• Salmon

  • A Fish, the Earth, and the History of Their Common Fate
  • By: Mark Kurlansky
  • Narrated by: Mark Kurlansky
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (103 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

In what he says is the most important piece of environmental writing in his long and award-winning career, Mark Kurlansky, best-selling author of Salt and CodThe Big Oyster, 1968, and Milk, among many others, employs his signature multi-century storytelling and compelling attention to detail to chronicle the harrowing yet awe-inspiring life cycle of salmon.

During his research, Kurlansky traveled widely and observed salmon and those who both pursue and protect them in the Pacific and the Atlantic, in Ireland, Norway, Iceland, Japan, and even the robust but not as frequently visited Kamchatka Peninsula. This world tour reveals an eras-long history of man's misdirected attempts to manipulate salmon and its environments for his own benefit and gain, whether for entertainment or to harvest food.

In addition, Kurlansky's research shows that all over the world these fish, uniquely connected to both marine and terrestrial ecology as well as fresh and salt water, are a natural barometer for the health of the planet. He documents that for centuries man's greatest assaults on nature, from overfishing to dams, from hatcheries to fish farms, from industrial pollution to the ravages of climate change, are evidenced in the sensitive life cycle of salmon.

Kurlansky's insightful conclusion is that the only way to save salmon is to save the planet and, at the same time, the only way to save the planet is to save the mighty, heroic salmon.

©2020 Mark Kurlansky (P)2020 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Salmon

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

More about people than salmon

This book highlight the biggest problem with people and their relationship with nature more than talking about salmon.

When I was in university hopefully studying to be a fisheries biologist, I change my mind when I went to the library and found how little knowledge there is about salmon. I changed course knowing that fisheries biology would be futile because people don't want to know about fish, they want to know how to cook them. This book brought me back to that moment in the library because nothing has changed.

This book barely gives any information on the life and habits of salmon. It doesn't even talk about white springs that have rich oily white flesh. It doesn't discuss what the difference species of salmon eat, where they go to feed, that Chinook salmon have breeds that come back to the river after many years (up to 8 year and 100 lb). It doesn't mention the ocean sport fisheries. This paragraph could go on forever with what is not included about salmon in this book. The reason book doesn't provide information on the life of salmon, is the reason salmon are in decline. People don't want to read (know) about salmon.

To buy a book on salmon a popular book buying person has to have a axe to grind regarding the way people treat the resource. But that outrage at other people wrecking the fishery is how to sell a book reportedly about salmon. And the problem is that person would not buy a book about salmon if it was what salmon do rather than what people do with salmon. That's the problem, most people won't understand it.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, informative

Wonderful & well-researched overview of global salmon fishing history. A must read. Fabulous performance as well.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Another wonderful examination of a species and it’s importance

Much like with “Cod” Mark Kurlansky expertly tackles the intricacies of salmon, their environment, and the fisheries. As a former fisheries biologist, fisherman, and fishing enthusiast I was delighted to see a book that so accurately captures the beauty, nuances, and issues of salmon and their fisheries.

2 people found this helpful

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amazing!

Can't recommend it enough. paints a beautiful picture of our reality, and what we are doing to the planet.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Please pay for professional narrators!

I love Mr. Kurlansky's books and own many of them, but a couple have been degraded by the quality of narration. This is one of them. Mr. Kurlansky is a phenomenal writer and excellent storyteller, but his narration sounds like the most dry and boring history professor you ever had choking on his own mustache! This is a genuinely interesting, and arguably important, book about resource conservation, but I have to force myself to listen while trying to ignore the choppy un-nuanced narration. I would pay extra for another copy of this book read by a more dynamic narrator, it doesn't even need to be George Guidell! I have gotten into the habit of being hesitant to buy audiobooks if they are read by the author (this is more of a problem for American authors than British for some reason). This book would not have been purchased, after I listened to the preview, if it were by an author of less renown than Mr. Kurlansky. Do yourself a favor and buy the print copy.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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whiney!!!

I have enjoyed several of kurlanskys books...over and over..

this was a huge whine...

i grew up in a salmon fishery family... hard working just people...

the narrator sounded very tired..short of breath?

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Who hears the fishes when they cry?

How many different links in the biosphere relys on the Salmon? How many links in the Earths Biosphere 🌎 are humans devastating without asking how to maintain record levels? Because reccord levels were the thousand year norm for the Native tribes who maintained and cultivated the river systems. Sustainability? Perhaps 40+ THOUSAND years of PRISTINE wildlife management left an impact on Native culture... Surely we could BEG THEM to resume sustainably practices and reverse the bio-cide of "industry" and "progress".

1 person found this helpful

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One of the most important books of 2020

Very important message that needs to be heard round the world. So goes the Salmon, so goes humanity.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

good story, terrible narration.

The book was read by the author, but it was almost unlistenable. The content was interesting like the rest of Kurlansky's books, but someone needs to tell the author he cannot perform his books. It was a shame. I almost couldn't finish due to his speech pattern, unusual pauses and seeming ignorance of punctuation while reading.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The author cannot pronounce the word "Oregon".

This may strike non-Oregonians as a petty criticism, but I promise you, for resident of that state, to hear the word mispronounced "Or e GONE" again and again is more than a little grating. Yes, we know that this mispronunciation is common outside of the state, but a professional ought to get this right. Confusingly, he gets the pronunciation right in the afterword. He even manages to mangle "Oregonian", which he pronounces "Or e GONE ian". He mispronounces a number of other NW place names, such as "Yakima". I would think that preparing to narrate a book would involve researching the proper pronunciation of the words in the book, and isn't there an editor involved? Does nobody listen to this book before it is released to the public?

For the record, locals say "OR e gun" and "Or e GOAN ian". There are even bumper stickers that locals use to spell out the proper pronunciation for visitors.