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Stronghold: One Man's Quest to Save the World's Wild Salmon

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“A powerful and inspiring story. Guido Rahr’s mission to save the wild Pacific salmon leads him into adventures that make for a breathtakingly exciting read.”—Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia In the tradition of Mountains Beyond Mountains and The Orchid Thief, Stronghold is Tucker Malarkey’s gripping chronicle of an unlikely visionary and his crusade to protect the “A powerful and inspiring story. Guido Rahr’s mission to save the wild Pacific salmon leads him into adventures that make for a breathtakingly exciting read.”—Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia In the tradition of Mountains Beyond Mountains and The Orchid Thief, Stronghold is Tucker Malarkey’s gripping chronicle of an unlikely visionary and his crusade to protect the world’s last bastion for wild salmon. From a young age, Guido Rahr was a misfit among his family and classmates, preferring to spend his time in the natural world. An obsessive fly-fisherman, Rahr noticed when the salmon runs of the Pacific Northwest began to decline—and was one of the few who understood why. As dams, industry, and climate change degraded the homes of these magnificent fish, Rahr saw that the salmon of the Pacific Rim were destined to go the way of their Atlantic brethren: near extinction. An improbable and inspiring story, Stronghold takes us on a wild adventure, from Oregon to Alaska to one of the world’s last remaining salmon strongholds in the Russian Far East, a landscape of ecological richness and diversity that is rapidly being developed for oil, gas, minerals, and timber. And along the way Rahr must navigate a tangled web of scientists, conservationists, Russian oligarchs, corrupt officials, impenetrable bureaucracies, and unexpected allies in order to set into motion a plan to secure the survival of the endangered salmon, an extraordinary keystone species whose demise would reverberate across the planet. Tucker Malarkey, who accompanies Rahr to the Russian wilderness and reports on events from up close, has written a clarion call for a sustainable future, a remarkable work of natural history, and a riveting account of a species whose future is closely linked to that of our own. “All fishermen know that we have to fight to save the waters we love. Stronghold tells a captivating story of the struggle to save the last great salmon rivers.”—Johnny Morris, founder/owner of Bass Pro shops, owner of Cabela’s


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“A powerful and inspiring story. Guido Rahr’s mission to save the wild Pacific salmon leads him into adventures that make for a breathtakingly exciting read.”—Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia In the tradition of Mountains Beyond Mountains and The Orchid Thief, Stronghold is Tucker Malarkey’s gripping chronicle of an unlikely visionary and his crusade to protect the “A powerful and inspiring story. Guido Rahr’s mission to save the wild Pacific salmon leads him into adventures that make for a breathtakingly exciting read.”—Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia In the tradition of Mountains Beyond Mountains and The Orchid Thief, Stronghold is Tucker Malarkey’s gripping chronicle of an unlikely visionary and his crusade to protect the world’s last bastion for wild salmon. From a young age, Guido Rahr was a misfit among his family and classmates, preferring to spend his time in the natural world. An obsessive fly-fisherman, Rahr noticed when the salmon runs of the Pacific Northwest began to decline—and was one of the few who understood why. As dams, industry, and climate change degraded the homes of these magnificent fish, Rahr saw that the salmon of the Pacific Rim were destined to go the way of their Atlantic brethren: near extinction. An improbable and inspiring story, Stronghold takes us on a wild adventure, from Oregon to Alaska to one of the world’s last remaining salmon strongholds in the Russian Far East, a landscape of ecological richness and diversity that is rapidly being developed for oil, gas, minerals, and timber. And along the way Rahr must navigate a tangled web of scientists, conservationists, Russian oligarchs, corrupt officials, impenetrable bureaucracies, and unexpected allies in order to set into motion a plan to secure the survival of the endangered salmon, an extraordinary keystone species whose demise would reverberate across the planet. Tucker Malarkey, who accompanies Rahr to the Russian wilderness and reports on events from up close, has written a clarion call for a sustainable future, a remarkable work of natural history, and a riveting account of a species whose future is closely linked to that of our own. “All fishermen know that we have to fight to save the waters we love. Stronghold tells a captivating story of the struggle to save the last great salmon rivers.”—Johnny Morris, founder/owner of Bass Pro shops, owner of Cabela’s

30 review for Stronghold: One Man's Quest to Save the World's Wild Salmon

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sharn (Caffeine & Commas)

