Hatteras Blues

A Story from the Edge of America

By Tom Carlson

256 pp., 6 x 9.25, 40 illus., 2 maps, bibl.

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7122-5
    Published: March 2010
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-9836-9
    Published: March 2010
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8016-1
    Published: March 2010

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Tom Carlson tells the story of Ernal Foster and the Foster family of Hatteras Village, who gave birth to what would become the multi-million dollar charter fishing industry on the Outer Banks. Today, Ernal’s son, Captain Ernie Foster, struggles to keep the family business alive in a time of great change on the Banks. Within the engaging saga of the rise and decline of one family's livelihood, Carlson relates the history and transformation of Hatteras Village and the high-adrenaline experience of blue-water sportfishing and the industry that surrounds it. Hatteras Blues is their story--a story of triumph and loss, of sturdy Calvinist values and pell-mell American progress, and of fate and luck as capricious as the weather.

About the Author

Tom Carlson taught creative nonfiction and American literature for thirty-two years at the University of Memphis.
For more information about Tom Carlson, visit the Author Page.


"Does this great sport fishery justice. If you love the Banks--the real Banks from Oregon Inlet to Ocracoke--you will love this book."--Gray’s Sporting Journal

"What began as the story of a family business turned into a look at a disappearing way of life."--News & Observer

"Should appeal to folks who've struggled with the loss of a loved one. It should also appeal to folks who see their way of life ending, whether they're farmers or factory workers. And it should appeal to anyone who realizes just how cool the Outer Banks and its people are. . . . Carlson does an admirable job of preserving a good bit more of the Hatteras character. And of telling us something about fishing--and loss."--Winston-Salem Journal

"Carlson is here to deliver some lessons: a lesson in ecology, when he describes the physics of the Outer Banks and the sensitive, sometimes violent, relation between sand and sea; a lesson in history, when he recalls the Outer Banks' inhabitants, from Native Americans to European explorers to the latest settlers, commercial developers; and a lesson in fishing, when he vividly describes all manner of prize fish and all manner of hooking them."--Memphis

"[Hatteras Blues: A Story from the Edge of America] weaves together information about the history of the Outer Banks and the fishing there as well as such related topics as geology, hurricanes, lifesaving, and lighthouses. [Carlson] focuses on the Fosters of the village of Hatteras, whose patriarch, Ernal, introduced many of the inventions and innovations that make the Outer Banks a popular fishing destination. His sketches of the Fosters and others capture the wit, character, and bravery of Hatteras people in a manner that is intimate and insightful without being intrusive."--Booklist

"You don't have to be a sportfisherman to appreciate the book's honesty and insight."--Memphis Flyer