Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World

Mark Kurlansky, Author
Mark Kurlansky, Author Walker & Company $23 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1326-1
Reviewed on: 06/02/1997
Release date: 06/01/1997
No fish story, this is a sapient and vivid chronology of the immense impact and influence the cod fishing industry has had on the human race. The cod fish has played a major role in the economics, sustainability and diplomacy of many countries and societies throughout history, explains Kurlansky (A Continent of Islands). Kurlansky effectively weaves philosophical thought with facts and vignettes on the history of the various cod fishing enterprises that have emerged and faded through the ages. Wars over fishing territories and rights have plagued cod fishing ever since humans took to the sea, and Kurlansky traces these hostilities through short history lessons that are easily absorbed and understood. Personal quotes and cod recipes from slaves, kings, diplomats, fisherman and noted scholars such as Thoreau and Kipling cast a glistening view of the grasp this fishing industry had on society. The book's final section, ""A Cook's Tale: Six Centuries of Cod Recipes"" describes the use and preparation of cod from the days of the Vikings through the 1900s. Complete with a detailed bibliography, this remarkable and informative volume should net any number of happy readers. Illustrations. Rights: Charlotte Sheedy. (Aug.)
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