The Lobster Coast

The Lobster Coast

Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier

Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101078075
  • 384 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


For more than four hundred years the people of coastal Maine have clung to their rocky, wind-swept lands, resisting outsiders’ attempts to control them while harvesting the astonishing bounty of the Gulf of Maine. Today’s independent, self-sufficient lobstermen belong to the communities imbued with a European sense of ties between land and people, but threatened by the forces of homogenization spreading up the eastern seaboard.

In the tradition of William Warner’s Beautiful Swimmers, veteran journalist Colin Woodard traces the history of the rugged fishing communities that dot the coast of Maine and the prized crustacean that has long provided their livelihood. Through forgotten wars and rebellions, and with a deep tradition of resistance to interference by people “from away,” Maine’s lobstermen have defended an earlier vision of America while defying the “tragedy of the commons”—the notion that people always overexploit their shared property. Instead, these icons of American individualism represent a rare example of true communal values and collaboration through grit, courage, and hard-won wisdom.


“[A] well-researched and well-written cultural and ecological history of stubborn perseverance.” —USA Today

“A beautifully considered history…Woodard’s admiration for lobster culture is stirring…[Mainers’] feisty pluck remains undiminished in the face of obstacles.” —Newsday

Delves deeply and reflectively into the history of the coast of Maine and its people.” —The Boston Globe

“[A] well-researched and well-written cultural and ecological history of stubborn perseverance.” —USA Today

“Woodard doesn’t disguise his pique. Maine is worth fighting for-as is any village with distinctly etched local character and community.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“A triumph.” —Bookpage

“Lively.” —The Economist

“Lucid…engaging.” —Publishers Weekly

“Thought-provoking…Woodard is a talented writer, a skilled journalist….lively reading for history buffs…an important book for any Maine lover’s bookshelf.” —Bangor Daily News

“A feast…Woodard uses the lobster to tell the whole history of Maine.” —Working Waterfront

“Highly engaging, intelligent.” —Down East

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