Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

Front Cover
Penguin, 1998 - History - 294 pages
439 Reviews
"Cod" spans a thousand years and four continents. From the Vikings, who pursued the codfish across the Atlantic, and the enigmatic Basques, who first commercialized it in medieval times, to Bartholomew Gosnold, who named Cape Cod in 1602, and Clarence Birdseye, who founded an industry on frozen cod in the 1930s, Mark Kurlansky introduces the explorers, merchants, writers, chefs, and of course the fishermen, whose lives have interwoven with this prolific fish. He chronicles the fifteenth-century politics of the Hanseatic League and the cod wars of the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. He embellishes his story with gastronomic detail, blending in recipes and lore from the Middle Ages to the present. And he brings to life the cod itself: its personality, habits, extended family, and ultimately the tragedy of how the most profitable fish in history is today faced with extinction. From fishing ports in New England and Newfoundland to coastal skiffs, schooners, and factory ships across the Atlantic; from Iceland and Scandinavia to the coasts of England, Brazil, and West Africa, Mark Kurlansky tells a story that brings world history and human passions into captivating focus.
  

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5 stars
103
4 stars
197
3 stars
110
2 stars
22
1 star
7

Outstanding. Entertaining as well as educational. - Goodreads
The recipes, however, did nothing for me. - Goodreads
Great book, easy to read yet revealing. - Goodreads
An engaging, quirky little history with a sad ending. - Goodreads
Kurlansky is an amazing writer. - Goodreads
The text even has recipes scattered throughout it. - Goodreads

Review: Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

User Review  - Psychophant - Goodreads

The best part of the book are the cod recipes, and the first chapters. It is promising as it really takes a wide view, from antiquity to the middle ages. As we get closer the focus narrows, so we got ... Read full review

Review: Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

User Review  - Ariana - Goodreads

Weirdly fascinating throughout. Now I kinda want to try salt cod... Read full review

Contents

Sentry on the Headlands So Close to Ireland
1
The Race to Codlandia
17
With Mouth Wide Open
32
The Cold Rush
48
1620 The Rock and the Cod
62
Certain Inalienable Rignts
78
A Cod War Heard Round the World
92
A Few New Ideas Versus Nine Million Eggs
111
Iceland Discovers the Finite Universe
144
Three Wars to Close the Open Sea
158
Requiem for the Grand Banks
177
The Dangerous Waters of Natures Resilience
191
Bracing for the Spanish Armada
207
Bracing for the Canadian Armadu
219
SIX CENTURIES OF COD RECIPIES
235
Copyright

The Last Two Ideas
127

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About the author (1998)

Mark Kurlansky is the "New York Times" bestselling author of many books, including "The Food of a Younger Land," "Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World"; "Salt: A World History"; "1968: The Year That Rocked the World"; and "The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell." He lives in New York City.

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