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Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World's Most Coveted Fish
Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World's Most Coveted Fish | Emily Voigt
20 posts | 18 read | 38 to read
A riveting journey into the bizarre world of the Asian arowana or dragon fish the world s most expensive aquarium fish reveals a surprising history with profound implications for the future of wild animals and human beings alike. A young man is murdered for his prized pet fish. An Asian tycoon buys a single specimen for $150,000. Meanwhile, a pet detective chases smugglers through the streets of New York. Delving into an outlandish realm of obsession, paranoia, and criminality, "The Dragon Behind the Glass" tells the story of a fish like none other: a powerful predator dating to the age of the dinosaurs. Treasured as a status symbol believed to bring good luck, the Asian arowana is bred on high-security farms in Southeast Asia and sold by the hundreds of thousands each year. In the United States, however, it s protected by the Endangered Species Act and illegal to bring into the country though it remains the object of a thriving black market. From the South Bronx to Singapore, journalist Emily Voigt follows the trail of the fish, ultimately embarking on a years-long quest to find the arowana in the wild, venturing deep into some of the last remaining tropical wildernesses on earth. With a captivating blend of personal reporting, history, and science, "The Dragon Behind the Glass" traces our modern fascination with aquarium fish back to the era of exploration when intrepid naturalists stood on the cutting edge of modern science, discovering new and wondrous species in jungles all over the world. In an age when freshwater fish now comprise one of the most rapidly vanishing groups of animals on the planet, Voigt unearths a paradoxical truth behind the dragon fish s rise to fame one that calls into question how we protect the world s rarest species. An elegant exploration of the human conquest of nature, "The Dragon Behind the Glass "revels in the sheer wonder of life s diversity and lays bare our deepest desire to hold onto what is wild."
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Soubhiville
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This is my favorite nonfiction I‘ve read in a while! I picked it up at a library sale because the cover and title called to me, but I wasn‘t sure I‘d enjoy it. Of course it‘s about the Arawana, the beautiful and sought after fish for aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. But there is also a ton of info about wildlife and environmental conservation, as well as the political challenges of traveling to Indonesian and Asian countries.

No #LitsyWalkers ⬇️

Emilymdxn Sounds fascinating! 2w
Soubhiville No Litsy Walkers Photo today- it started raining shortly after we left the house. Luckily I wore my raincoat, so we toughed it out for 2.15 miles anyways ☔️🐕. (edited) 2w
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Kaye Good for you ! I‘ve taken walks in the rain too. When you live here, you sorta have to ignore the weather and walk no matter what. ☔️ 🌞 🥶 🥵 2w
Cinfhen I read ( well, listened to this )recently! So good!!! Crazy story and super informative. Have you read this one. It‘s similar and also compelling/ entertaining 2w
ReadingRover My brother is obsessed with these fish. He used to have two. One of them was more than 18 inches long. He even has a tattoo of one on his chest. I have to get him this book! 2w
Soubhiville @cinfhen I haven't read The Feather Thief yet, but it's on my TBR and I thought it sounded really interesting too. It also has an amazing cover! 2w
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Cinfhen
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Pickpick

The Feather Thief meets the aquatic set. This book was beyond fascinating. The narrator did a fantastic job of keeping the story absorbing and all the scientific details and jargon easy to understand. Traveling from Asia to South America and back again, journalist Emily Voight joins a cast of real life Indiana Jones types on a quest to capture the rare arawana fish. Such a wild ride...loved it 🐠🐟🐠🐟🐠 #audio #Hoopla

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 1mo
GatheringBooks ooh sounds interesting! 🧚🏼‍♀️📚💕 1mo
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Cinfhen
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Listening to the final hour of this aquatic adventure while I do some Passover cleaning💁‍♀️what a crazy fish tale...the narrator is so good. And there is something deeply satisfying about emptying your entire refrigerator and giving it a good cleaning!!! Not to mention checking the expiration dates on the 7 bottles of opened bbq sauce😬

