The Gulf

The Making of an American Sea
Narrated by: Tom Perkins
Length: 20 hrs and 45 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (257 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize winner, History, 2018.

Winner of the 2017 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction - the tragic collision between civilization and nature in the Gulf of Mexico becomes a uniquely American story in this environmental epic.

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 21st 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 listeners 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's 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.

©2017 Jack E. Davis (P)2018 Tantor

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    4 out of 5 stars

Very dry narrator

The information is interesting, but the narrator is very dry. It’s hard to stay focused on the content because of the lack inflection. Book is well written. Narration ruins it

7 people found this helpful

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Not the right narrator for this book

For all of the voices at Audible's disposal, and for a book that won the Pulitzer, I don't know why they can't find someone with a more engaging voice to read this book. His dry, nasally delivery kept much of the story from really coming to life, which is really sad because I was super excited to read this book.

4 people found this helpful

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Like Getting a Master's Degree in the Gulf

Living at the beaches of Tampa Bay this book was really important for me to read. I loved it and will probably listen to it again in a year or two. Jack Davis has written the equivalent of getting a Master's Degree in the Gulf of Mexico. The Book is impressive in so many different dimensions including the Land, Sea and Air surrounding the Gulf.

6 people found this helpful

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Great history nearly ruined by horrible narration

I enjoyed this thoroughly researched history. My complaint is with the narrator. One would think he would have researched proper pronunciations, especially in what is a regional-specific history book. It is obvious he has never been to the Gulf South, much less spoken to anyone living in these communities. I almost turned this off multiple times due to the cringe-worthy mispronunciations every 5 or 10 minutes.

1 person found this helpful

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A fantastic history

What a great find. So much great history and information!!! We forget that something as simple as the water off the beach has such a vivid, vital history. May we care well for such a treasure.

1 person found this helpful

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A Treasure

Anyone who loves or lives by the Gulf should read/listen to this amazing book. Meticulously researched and penned with love and wry humor. I will reread it often.

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Turn OFF the TV and listen to this book!

If you love the coast, history, science and politics, listen to this well written .

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americacentric

ignored almost completely the massive mexican side of the gulf ie veracruz, tamaulipas, campeche, merida, etc not to mention cuba

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Superb


This book is the best audiobook I've listened to in ages. It is entertaining but is also an important advisory for everyone about the human impacts on the gulf.

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An interesting book.

An interesting book that covers an environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico. This book is informative, though a large overview and more survey that specific. A must read for Environmentally bent historians.