    Stronghold deliverers the importance of our planet, conservation and sustainability in a nice neat adventure filled package! Stronghold chronicles the life and triumphs of Guido Rahr, one of the incredible minds at the forefront of global conservation and sustainability. Tucker perfectly captures Guido as a child with a unique connection to the natural world and subsequently his struggles through academia, eventually emerging as the celebrated naturalist he is today. However, it is easy to see Stronghold deliverers the importance of our planet, conservation and sustainability in a nice neat adventure filled package! Stronghold chronicles the life and triumphs of Guido Rahr, one of the incredible minds at the forefront of global conservation and sustainability. Tucker perfectly captures Guido as a child with a unique connection to the natural world and subsequently his struggles through academia, eventually emerging as the celebrated naturalist he is today. However, it is easy to see that the real star of this book is the Pacific Salmon. The journey of salmon across oceans and rivers back to their place of birth is pivotal to ecosystems as a whole. Malarkey examines the impact of humans on this keystone species through the life work of Guido. This book conveys everything from perfecting a fly-fishing cast to the evolutionary history of Pacific salmon. For me, a non-fiction book should tell a story, regardless of how profound it may be. A truly captivating non-fiction book is one which hooks you from the first page, expands your knowledge through expert experiences and changes the way you look at the world. Stronghold does all of this and more! I love and have a strong background in conservation ecology, which is the reason I was so drawn to this book. I am amazed by how much I have learned about salmon, conservation and general ecosystems from this book. It was so easy to read and the way that Tucker has incorporated the lifelong journey of her cousin alongside the fate of salmon across the globe is simply inspiring. I finished this book with a renewed motivation to do my part in the global conservation of unique ecosystems. I don’t think that I could sing the praises of this book any louder if I tired; If you read one non-fiction book this year make it Stronghold.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    A biography of Guido Rahr and his efforts to preserve wild salmon in the Pacific Basin. Today, he would be classed ADD during his early years. This insightful book was written by his cousin. This was a free review copy obtained via Goodreads.com.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michele Benchouk

    This book is an eye-opener on the crisis regarding salmon health around the globe. There were so many points that I never knew about: how different salmon varieties prefer different parts of a river for spawning and how their bodies are built to return to that specific area; how we can learn so much about a salmon's lifecycle by analyzing its otolith -- basically, the fish's tree rings; like how the fish interact with trees and how climate change is hurting the species; how Atlantic salmon are g This book is an eye-opener on the crisis regarding salmon health around the globe. There were so many points that I never knew about: how different salmon varieties prefer different parts of a river for spawning and how their bodies are built to return to that specific area; how we can learn so much about a salmon's lifecycle by analyzing its otolith -- basically, the fish's tree rings; like how the fish interact with trees and how climate change is hurting the species; how Atlantic salmon are gone. Truly, awe-inspiring and educational on how valuable these fish are. I admire Guido Rahr and his dedication, and I found his experiences with flyfishing very interesting. Wild Salmon Center focuses work on Pacific salmon and how they are being impacted. It would be very valuable to focus the end of the book more directly on what the average reader can do to help change this situation. Where can we use our purchasing and lobbying powers? As the book says, once the ecosystem is impacted, it can never be fully restored... we have to save what remains. A recommended read for everyone interested in salmon, ecosystems, and the Pacific Northwest. Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of this book to read and review. All opinions above are my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Hennegen

    Yes, this is a non-fiction book about salmon, but it is also an extraordinary story, told with rich language and a fluid, playful cadence. There's this balance between the concrete and explicit (bio-diversity, evolution, keystone species, geo-political history, etc.) with the deeply personal, with lyrical, poetic musings. It is all together enrapturing. Sometimes my experience reading non-fiction is that suggests the writer prioritized the content, and may well be an expert on said content, but Yes, this is a non-fiction book about salmon, but it is also an extraordinary story, told with rich language and a fluid, playful cadence. There's this balance between the concrete and explicit (bio-diversity, evolution, keystone species, geo-political history, etc.) with the deeply personal, with lyrical, poetic musings. It is all together enrapturing. Sometimes my experience reading non-fiction is that suggests the writer prioritized the content, and may well be an expert on said content, but falls short in form. Stronghold never feels content-over-form, but rather, an exquisite coming together of the two to form this sometimes elegiac, sometimes ode-like, wonder-filled, specific and immediate and urgent book.I never felt the content was spoon-fed. Malarkey lays the foundation to get me there but she also asks me to think, to engage. To care. In a time when we might listen to podcasts at 1.5x speed to ingest as much information as possible, quickly google to get the information we need, this book asks us to slow, to relish, to appreciate the rapture of nature. To see those who fight indefatigably for the preservation of this world. Extraordinary.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    5 stars A fascinating look at the world's declining salmon population and the ecological concerns happening around the world. The future is grim if changes are not made soon. I definitely recommend this book to everyone! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. The views given are my own

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I chose this book on the strength of the publishers blurb, that it is in the vein of The Orchid Thief which I loved, and it’s about saving Salmon, from Oregon and beyond, and I live in Oregon. I didn’t know that Guido Rahr and the author are cousins or that they were children together in Deschutes county where I live, or that Guido was the first reptile interpreter at the High Desert Museum where I am a living history interpreter. I don’t fly fish, I don’t fish, but once I started reading this b I chose this book on the strength of the publishers blurb, that it is in the vein of The Orchid Thief which I loved, and it’s about saving Salmon, from Oregon and beyond, and I live in Oregon. I didn’t know that Guido Rahr and the author are cousins or that they were children together in Deschutes county where I live, or that Guido was the first reptile interpreter at the High Desert Museum where I am a living history interpreter. I don’t fly fish, I don’t fish, but once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop. It’s about fish, it’s about habitat and it’s about keeping them both safe from the encroachment of opportunistic development. Guido’s argument to the Russians was - don’t do to the salmon what the Americans did to theirs. I would say to the Americans, don’t do to habitats what the Russians did to theirs, like Sakhalin Island. As Americans we still have a voice and we need to use it. In the credits i read that the author was a researcher and coauthor of Sleepwalking Through History, a very powerful book that I think should be required reading for all Americans. I’ve read it three times and given copies away; it’s kinda embarrassing. This is a very readable book that contains a powerful message that we cannot afford to ignore. Read it, give copies to your friends and talk about it. We still have time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    sarah morgan

