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The Dragon Behind the Glass

A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World's Most Coveted Fish
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Biology
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Summary

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. 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.

©2016 Emily Voigt (P)2016 Tantor

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I wish their were more audio books like this one

this story about adventure, obsession and the Aquatics trade is amazing. I hope there is a sequel.

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Profile Image for Fishgen
  • Fishgen
  • 26-06-16

A "must read" for all fish professionals.

There is much in this book for almost anyone interested in fishes and their biology. Voight offers thoughtful perspectives on the aquarium hobby, it's history, psychology, the industry that supports it, and the potential impact of fish collecting on natural populations. She blends these with absorbing travel adventure narratives, personal profiles and a reasonably nuanced discussion of the utility and impact of "listing" endangered species. I am an ichthyologist and have been an aquarist for almost all of my 71 years but this book made me think about a lot of what I and my colleagues do in a different light

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-11-16

Exciting book, well executed by the reader

Exciting but sad, a reminder that our resources are finite and require our care and conservation

4 people found this helpful

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  • James
  • 26-07-16

Gripping

As an semi professional aquarist this gripped me. I devoured in about 2 two days of frantic reading. It brought to light some of the darker and easily ignored sides of the aquarium trade (my dearest passion) and made me ask some really tough questions about my life. Anyone who is has an aquarium should give this a listen.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Stephenson
  • 22-07-18

As good as it gets for this genre

If you have any fondness at all for quirky natural history accounts, this is worth five credits. It is well paced and the narration is just about perfect. I'm comparing this in my mind to The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean and it's holding its own...I look forward to more from Emily Voigt. And I'm barely exaggerating to say I'd listen to Xe Sands read drugs warning all afternoon.

1 person found this helpful

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  • L. M. Heredia
  • 12-06-18

I didn't think I could be addicted to fish tales

This books hits you fast and heated. You'll be at the edge of your seat waiting to get ur headphone or in ur car until it's over and you'll be all wth this is a book about fish.... but is it?? Soo many layers... I'm into it fast paced and just great. The narrator is a bit eh but the story is soo good it doesn't matter. Do not sleep on this one I literally think about this stupid fish all the time now.... xoxo love it thou...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stefanie Craig
  • 09-03-20

I loved the real adventure

In finding knowledge about the struggle to know, conserve, and possess aquarium fish, I find myself wanting to know more about the scientific explorers. Inspiring and and interesting listen.

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  • M. Verbeek
  • 02-12-19

About fish and men

Great story where the storytelling-performance was an 'acquired taste' . Very fast and not really nice intonated in the begin, the story was that interesting that or the performance become better later on or I wasn't bothered by it anymore then.

Story itself is great: about an elusive fish, the aquarists world, some great characters , some good travels and it has a bit of pop science approach:, loved it as relaxing audiobook while commuting.

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  • Emily
  • 23-11-19

Great book, 100% recommend

Narration was fantastic. story was interesting and gripping, and I cannot look at a fish in an Aquarium the same again.

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  • John S.
  • 03-09-19

This is a great book.

It is a first hand view of the aquarium world and what remains of our planet’s fresh water fish.

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  • solise
  • 18-05-19

Enlightening and facinating

I was a tropical fish enthusiast years ago and was captivated by the story synopsis. I was not disappointed.
Narrator Xe Sands has to be one of the best I’ve listened to. Her voice is lyrical in a way that draws you further in to the story.
A truly fascinating account of the author’s years long sojourn to find the wild Asian arowana or "dragon fish" which happens to be the world's most expensive aquarium fish.
There was/is much to be learned from story, it’s a book I will listen to again.