Tag Archives: United States

America’s Favorite Fishing : a Complete Guide to Angling for Panfish. — F. Philip Rice


Sunfish is the term usually ascribed to panfish, although, as the title shows, panfish includes crappie, rock bass, yellow perch. Panfishing is mostly underappreciated. I remember growing up learning that sunfish were a nuisance–something you should discard onshore. When I took up sportfishing anew, two years ago, I found YouTube channels featuring pan fishing. I learned to appreciate panfish as a natural resource and found they are quite tasty when battered, breaded and fried in peanut oil.

Published in 1964 by Outdoor Life and Harper & Row, the book is a comprehensive, illustrated and indexed guide in 285 pages to the sport of fishing for the species of freshwater fish commonly called panfish. The book is replete with illustrations by Charles Berger and John Dahl. It includes chapters on the ecology and management of the various species of panfish across the fifty states. It has chapters discussing the selection of rods and reels for pan fishing, the use of live and artificial baits, and fishing techniques as summed up in the notes on the dust jacket:

The author [F. Philip Rice] has closely studied these fish and their feeding habits all his life. Here he combines his own extensive knowledge about them with the latest scientific findings. The result is information you’ll find invaluable to your everyday fishing.

For each fish you’ll find vital facts about its habitats, spawning and reproduction, sizes and bag limits, baits to use, basic seasonal tactics, and loads more. There are also separate chapters on spinning, fly fishing, bait casting and ice fishing that fully describe the procedures and advantages of each of these techniques.

The book is a welcome find and addition to our library collection–a 1st edition copy of a book long out of print that stands as a record of the popularity of pan fishing in North America through the 20th century.

Posted by Geoffrey



The Art of Shooting. — Charles Edward Chapel


This is the latest acquisition to our library collection, something Mika found while browsing in  the Ottawa Public Library used book shop. The Art of Shooting was published in New York by A. S. Barnes and Company and in London by Thomas Yoseloff Ltd. in 1960. The author, Charles Edward Chapel, published a number of books on firearms including Field, Skeet and Trap Shooting, Forensic Ballistics, Gun Care and Repair–A Manual of Gunsmithing, Gun Collecting, The Gun Collector’s Handbook of Values and Guns of the Old West. In The Art of Shooting Chapel takes on the subject of rifle and pistol shooting. The book is well illustrated with line drawing by Sanford Strother. Chapel covers the history of the development of the rifle and the pistol in two parts: part one opens with the history of the rifle, touching on the early hand cannons of the fifteenth century, moving on to the match lock, wheellock and flintlock (muskets), then to the modern rifle (the M1 Garand rifle in this case). In part two he details the development of the pistol in the same manner, starting with the hand cannons of the fifteenth century and moving on to the match lock, wheellock and flintlock to the modern revolver and semi-automatic pistols.

The Art of Shooting goes into great detail in every aspect of owning and using a rifle and pistol, with detailed instructions on how to load, aim and fire properly, how the rifle and pistol operates, how to properly clean and maintain rifles and pistols and crucially, how to use them safely.The book includes a chapter entitled What the N.R.A. can do for you. Yes, the debate between gun owners and prohibitionists was raging as far back as the 1950s. Regarding the NRA, Chapel notes “it is not affiliated with organizations of arms and ammunition manufacturers, receives no subsidies from the arms trade, and serves as the governing body for the shooting activities in much the same capacity as the Amateur Athletic Union and the National Amateur Athletic Federation serve other sportsmen. All rifle and pistol shooters who engage in official competitions, and several thousand local shooting clubs, support the  N.R.A.” This may have been the case in the 1950s, but currently, the NRA accepts donations from fun manufacturers. See the Ruger 1 Million Gun Challenge, for example, and frankly, why not.

He concludes The Art of Shooting with a chapter entitled The truth about firearms registration laws. Interestingly, and hardly coincidentally, here are the assertions put forward by prohibitionists in the 1950s in favour of gun registration:

(1) registration of weapons reduces crime by making it more difficult for undesirable persons to obtain weapons, (2) solving crimes would be easier because the weapons used in the commission of crime could be traced through the registration records, (3) it would be possible to arrest all persons found possessing possessing unregistered weapons, thereby making it easier for the police to apprehend criminals wanted on more serious charges, (4) gun registration keeps guns out of the hands of children, mental defectives, habitual drunkards, drug addicts, and other persons who should not have firearms, and (5) stolen guns can be returned to their owners more easily.

Chapel easily refutes these assertions, pointing to the tired comparison between automobile registration and gun registration, noting the familiar refrain of since you do not object to registering your automobile, why do you object to registering your guns? The difference between the two, he points out and as we know all to well in the present, is “the registration of an automobile is automatic. When a license is granted, no one questions a person’s right to own an automobile. If the tax is paid, the license tag is issued without question… The essential feature of firearm registration is the power of law enforcement authorities to say who may own a gun. The difference between automobile and firearm registration is obvious and vital under our constitutional form of government.”

The book is 424 pages in total and includes an extensive bibliography and an index, making it a useful reference source. While some of the information is dated, on the whole The Art of Shooting remains a good read and a nice view of the gun culture and shooting sports as they existed in the United States in the mid-twentieth century.

Posted by Geoffrey


Gun control. — Robert J. Kukla


This title was added to our library collection several years ago when I found a copy in a used book shop here in Ottawa. Gun Control was written by Robert J. Kukla, a lawyer, and published by the National Rifle Association and Stackpole Books in 1973. Kukla draws on testimony given in U.S. Congressional Hearings from 1937 through 1970 concerning gun control legislation in the United States, most notably the Gun Control Act of 1968. He examines the anti-gun movement of the time, its motives, its tactics and its objectives. He includes many illustrations, notably editorial cartoons, that supported the anti-gun movement in the United States. The opening paragraph of Gun Control sets out the objectives of the anti-gun movement, which sounds all too familiar in the current debate over gun ownership in Canada.

A movement exists in our country which, if successfully continued, will serve to eliminate virtually all privately owned firearms in the hands of decent and law-abiding citizens. This abolition of arms would be accomplished by outright prohibition of possession in some cases. In other cases, possession of arms would be limited to an every narrowing category of those who were willing and able (1) to meet requirements of law and regulations imposed on law-abiding people, but not upon criminal or violent people; (2) to become suspect in the eyes of the police and one’s neighbors because one possessed a firearm and not because one had mis-used[sic] it or was even likely to do so.

Posted by Geoffrey


Follow my Leader — James B. Garfield


This book was the first item I ever bought on eBay, a copy of the novel, Follow my Leader, written by James B. Garfield and first published in 1957. I first read a paperback edition in reprint of the novel as a boy when I was in grade school. It is a very well written novel for younger readers. It tells the story of a boy named Jimmy Carter who loses his sight in a playground accident. It is a rather inspiring story of how he learns to cope with his blindness; is given a guide dog he calls Leader; and comes to reconcile with the boy who caused the accident.

I studied children’s librarianship and children’s literature when I was in library school. I worked for a time as the children’s librarian at the Smiths Falls Public Library early in my career as a librarian many years ago. I was hired to stand in for the full-time children’s librarian while she was away on maternity leave. I still have an interest in literature for children and young adults and this particular book, in my opinion, ranks among the best, despite being somewhat dated. It was still available in reprint editions when this post was published.

Posted by Geoffrey