Thirty-five million Americans-one in eight-like to go fishing. Fly
fishers have always considered themselves the aristocracy of the
sport, and a small number of those devotees, a few thousand at
most, insist upon using one device in the pursuit of their
obsession: a handcrafted split-bamboo fly rod. Meeting this demand
for perfection are the inheritors of a splendid art, one that
reveres tradition while flouting obvious economic sense and reaches
back through time to touch the hands of such figures as Theodore
Roosevelt and Henry David Thoreau.
In "Casting a Spell," George Black introduces readers to rapt
artisans and the ultimate talismans of their uncompromising
fascination: handmade bamboo fly rods. But this narrative is more
than a story of obscure objects of desire. It opens a new vista
onto a century and a half of modern American cultural history. With
bold strokes and deft touches, Black explains how the ingenuity of
craftsmen created a singular implement of leisure-and how
geopolitics, economics, technology, and outrageous twists of
fortune have all come to focus on the exquisitely crafted bamboo
rod. We discover that the pastime of fly-fishing intersects with a
mind-boggling variety of cultural trends, including conspicuous
consumption, environmentalism, industrialization, and even cold war
Black takes us around the world, from the hidden trout streams of
western Maine to a remote valley in Guangdong Province, China,
where grows the singular species of bamboo known as tea stick-the
very stuff of a superior fly rod. He introduces us to the men who
created the tools and techniques for crafting exceptional rods and
those who continue to carry the torch in the pursuit of the
sublime. Never far from the surface are such overarching themes as
the tension between mass production and individual excellence, and
the evolving ways American society has defined, experienced, and
expressed its relationship to the land.
Fly-fishing may seem a rarefied pursuit, and making fly rods might
be a quixotic occupation, but this rich, fascinating narrative
exposes the soul of an authentic part of America, and the great
significance of little things. George Black's latest expedition
into a hidden corner of our culture is an utterly enchanting,
illuminating, and enlightening experience.
|Country of origin:
||214 x 151 x 23mm (L x W x T)
||Hardcover - Paper over boards / With dust jacket
General & literary fiction >
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