Enjoy Mark Kurlansky's books? Listen to an interview with the author on To the Best of Our Knowlege.
©1997 Mark Kurlansky; (P)2002 New Millennium Audio, All Rights Reserved
"Every once in a while a writer of particular skills takes a fresh, seemingly improbable idea and turns out a book of pure delight...No one who reads this charming tale will ever think the same of either the fish or the history." (David McCullough, author of John Adams)
"History filtered through the gills of the fish trade." (The New York Times Book Review)
Retired Russian Linguist in USN. Actor. Listen to at least 7 Audiobooks each month. Charter Audible member. Non-Fiction and History are my favorite categories. I should review more than I do!
This review will be short and sweet. Fascinating but a bit long. I rate it a "4" due to it's length. Now...for a definite "5" rating, read "Salt" by the same author.
Yep, that's what you get from Mark Kurlansky... over seven hours of engrossing information and storytelling about a fish. What a successful blend of journalist, historian, and novelist Kurlansky turned out to be as proven by this very readable book.
Who would have thunk that the cod played a significant role in the maintenance of the american slavery trade and keep? That the fish nearly started a war between UK and Iceland in modern time? That the Vikings discovered the American continent because of the darn cod? That our pilgrims of Thanksgiving fame failed to eat the bounty of the sea and elected rather to starve than feast on lobster and cod?
The chapters on the Basques made me pick up the next book by Kurlanski; he clearly has a tremendous knowledge of the area and the history of the Basque people.
Each segment is capped off by a number of appropriate recepies based on cod from the area narrated. I guess this is probably better suited to the printed page than in the audible edition.
The narration is very good and helps keep the attention throughout the story.
Well recorded and full of surprises and discoveries. I'd be surpised if anybody could read this and say, on finishing it, "yeah, so what, I knew all that." Bet you didn't. A charmingly told tale that, by the end, had me searching the Internet to find a source for ordering some high-quality salt cod. Some complain about the "recipes" in the audio book -- obviously of less value than in the print version -- but even if you never cook and don't like the taste of fish you will likely find this his/story fascinating.
The subject is so thin, the author padded the book out by throwing in every cod recipe he could find and many, many random quotes. Also, a good part of the book discusses how sad it is for fishing towns and generational fishermen to not have cod to fish anymore. The explanation about how modern fishing techniques ruined its own industry is pretty good. I just wonder if it is worth a whole book?
I found this book very informative and extremely interesting. I learned about fish, the fishing industry, the role cod played in this country's early history and foreign affairs as well as conservation and ecology regarding our natural resources. The narration was done very well too. There were recipes sprinkled throughout the book but they were relatively short so aren't too much of a bother. There were several grouped at the end which could probably be skipped but I perservered and learned a few interesting facts the author sprinkled about here too. Don't let the recipes stop you from reading the book. It is surprisingly enjoyable.
I was fascinated by what I learned in this book and look forward to reading others by this author, particularly the ones on Salt and the Basques.
This book catapulted me into a new understanding of the major role of cod in world history. The topic almost seems absurd to begin with, but the author makes a very convincing case. A sub-theme of the book is the sad tale of how this magnificent fish is now virtually wiped out because of over-fishing. If you are looking for a book that is amusing and yet informative, this is an ideal choice. The end of the book is composed of one cod recipe after another, which you could profitably skip; it gets old after awhile. The reading is quite well done.
As always, MK is full of facts and stories that invites the reader in. For anyone wanting a great read by MK, try SALT. Unfortunately the narrator's very poor accents (he's obviously never been to Newfoundland), and bad pronunciations (it's newfenland, not new foundlend + many others) took away from what would have been a better book.
Report Inappropriate Content