gradcat Cool...I love, love, love seeing this preparation in action...so great! Have a great Passover occasion! (edited) 1mo
erzascarletbookgasm This reminds me I should do a good cleaning of my fridge too! 1mo
Cathythoughts Audio is so perfect for cleaning 👍🏻♥️ 1mo
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julesG Opened bottles/jars of sauce/pesto/jam/... 😵😵😵😵 I should clean out my fridge, too. 1mo
Cinfhen Yes!!!!!! @julesG dressing, condiments yogurt, cottage cheese, juice!!!! It‘s worse than a landfill @erzascarletbookgasm Thanks @gradcat !!!! It‘s a lot of work but once the holiday begins, it all seems worth it 🧡 1mo
Centique Aw this makes me smile - I love a clean fridge too! And YES how do we get so many bottles of sauce and mustard and chutney and harissa paste and preserved lemons and jars of capers (that‘s the whole top shelf of my fridge 😂😂😂) 1mo
Cinfhen I pulled out EVERY shelf & bin & jar & bottle @Centique but the outcome was 😇😇😇😇😇 1mo
Crazeedi @Cinfhen you are motivating me to enter my refrigerator cave now😏, it is satisfying isnt it. Great job!! 1mo
Jas16 That is my very least favorite housecleaning task but it is satisfying once it is done. 1mo
CoffeeAndABook Congratulations 🎉🥂 that is hard & unpleasant work & you did it 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 1mo
Cinfhen It wasn‘t that bad @Jas16 @CoffeeAndABook the audio book really helped pass the time @Cathythoughts 🎧 1mo
Blaire It is so worth it to get that deep clean done. Chag Sameach! 1mo
Cinfhen Thanks @Blaire you too xx Need a matza emoji 💜🐪🍷🍷🍷🍷😘 1mo
97 likes14 comments
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Unabridged
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Pickpick

I loved this! I went in knowing nothing about the market for exotic fish, and Voigt's account of her quest to find the rare arowana, a fish that has driven people to murder, takes her to the Amazon River. (continued in comments)

Unabridged While describing her journeys, Voigt illuminates the identification of species, the potentially negative consequences of identifying an animal as endangered, and the tendencies both to over- and under-romanticize rare animals, and the drive of scientists and adventurers toward discovery. Excellent listen on Scribd! 1mo
Cinfhen I‘m almost done listening. The narrator is so good!! I‘m hooked ( no pun intended 😉) 1mo
Unabridged @Cinfhen 😂 Agreed. I‘m so glad I listened on audio. 1mo
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Megabooks
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@Cinfhen spent my last credit on it! You‘re very persuasive! 🤩🤩😘 #audible #audiobook

LeahBergen It sounds fascinating! 1mo
Megabooks @LeahBergen The description made me think of The Feather Thief for some reason. I‘m looking forward to it! 1mo
Soubhiville I have this on my TBR shelf. It‘s good? 1mo
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Megabooks @Soubhiville I‘m starting it now. I had one to finish up. 1mo
LeahBergen It totally made me think of The Feather Thief, too! 😆 1mo
Cinfhen Oh no!! The pressure!!! But I‘m really thinking ( hoping) you‘re gonna like it 🤞🏼🤞🏼 keep me updated ❤️ 1mo
Megabooks @LeahBergen Great minds! 😉 1mo
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Cinfhen
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Loving my new #AudioBook ‼️ Who knew fish thieves were a thing??? This true crime is super fascinating and oddly entertaining. I think you‘d really like it @Megabooks and the narrator is really good ❤️

TrishB Who would have known! 1mo
Velvetfur This is fascinating, I've just been googling this fish and seen how expensive they can be! Beautiful fish though 🐟💜 1mo
Cinfhen I would recommend the audio...it‘s sooooo interesting @Velvetfur @TrishB 1mo
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Megabooks This sounds right up my alley! Thanks for the tag! You might like this book, too 👍🏻 1mo
Cinfhen Listened to Feather Thief a few weeks ago. Well I liked it, it took me awhile to adjust to the narrator but tagged book grabbed me right away. I think you‘re really gonna like it. I‘m listening on Hoopla 😊 1mo
Weaponxgirl I loved this on audio soooooo much! One of my favourite books from last year 1mo
Cinfhen I‘m really enjoying this book!! The Indiana Jones of the Fish World!!!! So fascinating @Weaponxgirl 1mo
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Weaponxgirl
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Pickpick

Another catch up review from last month. I listened to this thinking it would relax me and help me sleep, two hours later I was clutching my sheets whispering to myself “there‘s a fish mafia?!”
I didn‘t know I was interested in fish let alone this one before this book. I didn‘t shut up with arawana facts for a weekend away with my friends and now my iPad is full of books about fish and squid. I loved this!

