Book Reviews, History, Reading

Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed History

I consider myself something of an aficionado of history books. Generally, I can tell a good one from a bad one fairly easily. I keep the good ones and the bad ones stay on the shelf at the store or library.

For years now, I have wanted to read Cod by Mark Kurlansky, but who wants to shell out $15 for a book about a fish?

Once I figured out how to get audio books onto my phone (using our local library and Overdrive) I added Cod to my queue and waited for it to become available. Finally, I got the email notifying me that I could download it, and I rushed to get it.

What can you say about this book? First of all, kudos to Kurlansky for daring to write a full on history of not just the COD but the commercial fishing of cod. I could think of nothing more mundane – or more fascinating.

Cod fishing managed to be a major issues in all kinds of major events in history, from the discovery of Nova Scotia to the tensions in post-World War II Europe. Everywhere you look, people were worried about cod. Consider that prior to the 1773 Tea Act, there had been a tax on American cod fishing and many of those who dressed up as Indians to dump tea into Boston Harbor in the Boston Tea Party were called “cod families” because they had made their money by selling cod.

Although the writing style was a bit tedious (and the reader was a very boring baritone), the information in Cod was fascinating. I applaud Kurlansky, and I look forward to reading his other book Salt. (seriously…)

My next reviews: A Song of Ice and Fire, books 3 and 4; as well as Real Church by Larry Crabb.

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