Cod: a biography of the fish that changed the world

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The codfish. Wars have been fought over it, revolutions have been spurred by it, national diets have been based on it, economies and livelihoods have depended on it, and the settlement of North America was driven by it. To the millions it has sustained, it has been a treasure more precious than gold. Indeed, the codfish has played a fascinating and crucial role in world history.

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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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 3a131c21-d43b-aa63-df31-ecc21c6ba9bc
Grouping Title cod a biography of the fish that changed the world
Grouping Author kurlansky mark
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-10-18 22:43:46PM
Last Indexed 2019-10-18 00:19:58AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_interest_level UG
accelerated_reader_point_value 10
accelerated_reader_reading_level 8.8
auth_author2 Davidson, Richard M., 1940-
author Kurlansky, Mark.
author2-role Davidson, Richard M.,1940-|Narrator
author_display Kurlansky, Mark
available_at_school Hillwood High
Hunter's Lane High
collection_school Non-Fiction
detailed_location_school Hillwood High - Teen Non-Fiction
Hunter's Lane High - Teen Non-Fiction

An unexpected, energetic look at world history on sea and land from the bestselling author of Salt and The Basque History of the World
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.
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primary_isbn 9780140275018
publishDate 1997
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
ils:CARL0000095279 Book Books English Walker and Co., 1997. viii, 294 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.
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subject_facet Cod fisheries
Cod fisheries -- History
Codfish -- Literary collections
Cooking (Codfish)
title_display Cod : a biography of the fish that changed the world
title_full Cod : a biography of the fish that changed the world / Mark Kurlansky
Cod A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
Cod [sound recording] : a biography of the fish that changed the world / by Mark Kurlansky
title_short Cod :
title_sub a biography of the fish that changed the world
topic_facet Biography & Autobiography
Cod fisheries
Cooking & Food
Cooking (Codfish)
Literary collections