The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell

The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell

by Mark Kurlansky
4.0 21

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky

“Part treatise, part miscellany, unfailingly entertaining.”
–The New York Times

“A small pearl of a book . . . a great tale of the growth of a modern city as seen through the rise and fall of the lowly oyster.”
–Rocky Mountain News

Award-winning author Mark Kurlansky tells the remarkable story of New York by following the trajectory of one of its most fascinating inhabitants–the oyster.
For centuries New York was famous for this particular shellfish, which until the early 1900s played such a dominant a role in the city’s life that the abundant bivalves were Gotham’s most celebrated export, a staple food for all classes, and a natural filtration system for the city’s congested waterways.

Filled with cultural, historical, and culinary insight–along with historic recipes, maps, drawings, and photos–this dynamic narrative sweeps readers from the seventeenth-century founding of New York to the death of its oyster beds and the rise of America’s environmentalist movement, from the oyster cellars of the rough-and-tumble Five Points slums to Manhattan’s Gilded Age dining chambers. With The Big Oyster, Mark Kurlansky serves up history at its most engrossing, entertaining, and delicious.

“Suffused with [Kurlansky’s] pleasure in exploring the city across ground that hasn’t already been covered with other writers’ footprints.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Fascinating stuff . . . [Kurlansky] has a keen eye for odd facts and natural detail.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Kurlansky packs his breezy book with terrific anecdotes.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Magnificent . . . a towering accomplishment.”
Associated Press

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345476395
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/09/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 94,671
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 1300L (what's this?)

About the Author

Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling and James A. Beard Award—winning author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, Salt: A World History, 1968: The Year That Rocked the World, and The Basque History of the World, as well as Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue (his debut novel), and several other books. He lives in New York City.

Hometown:

New York, NY

Date of Birth:

December 7, 1948

Place of Birth:

Hartford, CT

Education:

Butler University, B.A. in Theater, 1970

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The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
ckcSC More than 1 year ago
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 !!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
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linda6202 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just a question, are you mad at kaneki? When he joined you left and he seemed to feel bad because je thought you left cuz he joined. Are you okay with him?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey - Wies