Books, films, and the media have long portrayed the Yankee fisherman’s hard-scrabble existence, as he faced brutal weather on the open seas and unnecessary governmental restrictions. As McKenzie contends, this simplistic view has long betrayed commercial fisheries’ sophisticated legislative campaigns in Washington, DC, as they sought federal subsidies and relief and, eventually, fewer constricting regulations. This clash between fisheries’ representation and their reality still grips fishing communities today as they struggle to navigate age-old trends of fleet consolidation, stock decline, and intense competition.
"McKenzie presents an utterly fascinating argument, beautifully laid out and elegantly written."—Dona Brown, author of Inventing New England: Regional Tourism in the Nineteenth Century
"Breaking the Banks supplies an arresting, nuanced, and convincing approach to the harsh realities of North American fisheries, tracing, as good history must, the play of change and continuity over time."—Edward MacDonald, coeditor of Time and a Place: An Environmental History of Prince Edward Island
"[A] meticulously researched, carefully documented, and engagingly written study."—CHOICE
"McKenzie seamlessly blends strands of economic, labor, environmental, political, intellectual, and cultural history, history of science, and environmental diplomacy without any single theoretical structure being obtrusive . . . In engaging prose, he weaves a complete picture of the economic, political, ecological, and cultural forces that bore down on New England fishing."—The New England Quarterly
"Given enduring questions of marine resource management, [this] is a valuable and important book in helping us take a step back and consider the cultural forces that influence policy and regulation through myth creation."—Environment and Society