A tribute to a fish, a sport, and a time now past... Through a series of chance encounters over several years, fishing guide and journalist Brandon Shuler unearthed multiple drafts of a nearly finished manuscript by an almost forgotten Texas sports writer, Hart Stilwell. Titled Glory of the Silver King, the manuscript vividly captured the history of tarpon and snook fishing on the Texas and Mexico Gulf Coast from the 1930s to the end of Stilwell’s life in the early 1970s.
Stilwell was a seasoned outdoors journalist with a passion for salt-water fishing. Now, with Shuler’s careful research, editing, and annotation, this lost manuscript has found new life as both an entertaining “fish tale” and a historical snapshot of a region’s natural heritage. It successfully conveys the thrill of fishing for these once abundant species at the same time it tracks—and laments—the rise, decline, and eventual fall of their fisheries in Texas (which Shuler is able to report are now experiencing a rebound).
In a personal and informative introduction, Shuler paints a portrait of Stilwell and tells the story of the discovery and evolution of the manuscript. He also provides a look into his own life as an angler and writer, creating a connection with Stilwell that gives the work authenticity and relevance.
Anglers will delight in Stilwell’s rollicking prose. Environmentalists will appreciate the book’s lesson in ocean conservation. For all who live on or near the Gulf Coast, this reintroduces a forgotten literary treasure and a magnificent fish that once filled the waters at our favorite coastal retreats.
"Hart Stilwell was a world-class raconteur and storyteller. His unpublished manuscript on the glory days of coastal fishing became an underground legend, passed around like a sacred totem for decades. Editor Brandon Shuler has revived Stilwell’s folksy charm and penetrating insights, and the result is this engaging and important book." - Steven L. Davis, curator, The Wittliff Collections