    Thank you, Net Galley and Spiegel & Grau for the chance to read this astonishing book. I chose it initially because of the title. As a native Oregonian, I thought it would interest me because salmon is our heritage. Not far into the book, I realized I knew half the people at the center of this story, which made it even more interesting. Then I fell under the spell of Malarkey’s amazing talent in telling a gripping adventure story while informing readers of the plight of salmon worldwide, how Thank you, Net Galley and Spiegel & Grau for the chance to read this astonishing book. I chose it initially because of the title. As a native Oregonian, I thought it would interest me because salmon is our heritage. Not far into the book, I realized I knew half the people at the center of this story, which made it even more interesting. Then I fell under the spell of Malarkey’s amazing talent in telling a gripping adventure story while informing readers of the plight of salmon worldwide, how their survival affects all of us. Hats off to the remarkable Guido Rhar for his efforts to save the salmon and thank you, Tucker Malarkey, for the mesmerizing read.  Five BIG stars “A crazy-good, intensely lived book that reads like an international thriller—only it’s our beloved salmon playing the part of diamonds or oil or gold.”—David James Duncan, author of The River Why and The Brothers K. Yes, it’s all of that! 

  8. 5 out of 5

    Staci Cannon

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down, even during a beach vacation. It is a gripping biography of a man dedicated to a sensitive ecosystem that is in peril. I appreciated that the author (Guido’s cousin) did not gloss over her subject’s shortcomings, but crafted a complete storyline that described him and his achievements in full detail. I learned so much about salmon and the geography that relies on salmon, and I am now terrified that our planet will lose these precious I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down, even during a beach vacation. It is a gripping biography of a man dedicated to a sensitive ecosystem that is in peril. I appreciated that the author (Guido’s cousin) did not gloss over her subject’s shortcomings, but crafted a complete storyline that described him and his achievements in full detail. I learned so much about salmon and the geography that relies on salmon, and I am now terrified that our planet will lose these precious creatures through unregulated development. I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads giveaway, and I am so thankful.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Schuyler Wallace

    As a lifelong hard-core fisherman, I have despaired at humanity’s handling of the salmon’s existence. Totally a slave to its own stubborn fight for life, the salmon’s numbers have greatly diminished in recent years by the incompetence displayed by supposed experts and organizations charged with saving the vanishing fish. These inept schemes to protect and replenish their numbers have only one thing in common; their failures. Tucker Malarkey tells us about a man, Guido Rahr, whose makeup may hav As a lifelong hard-core fisherman, I have despaired at humanity’s handling of the salmon’s existence. Totally a slave to its own stubborn fight for life, the salmon’s numbers have greatly diminished in recent years by the incompetence displayed by supposed experts and organizations charged with saving the vanishing fish. These inept schemes to protect and replenish their numbers have only one thing in common; their failures. Tucker Malarkey tells us about a man, Guido Rahr, whose makeup may have the same stubborn fortitude as the salmon. The book’s title, “Stronghold,” is the sobriquet for a wild river untouched by civilization; only found in a few places. The book is the story of a remarkable conservationist who wages an inflexible battle against the environmental, commercial, and recreational greediness that threatens these stronghold rivers, most of which are found in Russia. It’s a story that indeed produces tears and a broken heart as this magnificent fish fights its natural battle for survival against the unnatural demons of over fishing, poisons, environmental carelessness, and stupidity of people and their governments. Is there any hope that the battle will ever replenish our natural resources with the reappearance of this glorious creature? Probably not, if the disappearance of other wild animals is any gauge. Man’s careless stewardship has caused the demise of many beautiful beasts. Malarkey has enumerated these excesses and, in her study of Rahr, has introduced a person who might have the fortitude and aptitude to create new approaches to the distressing problem, even when dealing with the intransigent Russia government (and America’s fumbling efforts). Rahr exemplifies the ingrained strong will of the fish he fights to protect. As a non academic who struggled with everything except interest in the natural world, Rahr has talked his way into being a strident and persuasive world wide advocate for the salmon’s well being. His fight against gamesmanship, corruption, and stupidity is a magnificent display of dedication and negotiation skills. Malarkey has displayed her own impressive skills by writing an intriguing book about this determined defender. Her ability to unsnarl this complicated endeavor is exceptional. We should all look inward at our attitudes and insist on meaningful reform. We must be vocal and demanding in our attempts to bring order to the fight against extinction. No excesses or stumbling attempts at conservation should be allowed and only officials who are single-minded and totally unbiased should be given the reins of any protection effort. After reading this astounding book, I am rededicating my efforts to the goal of protecting the glorious salmon from annihilation and from inept attempts at conservation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    4.5 stars. Stronghold is a fascinating book about Guido (Gee-do) Rahr and his passion for salmon, fly-fishing for them, and in particular- SAVING them. I am not what one would call a "fish person". I don't fish or even eat much fish, however I am passionate about the conservation of our natural lands and resources and this book really opened my eyes to the fact that salmon are a keystone species throughout the Pacific Rim, as they once were in the North Atlantic until development, pollution, and 4.5 stars. Stronghold is a fascinating book about Guido (Gee-do) Rahr and his passion for salmon, fly-fishing for them, and in particular- SAVING them. I am not what one would call a "fish person". I don't fish or even eat much fish, however I am passionate about the conservation of our natural lands and resources and this book really opened my eyes to the fact that salmon are a keystone species throughout the Pacific Rim, as they once were in the North Atlantic until development, pollution, and overfishing caused the collapse of salmon (and other species) in the Atlantic region. The author (Rahr's first cousin) really made me care about fish and opened my eyes to the challenges they face and the value they offer to the rivers and the lands, plants, and terrestrial animals surrounding their rivers!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Csimplot Simplot