Smrloomis Great review, this sounds very interesting! 9mo
Weaponxgirl @Smrloomis thank you, I enjoyed this so much more than I ever thought I would. 9mo
iread2much I‘ve had this book on my shelf in the library for 2 years. It looks amazing! 9mo
Weaponxgirl @iread2much it‘s my favourite book of the year so far! I‘ve been on a need to know more about fish kick since 9mo
iread2much @Weaponxgirl it‘s a fascinating topic! 9mo
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mllemay
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Pickpick

Here is a review of a book I finished 2 weeks ago 🙄 I love true crime and I love books about nature so this was the perfect read for me. I learned a lot about fish and about the illegal animal trade, while also being entertained by the story of the author‘s quest to find a rare fish in the wild, and her reckoning with the best way to protect biodiversity. Great companion read to The Lost City of Z.

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mynamerhymes
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Pickpick

5 ⭐ I loved this book. It was everything I could have asked for, personal, adventurous, informative, relevant. And it was about fish 🐡. The audio book narration was also excellent.

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Soubhiville
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My tiny little book haul from my tiny little library branch book sale. 😊📚

MayJasper Happy finds 2y
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geodynamical
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Pickpick

If you want to discover an exotic, new species, either find a new insect or find a new fish.

This was a nice listen... Following along while the author travels the world in search of the "rare" dragon fish. Not the most riveting read, but therapeutic, just like watching the slow, elegant swimming of a fish in an aquarium.

#litsypartyofone

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geodynamical
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Sarrie
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Pickpick

I love books like this. And I'm just realizing this is probably the third fishy nonfiction I've read this year and loved. Emily Voight has does a great job making the topic interesting and readable. She manages to be funny and sober at turns. I really related to her so hard when she talked about her feet sweating when she broke rules. If you love pets or fish or even conservation this might be a fun one to pick up!

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Sarrie
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Holy crap, she's right, don't do it. It's horrible, oh my god.

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DogEaredBooks
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Mehso-so

I listened to this book on audible read by my favorite Xe Sands. I don't know if I would have finished it without her. It was an ok book but it didn't focus on any of the parts that I thought it would be about (exotic pet smuggling, the intrigue of the pet fish world). It was still a crazy story and fascinating story just not what I was wanting.

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geodynamical
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iread2much I just got this one, it looks really good 2y
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kammartinez
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Pickpick

I'm not into fish as pets, but it turns out that the aquarium trade is a very interesting - and very dangerous - world. This is especially true with the arowana, "the most expensive aquarium fish in the world." Voigt's journey to understand the arowana's mystique takes her from glitzy fish shows to jungle depths, and along the way, she learns how the human desire to control Nature complicates everything. Full review here: http://wp.me/p21txV-x2

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Redheadrambles
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I wasn't at all sure I was interested in the aquarium fish industry but Emily Voigt changed my mind with her opening chapter. Murder! Aggressive rare fish and Shadowy Fish mafia ! - I was hooked
She writes about this world as a curious outsider helpfully taking the reader along on her investigative sojourns to Singaporean fish farms, the heart of Borneo and off-limit rivers in Burma. This is such an engrossing and surprising read !

ReadingOver50 Sounds interesting! 3y
ValerieAndBooks Wow who knew there was a fish mafia. Interesting! 3y
Redheadrambles It is so good even if your not into fish it is a good kind of travel adventure story as well 3y
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Redheadrambles #readharder2016 - Read a science book also #nonfictionnovember 3y
ClairesReads How are you going with #readharder? I'm on my last 2! My current read for a book about politics, and a horror book 3y
Redheadrambles @ClairesReads - oooh so close just one more for me which is the essays. We have done well 😀 I really want to read that Missoula book as well at some point 3y
ClairesReads @Redheadrambles awesome! What are you finishing on? Definitely read Missoula- it is so interesting! 3y
Redheadrambles @ClairesReads actually I still don't know ! I keep picking up and putting down essays maybe Everywhere I look by Helen Garner ? 3y
ClairesReads @Redheadrambles I know that feeling! I'm still tossing up my horror book! 3y
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kammartinez
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I'm not a fish person myself, and even if I was I think I'd prefer to keep koi or tropical fish (or stingrays!), but I still find this book intriguing, not least because of what it might have to say about conservation and the pet trade in Asia.

RanaElizabeth Oh, I've seen this at the library and have been curious about it. Did you finish yet? How is it? 3y
kammartinez @RanaElizabeth Not yet done, but I was proven right when I suspected it'd be intriguing :D. I mean, how many books about pet fish feature a chapter about a murder/burglary, wherein the criminals were after FISH, and not cash or jewelry? 3y
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kaitkingly
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With this cover and subject, this book is going straight on my TBR list. Truth is stranger than fiction indeed! 🐠

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