This book is a bit deceiving in the sense that I thought I would be reading about three individuals but the fishing chapter is actually broken out into several people including a riverman, shrimpers on the gulf and a fisherman on the gulf. However, this adds to the information, and the inclusion of the shrimper was, to me, the most important aspect of the book and the aspect that took on the most depth in terms of what one person could do on their own. That person is Sandy Nguyen. I’ll talk more about her in a minute.
Reading this book emphasized what a cakewalk my life has been, in general terms. I don’t work the land, run cows or spend my days fighting nature on the Gulf of Mexico. Nor does my livelihood depend on the weather, government regulation or hurricane recovery. Nor is my life tied to things that are impacted by rising seawater, at least not yet.
The book covers many of the same issues I’ve been reading about heavily over the past year. Land issues, government corruption, the power of the energy companies, the fights between “greenie” environmentalists and rancher/farmer types, drought, heavy weather, family history tied to the farming industry and the minefield of natural and unnatural disasters that have hit the Gulf of Mexico. (Deepwater Horizon, Katrina for example.)
The book is well written, informative and makes you want to leave the city and get started on helping out. But let me get back to Sandy Nguyen. The book details her life from the time her family fled Vietnam in the middle of the night, under fire, to the ranks of where she has risen in the New Orleans area community, not to mention the help she has been to her family and countless others. Her story is simply incredible. This book is worth it if you ONLY read this chapter.
Just a few stats to think about. “Sandy secured $25 million in loans for her fisherman, saved 1,068 jobs, created twenty-two new businesses, and 193 new jobs, and helped boost seafood sales by $333 million.” Want to know how she did it? Read Miriam Horn’s “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman.” This is also a documentary film, which I have not see, but am FIXIN to look it up.