    Excellent book!!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cavak

    Stronghold is an extraordinary read. It has a wild streak for hunters yet it's approachable for those who aren't fans. Romanticism for the wild is both embraced and restrained, a curious balance that occurs against unfamiliarity. A fascinating glimpse of a life that may be far away from yours is all rendered in trips to remote parts of American and Russian rivers. Who knew fly fishing could open so many doors? Guido knows a surprising amount of people, famous and influential people even. Harriso Stronghold is an extraordinary read. It has a wild streak for hunters yet it's approachable for those who aren't fans. Romanticism for the wild is both embraced and restrained, a curious balance that occurs against unfamiliarity. A fascinating glimpse of a life that may be far away from yours is all rendered in trips to remote parts of American and Russian rivers. Who knew fly fishing could open so many doors? Guido knows a surprising amount of people, famous and influential people even. Harrison Ford and Tom Brokaw weren't names that I was expecting to see. Most of all, I adore Guido's enthusiasm, charisma, and forthrightness for his cause. Refreshing, really. It's what I'd like to see in a story about an ongoing environmental issue, one that requires grunt work and networking to achieve. Aiming for the future benefits inspire me to try harder in life too. Rounding out the tale of Guido was Malarkey's own Russian experiences. She makes it clear that while Guido can appear one with nature, it isn't easy for everyone to be that way. It takes a particular character. Her personal input added to the beauty of the landscape she saw, even if the trip to her destination was brutal and cut short. Two major dents in Stronghold weakened my enjoyment of it, the biggest being Malarkey neglecting to mention the indigenous tribes, environmentalist groups, and locals who did protest North America's dams and building projects before they were built. The history behind why the dams were built could have been fleshed out to better parallel the second half of the book. She does acknowledge changes with Russia. Not so much with North America. Even current indigenous departments and grassroots organizations get scant recognition. Malarkey usually makes Guido out to be "one of the few" to notice the depleting salmon, and that is misleading. Adding to that is the "only results matter" mindset from the historical instances she cited, which still doesn't sit well with me. Another aspect was how undercut Guido's family felt. Rather than capturing a family life torn between career, activism, and bonding, Malarkey draws Lee and their children to be caricatures. It's like they were acknowledged yet ignored in favor of Guido's missions. No surprise his eldest son was the one to get the most coverage since he was the one most like Guido and closest to Malarkey's eldest son. What made it worse to me was Malarkey siding with her cousin in a jocular "Hey, get with the program" mentality towards Lee's legitimate marriage concerns. That made it feel like Guido and Lee's humanity were glossed over for surreal hero worship to me. Indispositions aside, I did find myself being enthralled. Stronghold is a persuasive account for natural resource and wildlife conservation. And anyone who wants to know the real struggle facing non-profits might be enlightened by the step-by-step process Guido goes on throughout the book. Ongoing, too. That's pretty admirable. Thank you, Malarkey and Guido, for sharing your stories! I'll probably donate something to the Wild Salmon Center in the future. I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Stivers

    A book as beautiful as the land and creatures it teaches about. I am so impressed with this book. The extent of my fish-based knowledge is a handful of experiences catching bluegill with my grandfather in Kentucky, which falls far short of the majesty of the salmon. But this book is about so much more than the salmon itself: about how humans don't appreciate something until its gone or recognize the consequences of their actions, how dire different environmental issues are and how much lack of c A book as beautiful as the land and creatures it teaches about. I am so impressed with this book. The extent of my fish-based knowledge is a handful of experiences catching bluegill with my grandfather in Kentucky, which falls far short of the majesty of the salmon. But this book is about so much more than the salmon itself: about how humans don't appreciate something until its gone or recognize the consequences of their actions, how dire different environmental issues are and how much lack of care there is to fix them. It's not all bad though. This book portrays natural beauty in such an immersive way. It's easy to forget that you're reading non-fiction because the prose is so lovely; I will read any topic Malarkey writes on in the future because her style is perfection. The natural beauty of the world really shines through her words and I loved the almost mystical quality of those special people in this world who feel and experience nature on this whole other level from the rest of us. The people portrayed in the book are as fascinating as the events themselves. I particularly loved the chapters in Russia and thought that Malarkey really nailed the soul of that culture in a great way. It was great insight into the zeitgeist of the country and its people. But of course the star of the show is Guido. Like a fictional character we watch him grow and change and become a man who's responsible for saving untold acres of virgin land and the animals living there. I'm in awe of his efforts. The love and fascination Malarkey has with her cousin is palpable, especially in the scenes where it's just the two of them on the river. This is a really amazing book. You don't even need to be interested in fish. It's a story about people, about wanting something bigger than yourself, and pushing as hard as you can to make it happen. I would recommend this to any reader but particularly to nature lovers. If you've ever walked alone in the quiet of nature, looked around, and thought about how incredible this planet is, this book will be a treasure. Note: I received a Kindle edition of this book via NetGalley and a hardcover copy from Goodreads in exchange for the honest review above. I would like to thank Goodreads, NetGalley, the publisher Random House, and the author Tucker Malarkey for the opportunity to do so.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Schmidt

