The Fishermen's Frontier
296 pages, 6 x 9
24 b&w illustrations, 18 charts, 1 map
Release Date:01 Jul 2011

The Fishermen's Frontier

People and Salmon in Southeast Alaska

University of Washington Press
In The Fishermen's Frontier, David Arnold examines the economic, social, cultural, and political context in which salmon have been harvested in southeast Alaska over the past 250 years. He starts with the Aboriginal fishery, in which Native fishers lived in close connection with salmon ecosystems and developed rituals and lifeways that reflected their intimacy. The salmon fishery in southeastern Alaska is still very much alive, entangling salmon, fishers, industrialists, scientists, and consumers in a living web of biological and human activity that has continued for thousands of years.
Admirably fills [a] critical gap in the history of world fisheries and of the maritime history of Alaska ... [Arnold's] lively narrative was born of an expertise developed not only through his doctoral research on the topic but his lived experience as a participant in the Alaskan commercial fishery. International Journal of Maritime History
Arnold's analysis ... provides a valuable contribution to the existing literature on the fisheries of the Northwest Coast. This is thanks in large part to its unusual emphasis on ethnic diversity and attention to the vagaries of social power. To paraphrase Arnold, the story of salmon in Southeast Alaska illustrates the ways in which the "public good" has often only ever been good for part of the public. H-Net Reviews
David F. Arnold provides a richly nuanced, comprehensive history of the salmon fishery of southeastern Alaska. Arnold's study will be of considerable interest to scholars-to environmental historians certainly, but also to social, labor, and business historians, along with historians of the American West ... Fishermen's Frontier is an important book, handsomely produced with a detailed map, appropriate illustrations, graphs, endnotes, and a full bibliography. I learned a great deal from reading this study. Business History Review
This book is a welcome addition to a growing scholarship on fisheries and ought to attract a wide readership beyond Alaska specialists. Pacific Northwest Quarterly
Books about fish tend to be tales of decline ... A welcome exception is David's F. Arnold's portrait of the small-boat fishery and fishermen of Southeast Alaska. It is a fishery that is ecologically healthy, if not necessarily economically sound, and if that seems to be a paradox, that is because it is a fishing culture as varied and changeable as the fish themselves ... Arnold's is a thoughtful and insightful examination. Oregon Historical Quarterly
A welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the environmental history of the Pacific Northwest. It should be of interest to environmental historians and anthropologists, Native communities, and natural resource managers. The latter in particular could gain important insight from the actions in the past that impact the present. Western Historical Quarterly
A fascinating environmental history about the interaction between salmon and various peoples in southeast Alaska; Arnold's experience as a former commercial fisherman deepens this worthy account. Seattle Post-Intelligencer
This ambitious and multifaceted book provides a sweeping history of the southeastern Alaska fishery and the people who oriented their lives around it, breaking down conventional boundaries by incorporating Indian, labor, and environmental history, all the while addressing some of the most important themes in western scholarship. American Historical Review
This is a fine labour and environmental history of the Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries from before First Nations' contact with Europeans to the present ... He points out that, while the other elements of nature have agency in history, only humans self-consciously construct culturally and socially the meanings of their interactions with the rest of the natural world. Labour/Le Travail
This is a wonderful book. Its putative subject is a deceptively narrow one: the history of salmon fisheries in southeastern Alaska. Like the best work in environmental history, however - a class in which the book clearly belongs - it has important things to say about a far bigger slice of human experience than one industry in one out-of-the-way place. It will be useful for teaching and thinking about the environment, Progressive Era government, Indians, the frontier, and several other general areas. Journal of American History
David F. Arnold is a professor of history at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington. He has also worked extensively in the commercial salmon fisheries of Alaska.
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