ARC Review: Chasing Giants

Chasing Giants: In Search of the World's Largest Freshwater Fish by Zeb Hogan and Stefan Lovgren

Chasing Giants: In Search of the World's Largest Freshwater Fish is a captivating book that takes you on a journey with Zeb Hogan, a biologist and host of the National Geographic television show Monster Fish. The book, told from Hogan's perspective, is co-written by Stefan Lovgren a journalist and filmmaker. Together, they explore the fascinating and endangered world of "megafish" - the giant freshwater species that can grow to enormous sizes.

The book is based on Hogan's 20 year quest to find out which megafish is the largest in the world, a question that was sparked by a photo of a 646-pound Mekong giant catfish caught by a Thai fisherman in 2005. 

Hogan's quest proves to not only provide a thrilling adventure story, but also a sobering reminder of the threats that these megafish face. Fresh water fish, and megafish especially, suffer from overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. Hogan and Lovgren make a compelling case for why we should care about these ancient leviathans of our lakes and rivers, and what we can do to protect them before they disappear forever. 

Along the way, Hogan and Lovgren encounter amazing creatures such as arapaima and piranha in the Amazon, alligator gar in Texas, wels catfish in France, stingrays in Cambodia, and sawfish in Australia. They also learn about, and explain to us, the environmental threats and conservation challenges facing these ancient leviathans, and the complex cultures and places that depend on them.

Hogan's passion, curiosity, and empathy shine through as he relays his experiences as a scientist and adventurer. He gives us insights into the biology, ecology, and behavior of the megafish, as well as the history, myths, and legends surrounding them. The book is full of fascinating stories and anecdotes that will appeal to readers of all backgrounds and interests.

I enjoyed Chasing Giants. I learned about a hidden and mysterious world that I had known very little about before cracking open this book. I was impressed by the authors' dedication and courage to pursue their quest, and by their efforts to raise awareness and protect these magnificent creatures. The book is well-written, informative, and engaging, with vivid descriptions and anecdotes that bring the fish and their environments to life.

 I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in fish, wildlife, nature, adventure, or science.

RATING: Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

NOTE: I read an advanced review copy of the book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher University of Nevada Press. The book was released to the public on Thursday, April 25, 2023.