    I received an advance copy through Goodreads First Reads, and I am grateful for the opportunity. This is a moving book that connects with you on an emotional level - after all, as Guido learned, to get people to really listen to you, you have to draw them into your story and make them feel the experience and wonder. I felt a sense of empathy for Guido, since I've had trouble socializing myself, and the vivid outdoor landscapes, along with the encroaching destruction, were amazing. I learned a lot I received an advance copy through Goodreads First Reads, and I am grateful for the opportunity. This is a moving book that connects with you on an emotional level - after all, as Guido learned, to get people to really listen to you, you have to draw them into your story and make them feel the experience and wonder. I felt a sense of empathy for Guido, since I've had trouble socializing myself, and the vivid outdoor landscapes, along with the encroaching destruction, were amazing. I learned a lot of new and important facts about salmon. If there is one weakness in the book I read, it's that it never fully reached a balance between two objectives: telling the story of Guido's journey, and calling people to take action on behalf of the natural world. At first, I thought that the book would largely be about the threat to salmon and what to do about it, so I was a little off put at first when the first part of the story focused on Guido's coming of age rather than specifically the plight of the salmon. Later on, when the book dealt more with the efforts to save the salmon habitats, the opposite effect happened, since we started drifting away from Guido to a bunch of other people. which sort of made me lose interest because by then I had been drawn into learning about Guido's story specifically. Then at the end, while I now know more about the problems salmon face and efforts to help them, I didn't really learn what I can personally do to help. The book as a whole was very compelling and interesting, but I think it needs to have a more solid objective, one way or the other. In any case, though, since this was only an advance copy, I am confident that Tucker will continue to improve the book for its official release. With how good it is already, I see smooth swimming ahead for it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I don't know whether this book is being mis-marketed or if I just made it up in my head that it would be as informative as Paul Greenburg's Four Fish, but Stronghold was too much a biography about one man I didn't care about (the author's cousin, Guido Rahr), and too little about salmon. Guido Rahr has the kind of personality we often find compelling—an essentially selfish, self-isolated white man with an obsessive interest that must take precedence over everything else, including loving his chil I don't know whether this book is being mis-marketed or if I just made it up in my head that it would be as informative as Paul Greenburg's Four Fish, but Stronghold was too much a biography about one man I didn't care about (the author's cousin, Guido Rahr), and too little about salmon. Guido Rahr has the kind of personality we often find compelling—an essentially selfish, self-isolated white man with an obsessive interest that must take precedence over everything else, including loving his children or supporting his wife. I really just didn't care about the details of Guido's personal life or personality, all of which left a bad taste in my mouth. I wanted to learn more about salmon, but beyond a quick crash course in the beginning, little scientific information is conveyed about them. Stronghold also makes weird assumptions, like that I, the average reader, would find fishing interesting even without it being properly explained. You can make an argument for almost anything being compelling, but in the case of fishing (which takes up great bulks of the book), no argument was made. There was no attempt to make it interesting. The author mentioned briefly that Guido is the rare hunter-environmentalist, but doesn't explain why. I know so much stuff about this person I don't care about, but one of the things that seems most important wasn't explained at all. Guido probably has in-depth thoughts about the ethics of fishing, but I don't know them. This book holds good information about the enormous complexity involved in protecting nature on an international level, but it is clouded with its focus on Guido Rahr. The book could be shorter, more impactful, and more informative if it focused on the fish and not the man.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This is a great read! What a thrilling book about the wonders of nature and the adventures of a passionate conservationist. This is recent history and an inspiring tale. The details are clearly laid out, from the very naming of fish (a cherry salmon, steelhead) to the habitats that anadromous creatures use (marine and terrestrial) to working with the rich and famous to fund fish protection. The book tells fascinating stories about fish and people. The results of careful study reveal the secrets o This is a great read! What a thrilling book about the wonders of nature and the adventures of a passionate conservationist. This is recent history and an inspiring tale. The details are clearly laid out, from the very naming of fish (a cherry salmon, steelhead) to the habitats that anadromous creatures use (marine and terrestrial) to working with the rich and famous to fund fish protection. The book tells fascinating stories about fish and people. The results of careful study reveal the secrets of wild and productive rivers (did you know that larvae in the mud become the flies that fish need? or that salmonids have diverse timing, so that even within one species and one river, individual fish feed and move up or down stream at different times?). The life story of Guido Rawr reflects the singleminded pursuit of a naturalist and the devotion of a fly fisherman. We can learn so much about studying, leading, and fighting from this book. The author tells us exciting stories. I do highly recommend Stronghold, a modern tale of conservation and the miracle that are the salmon around the Pacific Rim. Clearly there is work still to be done (both restoration and protection) to ensure that our grandchildren will have salmon. Recommended for people interested in ecology, wild rivers, salmon, current conservation including reserves, the Soviet Far East, the Pacific Rim, or heroic idealism. I am talking about this book to lots of people. (Read for review, as I received a pre-publication version from NetGalley).

