Behold the regal rainbow trout, dappled denizen of deep lake and rushing river, fierce hunter of fish and fly—and prize of pork-barrel politics, invigorator of men, eradicator of native species, payload of numerous bombing missions.

An angler can catch a lot of rainbow trout and yet have no clue what a remarkable force of nature—and mankind—the creatures truly are. Anders Halverson, a research associate at the University of Colorado's Center of the American West, hoists them up for close inspection in a book just released by Yale University Press: An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World.

Few one-that-got-away stories sound nearly as improbable as his account of how our species,Homo sapiens, spread the fish species, Oncorhynchus mykiss, beyond its native.......

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