“In Pursuit of Giants is a very timely and important book, impressively thorough in the extent of its research, including many eloquent interviews at sea with commercial fishermen whose traditional livelihoods, like the splendid animals themselves, are everywhere on the point of disappearance. Like Carl Safina’s Song for the Blue Ocean, it is not only informative but exceptionally well written and a pleasure to read, which should bring it the wide audience it deserves.”
–Peter Matthiessen, author of Men’s Lives
“In Pursuit of Giants is an exquisitely detailed love story, the tale of Matt Rigney’s love of the lions and tigers of the sea—the bluefin tuna, swordfish, and marlin that make sports anglers’ pulses race. It’s a love story colored with sadness from the unrelenting assaults on these fish from commercial fishing, tuna ranching, and even sports anglers themselves. But it’s also a story of hope—Rigney documents the efforts of men and women he met in his travels around the world, individuals who are trying to save these ocean giants. In Pursuit of Giants should inspire its readers to both love and defend its magnificent subjects.”
–Ted Danson, actor and author of Oceana
An avid fisherman, Rigney provides a glorious read in his examination of sportfishing and the imperiled state of ocean life. The vivid immediacy of this call to action ranges from majestic descriptions of a marlin’s oceanic journey and a Japanese fisherman’s outrage at government-industry collusion to fishing fleets’ devastation of marine life. Arguing that the extinction of much ocean life is highly possible within decades, Rigney’s passionate advocacy of conservationist ethics is imbued with direct experience and eschews simplistic bromides. As he claims that sportfishers can help sustain an economy and act as a pro-conservation force, he notes that partial successes in reversing the depletion of marine life cannot offset the impact of commercial overfishing, indiscriminate slaughter of bycatch, and dishonest reporting of catch and evasion of regulations. Portraits of traditional swordfish harpooners and their empathy for the fish they harvest act as a foil to impersonal large-scale fishing, and grant depth to the profession: “The opportunity to experience ocean wilderness and explore what it means to be human… is why many venture out on the sea in pursuit of giants.” The “awe and humility” felt in the presence of these fish is sensitively and powerfully wrought throughout this dramatic, transcendental tale.
–Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)