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Tucker Malarkey has done a magnificent job of chronicling the wonder and plight of wild salmon and one man's quest to save them by protecting "Strongholds" where salmon are already thriving.  Malarkey mixes science and adventure to tell the compelling story of how Guido Rahr, her cousin, became one of the foremost experts on wild salmon.  The reader is drawn in with tales of harrowing helicopter rides in Russia, rafting down unmapped rivers, and spending idyllic summers on the Deschutes.  Along Tucker Malarkey has done a magnificent job of chronicling the wonder and plight of wild salmon and one man's quest to save them by protecting "Strongholds" where salmon are already thriving.  Malarkey mixes science and adventure to tell the compelling story of how Guido Rahr, her cousin, became one of the foremost experts on wild salmon.  The reader is drawn in with tales of harrowing helicopter rides in Russia, rafting down unmapped rivers, and spending idyllic summers on the Deschutes.  Along his journey, Guido meets many interesting characters including Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Tom Brokaw, and Russia oligarchs. Guido makes the case for why we need to save the salmon strongholds.  As a "keystone species", wild salmon are critical to the balance of the entire ecosystem.  Time is running out to protect these strongholds from poachers, roads, and the encroachment of man.  In order to convey the importance of these strongholds, Guido brings influential people to these wild rivers where they experience them firsthand, share in the adventure and Guido's passion for these fish. Whether you are a fly-fisherman, naturalist, just like a good tale of adventure, or are all three, like me, you will thoroughly enjoy this book.  I was honored to receive a free copy of this book by Random House in consideration for an honest review.  I truly enjoyed this read and will be giving copies to my fishing buddies.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Blanca

    I received an advance copy of this book from a giveaway from Random House Publishing. Expecting some sort of environmental exposé, filled with harrowing statistics and quantitative research on just how devastatingly humans have deteriorated the earth, its atmosphere, and its ecosystems, I was unprepared (albeit pleasantly surprised) to be thrust into this cadent narrative of tireless conservation efforts. Guido Rahr’s mission to remediate salmon habitats such as Russia’s Kamchatka River is an un I received an advance copy of this book from a giveaway from Random House Publishing. Expecting some sort of environmental exposé, filled with harrowing statistics and quantitative research on just how devastatingly humans have deteriorated the earth, its atmosphere, and its ecosystems, I was unprepared (albeit pleasantly surprised) to be thrust into this cadent narrative of tireless conservation efforts. Guido Rahr’s mission to remediate salmon habitats such as Russia’s Kamchatka River is an undertaking as tumultuous and winding as the Kamchatka itself, but Malarkey gracefully and insightfully tackles the topic from its exposition to its realization. Stronghold: One Man's Quest to Save the World's Wild Salmon is a personal, observant look into the life of the man whose work in saving the salmon is long and wearisome, yet, even when progress seems to be going backward rather than forward, perpetually hopeful in the ability of humans to right the wrongs they have created and to protect a species that contributes so much to the dynamic vitality and diversity of the planet on which we live.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Llull (PGP PRESS)

    Just the type of book I needed in my life right now! I won it in a Goodreads giveaway ages ago, and I haven’t put it down. I’ve shared this book with sooo many people! It’s changed my life in so many ways, I can’t imagine my life without it now. I turn to this book for a boost of inspiration and for when I need uplifting or a push. Another reader has said, “its about more than salmon”, and YESSSS it’s so much, much, more. His words and writings connect you with the salmon streams and rivers so t Just the type of book I needed in my life right now! I won it in a Goodreads giveaway ages ago, and I haven’t put it down. I’ve shared this book with sooo many people! It’s changed my life in so many ways, I can’t imagine my life without it now. I turn to this book for a boost of inspiration and for when I need uplifting or a push. Another reader has said, “its about more than salmon”, and YESSSS it’s so much, much, more. His words and writings connect you with the salmon streams and rivers so that you can truly understand and appreciate it’s importance. It’s important that these rivers systems are protected and it’s important that we learn how to protect them. I highly suggest everyone and anyone to read this book and immerse yourself in the history of salmon and the stories, active campaigns, and movements by the wild salmon center. :) Everything they do is just from the heart and to protect our future and the environment and I sooooo promise you...this book will resonate with you too! <3 Thanks so much to the publishing team, or Tucker or (whoever), for randomly picking me, I’m forever grateful. And to Guido Rahr, as well, for being such a passionate and courageous human being. Your work and your team of leaders are such an inspiration to me. United by Salmon! I love all the Salmon! Best, Jess xoxo

