The Devil's Cormorant: A Natural History [NOOK Book]

Overview

Behold the cormorant: silent, still, cruciform, and brooding; flashing, soaring, quick as a snake. Evolution has crafted the only creature on Earth that can migrate the length of a continent, dive and hunt deep underwater, perch comfortably on a branch or a wire, walk on land, climb up cliff faces, feed on thousands of different species, and live beside both fresh and salt water in a vast global range of temperatures and altitudes, often in close proximity to man. Long a symbol of gluttony, greed, bad luck, and ...
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The Devil's Cormorant: A Natural History

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Overview

Behold the cormorant: silent, still, cruciform, and brooding; flashing, soaring, quick as a snake. Evolution has crafted the only creature on Earth that can migrate the length of a continent, dive and hunt deep underwater, perch comfortably on a branch or a wire, walk on land, climb up cliff faces, feed on thousands of different species, and live beside both fresh and salt water in a vast global range of temperatures and altitudes, often in close proximity to man. Long a symbol of gluttony, greed, bad luck, and evil, the cormorant has led a troubled existence in human history, myth, and literature. The birds have been prized as a source of mineral wealth in Peru, hunted to extinction in the Arctic, trained by the Japanese to catch fish, demonized by Milton in Paradise Lost, and reviled, despised, and exterminated by sport and commercial fishermen from Israel to Indianapolis, Toronto to Tierra del Fuego. In The Devil’s Cormorant, Richard King takes us back in time and around the world to show us the history, nature, ecology, and economy of the world’s most misunderstood waterfowl.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
09/01/2013
King (Maritime Studies Program, Williams Coll. & Mystic Seaport; Lobster) demonstrates his multidimensional expertise on matters relating to the sea in this excellent exploration of the world of cormorants. That these seabirds (40 species of them) are found worldwide is key to the book's organization, as each chapter moves to another part of the globe, with regular returns to various U.S. maritime locations. Cormorants have been widely reviled for centuries because, among other factors, they present competition to anglers and commercial fisherman (in the Far East, fishermen have harnessed cormorants' skills for their own fishing). King explains cormorants' habits, their biology, and their place in human history, folklore, and literature, including human-bird conflicts across the centuries. He works such figures as Aristotle, John Milton (in Paradise Lost, Satan disguise himself as a cormorant), Captain James Cook, Charles Darwin, and Kurt Vonnegut into his absorbing narrative. VERDICT A work that is thorough and authoritative as well as charming, this title is highly recommended for those interested in the historical, cultural, and literary relationship between humans and the natural world.—Henry T. Armistead, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia
From the Publisher
"Thorough and authoritative as well as charming. . . . King demonstrates his multidimensional expertise on matters relating to the sea in this excellent exploration of the world of cormorants." —Library Journal

“Fascinating. . . .A great book to have at home or aboard.”—American Schooner Association

“Mankind’s literary, historical, cultural, ecological and absurdly comical relationship with the ultimate “love ’em or hate ’em” bird—the only earthly creature that can migrate the length of a continent and climb up cliff faces—is examined by King, a lecturer on the literature of the sea at Williams College and Mystic Seaport.”—Connecticut Magazine

“King is asking us to work out the terms of endearment, to figure out compromises that remain crucial to the planet. For more than 300 pages he presses the reader to evaluate bird and human co-existence. Perhaps this duck and its story carry some of the answers. Read the book and get involved. And save some applause for the author.”’—CoastWeekend.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611684742
  • Publisher: University of New Hampshire Press
  • Publication date: 9/22/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 360
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

RICHARD J. KING is senior lecturer in literature of the sea with the Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport. He is the author of Lobster.
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Table of Contents

MARCH
Gifu City, Japan
APRIL
Henderson Harbor, United States
MAY
Aran Islands, Ireland
JUNE
South Georgia, Antarctica
JULY
East Sand Island, United States
AUGUST
Tring, England
SEPTEMBER
Bering Island, Russia
OCTOBER
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
NOVEMBER
Belzoni, United States
DECEMBER
Isla Chincha Centro, Peru
JANUARY
Cape Town, South Africa
FEBRUARY
Gates Island, United States
MARCH
Acknowledgments
Appendix: Cormorant Species of the World and IUCN Red List Status
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Permissions and Credits
Index
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2013

    The book has a fun, engaging narrative while the author follows

    The book has a fun, engaging narrative while the author follows this bird around the world. I never knew how much the cormorant could tell us about world history and culture, and how much controversy this bird has sparked! I'm a big fan of John McPhee, and this book is in the same category, telling the story of both natural history and people, but with King's own compassionate and, at times, funny voice.

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