Cod: A Biography Of The Fish That Changed The World

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Knopf Canada, Mar 4, 2011 - History - 304 pages
28 Reviews
Wars have been fought over it, revolutions have been spurred by it, national diets have been based on it, economies have depended on it, and the settlement of North America was driven by it. 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.

Cod is a charming tour of history with all its economic forces laid bare and a fish story embellished with great gastronomic detail. It is also a tragic tale of environmental failure, of depleted fishing stocks where once the cod's numbers were legendary. In this deceptively whimsical biography of a fish, Mark Kurlansky brings a thousand years of human civilization into captivating focus.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SeriousGrace - LibraryThing

This is a book about all things cod. Really. Beyond the historical and ecological significance of the fish there is etymology and art and music and of course, recipes. I have a student worker who is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Lukerik - LibraryThing

This is essentially a history of the Atlantic nations told through the medium of cod. I'd never thought of the American Revolution in those terms. There are also some excellent saltcod recipes. Read full review

Contents

Sentry on the Headlands
1
A Few New Ideas Versus Nine
113
Requiem for the Grand Banks
177
The Dangerous Waters of Natures
191
Bracing for the Spanish Armada
209
Bracing for the Canadian Armada
219
A CooKs TALE Szx CENTURIES 01
235
Bibliography
277
Acknowledgments
283
158
289
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Mark Kurlansky worked for several years on commercial fishing boats in Canada and the US, and subsequently became a journalist, covering beats in Eastern and Western Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America for the Chicago Tribune and the International Herald Tribune. He has written for magazines including Harper's, Audubon, and the New York Times Magazine, and contributes a column on food history to Food & Wine magazine. In addition to Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, he is the author of A Continent of Islands: Searching for the Caribbean Destiny, A Chosen Few: The Resurrection of European Jewry, The Basque History of the World, and Salt: A World History. He lives in New York City.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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