In this history of fishing—not as sport but as sustenance—archaeologist and best-selling author Brian Fagan argues that fishing was an indispensable and often overlooked element in the growth of civilization. It sustainably provided enough food to allow cities, nations, and empires to grow, but it did so with a different emphasis. Where agriculture encouraged stability, fishing demanded movement. It frequently required a search for new and better fishing grounds; its technologies, centered on boats, facilitated movement and discovery; and fish themselves, when dried and salted, were the ideal food—lightweight, nutritious, and long-lasting—for traders, travelers, and conquering armies. This history of the long interaction of humans and seafood tours archaeological sites worldwide to show readers how fishing fed human settlement, rising social complexity, the development of cities, and ultimately the modern world.
Cod, Mark Kurlansky’s third work of nonfiction and winner of the 1999 James Beard Award, is the biography of a single species of fish, but it may as well be a world history with this humble fish as its recurring main character. Cod, it turns out, is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic, and it is the only reason they could. What did the Vikings eat in icy Greenland and on the five expeditions to America recorded in the Icelandic sagas? Cod, frozen and dried in the frosty air, then broken into pieces and eaten like hardtack. What was the staple of the medieval diet? Cod again, sold salted by the Basques, an enigmatic people with a mysterious, unlimited supply of cod. As we make our way through the centuries of cod history, we also find a delicious legacy of recipes, and the tragic story of environmental failure, of depleted fishing stocks where once their numbers were legendary. In this lovely, thoughtful history, Mark Kurlansky ponders the question: Is the fish that changed the world forever changed by the world's folly?
Fishing with John: Thailand with Dennis Hopper Season 1, Ep 5
John Lurie and Dennis Hopper travel to Thailand in search of the deadly, hypnotic Giant Squid in this two part episode. [more inside]
Fishing with John: Maine with Willem Dafoe Season 1, Ep 4
John Lurie and Willem Dafoe brave the elements to go ice fishing in Maine. [more inside]
Fishing with John: Costa Rica with Matt Dillon Season 1, Ep 3
John Lurie and Matt Dillon try their hand at the mysterious, local fishing customs of Costa Rica. [more inside]
Fishing with John: Jamaica with Tom Waits Season 1, Ep 2
John Lurie and Tom Waits take a fishing trip to Jamaica. [more inside]
Fishing with John: Montauk with Jim Jarmusch Season 1, Ep 1
John Lurie and Jim Jarmusch drive to Montauk. New York to hunt man-eating sharks. [more inside]