Big Oyster: A Molluscular History of New York

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2007 Paperback New New, unread book with light shelf wear. May have a remainder mark. From the bestselling author of Salt and Cod comes a fascinating history of New York and ... the oyster-its influence on four centuries of cultural, economic, and culinary trends-with recipes throughout. Read more Show Less

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780099477594
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007

Meet the Author

Mark Kurlansky
Mark Kurlansky
Blessed with extraordinary narrative skills, journalist and bestselling author Mark Kurlansky has turned a variety of eclectic, offbeat topics into engaging nonfiction blockbusters like Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (1997), Salt: A World History (2002), and The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell (2006).

Biography

Blessed with extraordinary narrative skills, journalist and bestselling author Mark Kurlansky is one of a burgeoning breed of writers who has turned a variety of eclectic, offbeat topics into engaging nonfiction blockbusters.

Kurlansky worked throughout the 1970s and '80s as a foreign correspondent in Europe and Mexico. He spent seven years covering the Caribbean for the Chicago Tribune and transformed the experience into his first book. Published in 1992, A Continent of Islands was described by Kirkus Reviews as "[a] penetrating analysis of the social, political, sexual, and cultural worlds that exist behind the four-color Caribbean travel posters."

Since then, Kurlansky has produced a steady stream of bestselling nonfiction, much of it inspired by his longstanding interest in food and food history. (He has worked as a chef and a pastry maker and has written award-winning articles for several culinary magazines.) Among his most popular food-centric titles are the James Beard Award winner Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (1997), Salt: A World History (2002), and The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell (2006). All three were adapted into illustrated children's books.

In 2004, Kurlansky cast his net wider with 1968: The Year that Rocked the World, an ambitious, colorful narrative history that sought to link political and cultural revolutions around the world to a single watershed year. While the book itself received mixed reviews, Kurlanski's storytelling skill was universally praised. In 2006, he published the scholarly, provocative critique Nonviolence: Twenty-five Lessons From the History of a Dangerous Idea. It received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

Despite occasional forays into fiction (the 2000 short story collection The White Man in the Tree and the 2005 novel Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue), Kurlansky's bailiwick remains the sorts of freewheeling colorful, and compulsively readable micro-histories that 21st-century readers cannot get enough of.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      New York, NY
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 7, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Hartford, CT
    1. Education:
      Butler University, B.A. in Theater, 1970

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 18, 2009

    If you like oysters and US history

    Being from the south I didn't think I would like the book too much but I was pleasantly surprised.I didn't realize that oysters played such a big role in the buliding of NY. A great read !!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    i received this book as a gift because the giver knows of my lov

    i received this book as a gift because the giver knows of my love of history and of New York City. I love the book but am curious about the reference to a son of George washington named Philip. I always understood the George had no biological children and none of Martha's children or grandchildren were named Philip as far as I have been able to acertain.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    This book is great. I was fascinated by the story of the oyster

    This book is great. I was fascinated by the story of the oyster and the author does an amazing job tracing New York City history through its oyster industry. A fun book. Only probelm...I am craving oysters all the time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2009

    If you love oysters...

    This was a gift given to someone who loves oysters and also happens to love anything related to history. This book is the perfect combination of both. An enjoyable read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    How the oyster industry impacted the development of New York City

    A well-written account of the history of New York City from the occupation of Manhatten by Native Americans until today, and how the abundance of multiple varieties of oysters in the waters of the Hudson and East Rivers, Sandy Hook, and the Long Island shore influenced the development of that city. The author relates how Native Americans in the area harvested oysters twelve inches in length in such quantities that mounds of those oyster shells they left behind are still visible today. The Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam in present day Lower Manhatten is covered in facinating detail. The author takes readers through the killing of the oyster beds in the late 1800's and early 1900's by pollution from raw sewage and industrial wastes to the efforts now to clean up those waters and revive the oyster beds. All in all, a facinating and informative book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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