The Compleat Angler is the most famous book ever published in the literature of sport. It is also a work whose unique celebration of the English countryside has attracted readers around the world since it first appeared in 1653. Izaak Walton issued the final version of his beloved book in 1676, accompanied by Charles Cotton’s pioneering exploration of fly-fishing. The Compleat Angler is both a manual of instruction and a vision of society in harmony with nature. It guides the novice fisherman on how to catch and cook a variety of fish, on how to select and prepare the best bait and make artificial flies, and on the habits of freshwater fish. It promotes angling as a communal activity in which the bonds of friendship are forged through shared experience of the natural world. Walton lived through turbulent times, and found in nature the best salve for national tragedy and personal sorrow.