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    What an incredible book! “Stronghold" follows the author's cousin, Guido Rarh, in his quest to save the world’s at-risk wild salmon. Guido, while in his youth a bit of a misfit, was a gifted student of both human and animal nature. This gift was not simply magic, however, but was built on his infinite study of structures and systems. And while at first, he was only in his element in nature he soon realized to protect the fragile eco-systems he cherished he would have to learn to navigate systems What an incredible book! “Stronghold" follows the author's cousin, Guido Rarh, in his quest to save the world’s at-risk wild salmon. Guido, while in his youth a bit of a misfit, was a gifted student of both human and animal nature. This gift was not simply magic, however, but was built on his infinite study of structures and systems. And while at first, he was only in his element in nature he soon realized to protect the fragile eco-systems he cherished he would have to learn to navigate systems such as Government and Corporate bureaucracy. The author captures the balance of intensity, honesty, and intuition Guido brings to every problem he tackled in his journey to protect his world of salmon. It is an amazing story of passion and vision, and the author does an incredible job of bringing the reader along the entire journey. I absolutely recommend this book not only for the story it tells of Guido but the story of a fragile eco-system and one hope of saving such endangered systems. I was honored to receive a free advance copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher, Random House Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan Burlew

    I thought this book was amazing!!! Before reading it I knew salmon was tasty and good for you. I knew nothing about sustainability. It was just something tree huggers talked about. The author has a way with words. I learned quite a bit but it was not dry or boring. Guido Rahr is one in a million! From a very young age he was interested in reptiles. He could spend days watching and learning and understanding nature without getting bored. As he grew up he became fascinated with fish,especially sal I thought this book was amazing!!! Before reading it I knew salmon was tasty and good for you. I knew nothing about sustainability. It was just something tree huggers talked about. The author has a way with words. I learned quite a bit but it was not dry or boring. Guido Rahr is one in a million! From a very young age he was interested in reptiles. He could spend days watching and learning and understanding nature without getting bored. As he grew up he became fascinated with fish,especially salmon. He started to understand that if the the rivers were not protected the salmon would die out in the Pacific like they already had in the Atlantic. This became his life's mission. He had many obstacles but didn't give up. If one way wouldn't work he kept trying until he found a way. Everyone should read this book!!! Each person can make a difference even if it doesn't seem that way. We all need to work towards saving the earth!

  22. 4 out of 5

    H R Koelling

    Gorgeously written and captivating story of one man's quest to save the world's salmon. Neither too technical nor too filled with fishing stories, this book will appeal to anyone who loves the sport of fishing for native salmon and steelhead. It's told in an easy to read narrative style that holds the reader's interest throughout. There are several great fishing tales, but that's not the point of the book. Most importantly, it offers up a new way to approach and view the importance of salmon to t Gorgeously written and captivating story of one man's quest to save the world's salmon. Neither too technical nor too filled with fishing stories, this book will appeal to anyone who loves the sport of fishing for native salmon and steelhead. It's told in an easy to read narrative style that holds the reader's interest throughout. There are several great fishing tales, but that's not the point of the book. Most importantly, it offers up a new way to approach and view the importance of salmon to the ecosystems where they still exist. I learned a lot from this book although I never felt like the book was specifically trying to teach me anything. Lastly, as an Oregonian, so much of this book takes place on Oregon rivers, so I felt a deeper connection to the overall message. My love of the Deschutes is as strong as Tucker and Guido's. If I ever see either on them on the river I will pay my deepest respects and offer my sincerest gratitude for doing so much to save these beloved fish.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Harrenga

    I was initially intrigued by this book because of my personal connections to nature and love of fishing. This books tells the story of a man, Guido Rahr, and his lifelong compassion and determination to protecting nature, specifically salmon. He creates a "stronghold" initiative and does incredible things with it. I expected this book to read more scientifically but it was told in an easy to follow narrative prose. The science was weaved in so that the story made sense. I really enjoyed this boo I was initially intrigued by this book because of my personal connections to nature and love of fishing. This books tells the story of a man, Guido Rahr, and his lifelong compassion and determination to protecting nature, specifically salmon. He creates a "stronghold" initiative and does incredible things with it. I expected this book to read more scientifically but it was told in an easy to follow narrative prose. The science was weaved in so that the story made sense. I really enjoyed this book and felt like I was traveling the world too! Tucker Malarkey did a wonderful job of portraying the beauty and wildness of the lands being explored. This story was written creatively and I would definitely recommend for anyone interested in conservation or who has a love for the outdoors! Thank you @netgalley for the ARC!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jk

    I received a free Advance Reader's Edition of this book via the Goodreads Giveaways program and would like to express my gratitude to any involved in making that possible. This book tells the incredible true story of the life and life's work of Guido Rahr. Rahr followed an unconventional life path to become one of the greatest protectors of wild salmon and their river ecosystems and reading his story was inspiring and emotional for me. I learned a lot about salmon as a keystone species, the ecosy I received a free Advance Reader's Edition of this book via the Goodreads Giveaways program and would like to express my gratitude to any involved in making that possible. This book tells the incredible true story of the life and life's work of Guido Rahr. Rahr followed an unconventional life path to become one of the greatest protectors of wild salmon and their river ecosystems and reading his story was inspiring and emotional for me. I learned a lot about salmon as a keystone species, the ecosystems they support and just how incredibly important it is to protect the wild places where they thrive. I also loved learning about the Russian Far East and reading about the danger and adventure of exploring the untouched wilderness it contains. Well written and moving, I highly recommend this to anyone with any interest in nature and protecting the wild places we have left.

