TAMM, Eric Enno




Author Tags: Biography, Maritime

In 2004, at age 32, Ucluelet-raised journalist Eric Enno Tamm published the first biography of Ed Ricketts Beyond The Outer Shores: The Untold Odyssey of Ed Ricketts, the Pioneering Ecologist Who Inspired John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell (Raincoast/Da Capo Press 2004), a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book in 2005.

Born in 1897, Ed Ricketts of California made three excursions to British Columbia in 1932, 1945 and 1946 to collect marine specimens as a mostly self-taught ecologist and biologist. With a small laboratory in New Monterey, California, Ricketts was close friends with the philosopher Joseph Campbell and the novelist John Steinbeck. Campbell accompanied Ricketts on his first trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1932; Steinbeck modeled several characters in his fiction on Ricketts, including 'Doc' in the 1945 novel Cannery Row. Ricketts died when he was hit by a train near Cannery Row in May of 1948. At the time he and Steinbeck had been planning a trip to British Columbia to satisfy Rickett's intention to write about a book about B.C. coastal marine life to be called The Outer Shores. Rickett's first book, co-written with Jack Calvin, was about Pacific invertebrates and called Between Pacific Tides (1939). It was followed by Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research (1941), co-written with Steinbeck.

The son and grandson of commercial fishermen of Estonian descent, Tamm started investigating Ricketts' life as a result of his research into his own hometown. He published an article about Ricketts in the Georgia Straight in 1999, and continued his research into Ricketts' life while he spent several years living in Sweden. Whereas the relationship between Ricketts and Steinbeck was well-known, Beyond the Outer Shores provided fresh insights into the friendship between Ricketts and Campbell based on Tamm's interviews with Ricketts' son and daughter, and his girlfriend in the 1940s, Toni Jackson. Tann's history of the friendship and rivalries between Steinbeck, Campbell and Ricketts contains a section outlining the three-month voyage made by Campbell and Ricketts around the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1932 in the Grampus, a small cruising vessel. At the time Campbell was escaping the wrath of Steinbeck for cultivating an affair with Steinbeck's wife, Carol.

Tamm was employed by Ecotrust Canada when his Ricketts biography appeared.

In 1906, Baron Gustaf Mannerheim boarded the train from St. Petersburg, charged by Tsar Nicholas II to secretly collect intelligence on the Qing Dynasty’s sweeping reforms that were radically transforming China. In 2006, Eric Enno Tamm boarded that same train, intent on following in Mannerheim’s footsteps. Tamm has recounted his adventures through China and history in The Horse that Leaps through Clouds (2010). While Tamm was living in Ottawa, it received the City of Ottawa Book Award for Non-Fiction in 2011. [See article below].

Tamm has worked as Executive Director of the B.C. Coastal Community Network, Communications Director of Ecotrust Canada, and as a correspondent in Europe. His writing has appeared in Wallpaper, The Globe
and Mail, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Canadian Geographic, San Francisco Chronicle and The Toronto Star.

BOOKS:

Beyond the Outer Shores : The Untold Odyssey of Ed Ricketts, the pioneering ecologist who inspired John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell. (Raincoast Books, 2004). 1-55192-733-0 : $36.95.

The Horse that Leaps through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China. (Douglas & McIntyre, 2010). 978-1-55365-269-4 : $34.95.

[BCBW 2011] "Biography" "Maritime"

The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds
Press release 2011



Vancouver, BC – November 1, 2011. Douglas & McIntyre is delighted to announce that Eric Enno Tamm’s The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China (Douglas & McIntyre, 978-1-55365-269-4, $34.95) has won the 2011 Ottawa Book Award and a $7,500 prize. This literary prize recognizes published books of literary excellence, written by authors residing in Ottawa.

The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds offers a riveting and cautionary tale about the breathtaking rise of China. On July 6, 1906, Baron Gustaf Mannerheim boarded the midnight train from St. Petersburg, charged by Czar Nicholas II to secretly collect intelligence on the Qing Dynasty’s sweeping reforms that were radically transforming China. The last czarist agent in the so-called Great Game, Mannerheim chronicled almost every facet of China’s modernization, from education reform and foreign investment to Tibet’s struggle for independence. On July 6, 2006, writer Eric Enno Tamm boards that same train, intent on following in Mannerheim’s footsteps. Initially banned from China, Tamm devises a cover and retraces Mannerheim’s route across the Silk Road, discovering both eerie similarities and seismic differences between the Middle Kingdoms of today and a century ago. Along the way, Tamm offers piercing insights into China’s past that raise troubling questions about its future and overall his quest turns out to be a cautionary tale.