An ardent fly-fisherman, Black became deeply curious about the complex history of Connecticut's beautiful Housatonic watershed, home of his favorite trout-fishing spots. He is particularly intrigued with the opposite fates of two tributaries, the pristine Shepaug and the nearly moribund Naugatuck. What combination of chance and purpose protected one from industrialization and turned the other into a dammed and fouled ghost of its former self? And what can be learned from contemplating what Black calls the "trout pool paradox," the fact that the trout pool, beautiful and bountiful, possesses the very elements--limestone, fast water, and a forest canopy--needed for iron production, the first of several toxic industries to bring prosperity and pollution to Connecticut? Emulating the king of narrative nonfiction, John McPhee, Black, energetically inquiring and entertainingly informative, introduces a colorful cast of characters historic and living, from iron barons and brass magnates to politicians, scientists, fishermen, and environmental activists, as he tells the fascinating stories of wild trout and trout hatcheries, hydropower and blast furnaces, PCBs and caddis flies, unintended consequences and court cases. A many-faceted and illuminating tale of one man's love of fishing, three rivers, and the tremendous challenge of restoring rivers to health. Donna Seaman
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