Intelligent investigative writing meets experiential journalism in this important look at one of North America’s most voraciously invasive species
Politicians, ecologists, and government wildlife officials are fighting a desperate rearguard action to halt the onward reach of Asian Carp, four troublesome fish now within a handful of miles from entering Lake Michigan. From aquaculture farms in Arkansas to the bayous of Louisiana; from marshlands in Indiana to labs in Minnesota; and from the Illinois River to the streets of Chicago where the last line of defense has been laid to keep Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, Overrun takes us on a firsthand journey into the heart of a crisis. Along the way, environmental journalist Andrew Reeves discovers that saving the Great Lakes is only half the challenge. The other is a radical scientific and political shift to rethink how we can bring back our degraded and ignored rivers and waterways and reconsider how we create equilibrium in a shrinking world.
With writing that is both urgent and wildly entertaining, Andrew Reeves traces the carp’s explosive spread throughout North America from an unknown import meant to tackle invasive water weeds to a continental scourge that bulldozes through everything in its path.
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Andrew Reeves is an award-winning environmental journalist. His work has appeared in the Walrus, This Magazine, and the Globe and Mail. He received a master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from the University of King’s College in 2016. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife and daughter.
Published: March 2019
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
”A thorough look at an important — and multifaceted — topic.” — Publishers Weekly
“With a journalist’s critical eye and storytelling ability . . . Overrun is more than an engaging story about nuisance fish. This eye-opening book demonstrates the interrelationship of species, the climate, and the environment.” — Foreword Reviews
“Overrun is a whip-smart romp through the dystopian history of Asian carp, that wrecking ball of aquatic ecosystems in North America. But in telling it, Reeves charts a sustainable future for the waterways that connect all of us on the continent. An environmental writer as good as Reeves gives me hope.” — Harry Thurston, winner of the Lane Anderson Award for Excellence in Canadian Science Writing and the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award
“A riveting “can’t put it down” book about fish? You bet! Andrew Reeves takes us on a dizzying journey along the waterways of North America with a rich cast of fish farmers, environmentalists, hustlers, scientists and befuddled politicians as we follow the murderous and seemingly unstoppable advance of Asian Carp that now threaten the Great Lakes themselves. This is a very important book to heed if we want to save this watershed.” — Maude Barlow, author of Boiling Point
“In shining a light on the many facets of one of the most wicked problems besetting the planet — the spread of invasive species — Andrew Reeves shows us how to see with compassion and intelligence, and how to voice a range of perspectives while holding in tension the need to embrace complexity and the urgency of choosing worthy solutions. This book is important not merely for its topic but for its nuanced and thoughtful approach.” — Trevor Herriot, naturalist and author of Islands of Grass, and River in a Dry Land
“His book will win embraces from fellow environmentalists, from marine biologists and from geologists specializing in rivers.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“This is top-notch investigative reporting mixed with some great scene-setting and insightful observations about one of the continent's most pressing environmental issues.” — Outdoor Canada
“A gracefully composed exemplar of the human species’ disputatious struggle to protect its own habitat while those of so many other species are disappearing or shifting.” — Wall Street Journal
“Overall, Overrun presents a saga of human short-sightedness, not evil . . . And so it’s here, at the intersection of science, politics, economics and the ecology of Asian carp in North America, that we can discover how a single unwelcome ﬁsh has changed how we think about invasive species, binational and bipartisan cooperation on the environment and the fate of our rivers and Great Lakes.” — MinnPost
“The definitive narrative of carp in America. Reeves chronicles the complex web of good intentions, imperfect science, and different agencies and entities working at cross purposes that led to the carpification of U.S. waterways. His tour through the quest to regain control is compelling and comprehensive. In the end, Reeves takes a broad and holistic view of the issue, pointing out that fighting a few enemy fish species in the absence of meaningfully addressing the pollution, land management, water management, and climate change that create the conditions for carp to thrive is like dueling with our own shadow. The carp is the symptom, not the disease. A must-read for those who love the Mississippi River watershed and the Great Lakes, for those interested in “invasive” species, for sport fishers and environmental historians.” — Emma Marris, author of Rambunctious Garden
“This detailed account of the invasion of Asian carp into North American waterways reads like a Kurt Vonnegut novel or science fiction. Yet the carp’s unbelievable progress splashes another clear warning about how so-called solutions have become the chief cause of our problems.” — Andrew Nikiforuk, author of Empire of the Beetle
"With deep reporting and smart writing, Andrew Reeves not only illuminates the long, strange tale of the Asian carp in North America but also shows us its underlying truths. This is a story about cities and water, food and soil, humans and other species — and one fantastically troublesome fish." — Michelle Nijhuis, Science Journalist and winner of the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award
“Reeves’s book is original, refreshing, and occasionally surprising because it challenges conventional thinking on how the problem began and what we can do to solve it . . . Along with creatively detailing the introduction of Asian carp and the negative effects on the ecosystem, Reeves gives a thorough accounting of what we're doing to solve the problem. In plain, simple language, he breaks down the complicated control and prevention measures . . . Despite the complexity of the problem and the mitigation methods, Reeves doesn’t get bogged down in jargon. He skillfully connects the dots between scientific intervention and the major policy decisions that affect everyday people.” — Literary Review of Canada