurricanes, the Gulf has historically been one of the world's most bounteous marine environments, supporting human life for millennia. Davis starts from the premise that nature lies at the center of human existence, and takes readers on a compelling and, at times, wrenching journey from the Florida Keys to the Texas Rio Grande, along marshy shorelines and majestic estuarine bays, profoundly beautiful and life-giving, though fated to exploitation by esurient oil men and real-estate developers.

Rich in vivid, previously untold stories, The Gulf tells the larger narrative of the American Sea from the sportfish that brought the earliest tourists to Gulf shores to Hollywood's engagement with the first offshore oil wells as it inspired and empowered, sometimes to its own detriment, the ethnically diverse groups of a growing nation. Davis' pageant of historical characters is vast, including: the presidents who directed western expansion toward its shores, the New England fishers who introduced their own distinct skills to the region, and the industries and big agriculture that sent their contamination downstream into the estuarine wonderland. Nor does Davis neglect the colorfully idiosyncratic individuals: the Tabasco king who devoted his life to wildlife conservation, the Texas shrimper who gave hers to clean water and public health, as well as the New York architect who hooked the big one that set the sportfishing world on fire.

Ultimately, Davis reminds us that amidst the ruin, beauty awaits its return, as the Gulf is, and has always been, an ongoing story. Sensitive to the imminent effects of climate change, and to the difficult task of rectifying grievous assaults of recent centuries, The Gulf suggests how a penetrating examination of a single region's history can inform the country's path ahead.