  25. 4 out of 5

    RoF

    I received a free copy from Goodreads. This book is a good mix between a biography and the presentation of a conservation project. The author is a cousin of the main character, which sometimes can look as a risk for her objectivity. I am not a fisherman but I was pleased with the description of the gears, the fish and other technical details. Since Guido Rahr dedicated the main part of this life to his Stronghold project, the 2 main topics of the book are intricate and the author manages to develop I received a free copy from Goodreads. This book is a good mix between a biography and the presentation of a conservation project. The author is a cousin of the main character, which sometimes can look as a risk for her objectivity. I am not a fisherman but I was pleased with the description of the gears, the fish and other technical details. Since Guido Rahr dedicated the main part of this life to his Stronghold project, the 2 main topics of the book are intricate and the author manages to develop them clearly. One suggestion would be to add dates to the title of the chapters because the book follows a chronological order. The descriptions of the natural environment are great and should be by themselves a strong argument for everybody to take actions to preserve them, locally and globally.

  26. 4 out of 5

    ⋟Kimari⋞

    You might also enjoy: ✱ Made of Salmon: Alaska Stories from the Salmon Project ✱ Kings of the Yukon ✱ The Good Rain ✱ Eat Like a Fish ✱ The Founding Fish ✱ Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food ✱ Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World ✱ American Wolf ✱ Coyote America ✱ American Serengeti ✱ The Seabird's Cry ✱ Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    A biography of the author's cousin, Guido Rahr, emphasizing his work with the Wild Salmon Center and his "salmon stronghold" conservation strategy. Rahr is a unique individual and the story of how developed his conservation credentials and got to be the Executive Director of the Wild Salmon Center was interesting. The authors descriptions of the environments and animal life was beautiful and the personalities involved was fascinating. The development of the efforts to establish a stronghold appr A biography of the author's cousin, Guido Rahr, emphasizing his work with the Wild Salmon Center and his "salmon stronghold" conservation strategy. Rahr is a unique individual and the story of how developed his conservation credentials and got to be the Executive Director of the Wild Salmon Center was interesting. The authors descriptions of the environments and animal life was beautiful and the personalities involved was fascinating. The development of the efforts to establish a stronghold approach to wildlife conservation to protect wild salmon in the entire Pacific Rim, particularly the Russian Far East, was well explained and the book was well researched. I received a free ARC of this book through the Goodreads First Read's giveaways.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Cobb Sabatini

    I won an Advance Reader's Edition of Stronghold: One Man's Quest to Save the World's Wild Salmon by Tucker Malarkey from Goodreads. A must-read for naturalists and environmentalists, Stronghold: One Man's Quest to Save the World's Wild Salmon by Tucker Malarkey is a delightful read for everyone. Stronghold is more than the story of one man's incredible life, it is also a chronicle about the magnificent salmon and its critical role in not only its own ecosystems, but also in sustaining life on Ear I won an Advance Reader's Edition of Stronghold: One Man's Quest to Save the World's Wild Salmon by Tucker Malarkey from Goodreads. A must-read for naturalists and environmentalists, Stronghold: One Man's Quest to Save the World's Wild Salmon by Tucker Malarkey is a delightful read for everyone. Stronghold is more than the story of one man's incredible life, it is also a chronicle about the magnificent salmon and its critical role in not only its own ecosystems, but also in sustaining life on Earth. Readers easily grasp the concepts of the interdependence of ecosystems, and, as they learn about the interplay of politics and people in other societies, especially Russia, and follow Guido Rahr into the wild, readers come to fervently want both the salmon and Rahr to succeed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    What a fascinating read. I honestly couldn't put it down. I learned so much about salmon, the Kamchatka Peninsula, the history of salmon conservation, and I loved the wild experiences from Russia's far east. This book is inspiring in so many ways; that a kid who didn't fit in from the midwest could follow his passion and go on to make such a difference for the entire world is amazing. Part adventure story, part biography, part conservation treatise... altogether fantastically written and utterly What a fascinating read. I honestly couldn't put it down. I learned so much about salmon, the Kamchatka Peninsula, the history of salmon conservation, and I loved the wild experiences from Russia's far east. This book is inspiring in so many ways; that a kid who didn't fit in from the midwest could follow his passion and go on to make such a difference for the entire world is amazing. Part adventure story, part biography, part conservation treatise... altogether fantastically written and utterly engaging. I couldn't stop telling people about it while I was reading it and I'd definitely recommend it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Frankie

    This was more than a read, it was an experience. You do not need to be a fisherman, or fish enthusiast to want to read this book. If you believe in conservation and find beauty in the natural world, then this book will surprise you with it imagery and inspire you with its message. Wonderfully written, this book conveys the essence of nature that lives around us that we forget all too often. It will remind you of the danger we pose to the environment and the ramifications if we do not choose to s This was more than a read, it was an experience. You do not need to be a fisherman, or fish enthusiast to want to read this book. If you believe in conservation and find beauty in the natural world, then this book will surprise you with it imagery and inspire you with its message. Wonderfully written, this book conveys the essence of nature that lives around us that we forget all too often. It will remind you of the danger we pose to the environment and the ramifications if we do not choose to stand together toward the common goal of preservation. The story of Guido is humble yet awe-inspiring; determination, drive, and sacrifice can indeed make a difference.

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