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Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (1997)

por Mark Kurlansky

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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2,777603,711 (3.9)155
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. 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.… (mais)
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Too many cooking recipes. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
A fast, fun and informative read about the oversized influence a single fish has had on human history — and how humans managed to all but wipe out the fish once thought immune to overfishing due to its fecundity and toughness.

Lots of little factoid gems buried in the text, like:

• How Basque and English cod fishermen almost certainly had reached the Americas decades before Christopher Columbus' famous voyage (the fishermen kept their discovery a secret to keep monopolizing the magnificent fishing ground they had found)
• That the fortress town of Louisbourg on Cape Breton (which I had visited just days before reading this) was founded where it was not so much for its decent harbor but because it was on the same latitude as the French city of La Rochelle, and thus easy to find via the primitive navigational method of "easting and westing" — sticking to the same easy-to-calculate latitude across the open ocean.
• Cod's role in making Britain's North American colonies economically independent long before political independence. (Britain's mercantilist laws were worthless because New England fishermen brought back far more cod than the British market could absorb, forcing them to allow trade with other nations.)
• The existence of three miraculously non-fatal "Cod Wars" between Iceland and Britain over offshore fishing.

Nice color comes from the collection of cod recipes inserted at the start of each chapter and collected in a sizable appendix at the end of the book. I doubt I'll actually ever prepare any of them, but they were fun to read.

My biggest frustration with the book was no fault of its own: it's nearly two decades old now, and I want to learn more about what's happened to the cod fisheries since its publication in 1999! ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
A decent enough read, if appropriately depressing, but by the end I felt like he was flailing for a way to wrap up the story effectively. ( )
  RJ_Stevenson | Aug 19, 2020 |
Fascinating. Everything you could possibly ever want to know about cod. ( )
  CatherineMachineGun | Jul 31, 2020 |
Didn't think I would like it, but a friend pushed it on me. Glad he did. ( )
  ShaneBX | Feb 4, 2020 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Kurlansky, MarkAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Björkegren, HansTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Löfgren, MikaelPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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These are the fishermen who stand sentry over the cod stocks off the headlands of North America, the fishermen who went to sea but forgot their pencil.
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Do not combine Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World with A Cod's Tale. A Cod's Tale is a much shorter, illustrated version of Cod aimed at children.
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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. 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.

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