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Extended Audio Sample Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man Audiobook, by Mark Kurlansky Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (326 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Kurlansky Narrator: Jon Van Ness Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2012 ISBN: 9780307877468
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While working as a fur trapper in Labrador, Canada, Clarence Birdseye encountered an age-old problem: bad food and an unappealing, unhealthy diet. However, he observed that fresh vegetables wetted and left outside in the Arctic winds froze in a way that maintained their integrity after thawing. As a result, he developed his patented Birdseye freezing process and started the company that still bears his name. Birdseye forever changed the way we preserve, store, and distribute food, and the way we eat. 
 
Mark Kurlansky’s vibrant and affectionate narrative reveals Clarence Birdseye as a quintessential “can-do” American inventor—his other patents include an electric sunlamp, a harpoon gun to tag finback whales, and an improved incandescent lightbulb—and shows how the greatest of changes can come from the simplest of ideas and the unlikeliest of places.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe | 2/18/2014

    " Mark Kurlansky wrote a book-within-a-book when he put together Birdseye; the author of Salt and Cod could not resist penning a new history of an object, Ice. We learn about the role ice has played in human culture, from the dawn of civilization, through the industrial revolution, and into modern times. It slowly went from an object of awe, to a luxury good, to an everyday convenience. Along the way, religious zealots pegged ice & refrigerators as machines working against the will of God, and consumers had to be convinced that frozen food was safe & healthy to eat. This fascinating tale is framed by the story of Clarence Birdseye, the eponomous father of the frozen food industry, whose inventions (ranging from belt freezers to heat lamps) are still in wide use today. He's an inspired and inspiring explorer, and his adventurous spirit leads to many episodes which Kurlansky delights in telling. This is not a biography in the traditional sense, but a focused history, following the course of a particular frigid industry through the life of a singularly bright and warm man. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shannon Burrows | 2/18/2014

    " What a neat book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark Edlund | 1/26/2014

    " I really enjoyed Kurlansky's historical look at salt so thought this would be just as interesting. It wasn't. Not because of the writing but because of the subject matter. Clarence Birdseye was an interesting man for his time and was quite curious about things (as the title suggests). His main claim to fame was perfecting the freezing of any and all types of food and then convincing Americans to eat them. He made a LOT of money doing this. He has an interesting Canadian connection when he spent several winters in Labrador doing research. I was troubled by his hunting (read, slaughter) of land and marine animals in the quest for hides, food or trophies. Not as good as Salt. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 1/25/2014

    " Birdseye was definitely an interesting fellow, and the history of food preservation is an interesting topic to a food weenie like me. I just wish the book had focused more on the person and less on the process. In the end, I find myself agreeing with earlier reviewers who have commented that there just isn't enough "there" there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tina | 1/23/2014

    " I liked this book, but I really was hoping to love it. The guy led a really interesting life, but I wished the writing of it was as captivating. wah waaah waaaahh "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/12/2014

    " Who knew he was such an interesting guy? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/7/2014

    " I wanted to like this book, but I thought it was poorly written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 1/4/2014

    " Good nonfiction reads, "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick Ertz | 11/30/2013

    " A interesting little book from the author of Salt and Cod. It provides a looking into the starting days of the modern processes food industry. Everyone is painted in a favorable light even though much would be unacceptable by today's standards. Well worth the time to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kami | 10/27/2013

    " Not so full of style, but interesting nonetheless. I love learning about the early stages of food processing technology. Birdseye was a thinker and a doer and while I cared less about some parts of his life, I love when any creator is celebrated. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aggie | 10/26/2013

    " Really enjoyed this book. All of Kurlansky's are excellently researched and good reads. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Raven | 10/8/2013

    " Fast read of an interesting guy who invented many things (around 200 patents) besides commercializing fast freezing "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Cawthon | 9/25/2013

    " not all that informative, but an entertaining, light read. forgettable but not a waste of time "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Catherine | 7/10/2013

    " I loved the cultural and historical aspect that was explored regarding food as it relates to the man who literally invented marketable frozen food. I don't normally enjoy biographies but this one was definitely a good summer read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Seth | 4/7/2013

    " I'm a big fan of books about random subjects but I've never understood the fuss about Kurlansky. His books are well-researched and the prose is fine but I've never actually been remotely entertained. Same thoughts about this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachael | 1/3/2013

    " This bio is even more interesting because of the description of people and events around the time of Clarence Birdseye's life. I really enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 11/24/2012

    " Easy to read; not too much science, which for me was great. An interesting topic with lots of social history background, placing things in historical context. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin Kilkenny | 11/10/2012

    " Very interesting life. A good quick read about a man most people don't even know ever existed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Luci Dilullo | 7/24/2012

    " Well written and interesting, seemed a bit rushed at times though "

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About the Author
Author Mark KurlanskyMark 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.