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Cod

A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

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Description

An unexpected, energetic look at world history on sea and land from the bestselling author of Salt and The Basque History of the World

Cod
,
Mark Kurlansky’s third work of nonfiction and winner of the 1999 James Beard Award, is the biography of a single species of fish, but it may as well be a world history with this humble fish as its recurring main character. Cod, it turns out, is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic, and it is the only reason they could. What did the Vikings eat in icy Greenland and on the five expeditions to America recorded in the Icelandic sagas? Cod, frozen and dried in the frosty air, then broken into pieces and eaten like hardtack. What was the staple of the medieval diet? Cod again, sold salted by the Basques, an enigmatic people with a mysterious, unlimited supply of cod. As we make our way through the centuries of cod history, we also find a delicious legacy of recipes, and the tragic story of environmental failure, of depleted fishing stocks where once their numbers were legendary. In this lovely, thoughtful history, Mark Kurlansky ponders the question: Is the fish that changed the world forever changed by the world's folly?

“Every once in a while a writer of particular skill takes a fresh, seemingly improbable idea and turns out a book of pure delight. Such is the case of Mark Kurlansky and the codfish.” –David McCullough, author of The Wright Brothers and 1776

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 02, 1997 – No fish story, this is a sapient and vivid chronology of the immense impact and influence the cod fishing industry has had on the human race. The cod fish has played a major role in the economics, sustainability and diplomacy of many countries and societies throughout history, explains Kurlansky (A Continent of Islands). Kurlansky effectively weaves philosophical thought with facts and vignettes on the history of the various cod fishing enterprises that have emerged and faded through the ages. Wars over fishing territories and rights have plagued cod fishing ever since humans took to the sea, and Kurlansky traces these hostilities through short history lessons that are easily absorbed and understood. Personal quotes and cod recipes from slaves, kings, diplomats, fisherman and noted scholars such as Thoreau and Kipling cast a glistening view of the grasp this fishing industry had on society. The book's final section, "A Cook's Tale: Six Centuries of Cod Recipes" describes the use and preparation of cod from the days of the Vikings through the 1900s. Complete with a detailed bibliography, this remarkable and informative volume should net any number of happy readers. Illustrations. Rights: Charlotte Sheedy.

Customer Reviews

Culinary historical non-fiction.

This is an excellent book to introduce yourself to the fish that changed the world. Kurlansky manages to write a biography of the codfish and relate it to the history of the Basque, the settlement of North America, and the development of the salt industry all in one short book. It so happens that Kurlansky has other books on the same topics. If you enjoy food and history, this book will excite you and leave you a Kurlansky fan. I recommend this book for its easy reading and if nothing else a few "extras" like archaic cod recipes from days gone by.

Cod

Great read! It's amazing that one fish could have such a profound influence on who we've become and how we got that way over centuries.

Cod
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Nature
  • Published: Jul 01, 1998
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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