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Extended Audio Sample Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World 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 (6,519 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Kurlansky Narrator: Richard M. Davidson Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2016 ISBN: 9781461811084
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Author Mark Kurlansky pleasantly surprised the world with this engaging best-seller that garnered rave reviews from critics and casual readers alike. His subject for this whimsical biography is the codfish, a species remarkable for its influence on humanity. Cod, Kurlansky argues, has driven economic, political, cultural and military thinking for centuries in the lands surrounding the Atlantic Ocean. Nations like England and Germany have waged wars for cod. Vikings survived on frozen cod during their expeditions to the present America. And, it turns out, European explorers were driven toward North America in pursuit of this humble fish. Kurlansky fills this biography with fascinating anecdotes that show cod surfacing time and again throughout history. The book also serves as a wake-up call, alerting us that the species has nearly been fished out. Richard M. Davidson delivers a reading that is often amusing and always enlightening. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alison | 2/19/2014

    " This is a great nonfiction read even if you are not even that interested in fish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicholas | 2/17/2014

    " A great book and something of an obituary for a once-staple food of the Western world. I read this as a sort of addendum to Kurlansky's Salt, as I had really enjoyed that book. This goes into more detail about the cod fishery, but if you have already read Salt this is shorter and covers less ground so it has a bit less impact. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jesse | 2/2/2014

    " I didn't realize how little I knew about the history of Iceland. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianne Meyers | 1/30/2014

    " This was a fascinating story on so many levels. Cultures, civilizations, fisherman, fishing communities, the habits of cod, schooners and dories, an ecological disaster made by humans, and wonderful recipes, some historic. There is a lot to learn in this history, many things we take for granted. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 MumInBloom | 1/24/2014

    " While it wasn't the most interesting read, I learned alot about how cod was pivital to North America being discovered. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nono | 1/23/2014

    " Interesting book about the history of cod and it's impact on the discovery of the New World as well as it's economic impact on the development. So sad at the end to read how we have depleted this seemingly endless supply of fish. Makes me never want to eat cod again (and not cuz I don't love cod) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 1/11/2014

    " An amazing book that I didn't want to end. I loved everything about it. I learned so much from it and wanted more! He gives great details about history, food preparation, culture, habits, even recipes! We owe it all to that codfish. Who knew? We will even make a stop into the building housing the codfish in Boston, Mass. this summer just because it's mentioned in the book! It really is fascinating. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Travis Johns | 1/9/2014

    " A fishy little book that I read on a four day trek from Oakland to Washington DC by way of Greyhound (note: never do this - there's better and cheaper ways of seeing this country without having to subject yourself to such atrocities...). In all it's proposes an interesting historical lens with which to view the past 1000 or so years of the North Atlantic and much of the maritime policy therein. However, being somewhat of a history buff myself I found that the fish-colored glasses that this book views the world in were perhaps too fish-colored. For instance: while several of America's founding fathers were centered around Boston and Cape Cod, few were actually involved in the cod trade, as the book purports - while the landed aristocracy may have owned a fishery or what have you, I sincerely doubt that any wealthy Bostonian would have set foot on a cod boat... Likewise, while cod was part of the diet of the original Jamestown settlers, the book adheres to the traditional mythos that the settlers traded peacefully with the natives and learned about corn and planted fish with their crops, etc... Anyone whose ever read Howard Zinn's "A People's History" knows that the story was far more gruesome than what thy teach 4th grades come November... Much of the history of Iceland was interesting - though at the same time I think I would like to check my facts before I embrace their particular fishtory whole-heartedy. Granted this was a biography, so much of the story was a linear collection of facts but even so, the structure of the book was slightly predictable - introduction in modern times (ecological/scientific fisheries), foggy pre-history, vivid recent history (particularly the cod wars between England and Iceland) and veiled, yet disturbingly ominous warning about the future of the oceans... a subject that could be a book in its entirety... However, for a book read on a rancid, tepid bus hurtling across country, packed to the hilt with some amazing awkward people, I'd have to say that it wasn't all that bad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helki | 1/6/2014

    " Who knew Cod and the Cod wars could be so fascinating? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leah | 12/30/2013

    " Listening to an audio version of this book while I was reading a Wayne Johnston book about Newfoundland history, I was struck by how devastating the mismanagement of this resource has been for the people of Newfoundland. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wardo | 12/27/2013

    " Yes, it's about the fish. Yes, it's non-fiction. Yes, it is utterly readable and fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 12/17/2013

    " Having New England roots, I had to read this book. I read it one summer during a vacation on Cape Cod - very appropriate. Captivating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barb | 11/27/2013

    " I really like this book. I wish I had more time to comment. I will probably read it again. Call me crazy!!!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethany | 11/14/2013

    " Really enjoyed the book, especially the section on the Cod Wars between Iceland and Great Britain. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter | 11/8/2013

    " Great book. Easy read. Provides some fascinating alternative history to how and why the New World got settled. Brings humans into Natures world as a predator "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 9/18/2013

    " Pretty interesting book -- especially since it's about fish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth B. | 5/17/2013

    " Rats, now I miss the Cod. I remember having good meaty Cod, but the last Cod I had was a tiny sliver embalmed in fried batter--a fish flavored donut. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle | 5/12/2013

    " Not as good as Salt: A World History, but still pretty awesome. And very educational! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry Earley | 1/31/2013

    " I have enjoyed most of Kurlansky's books. This was the first, and gave me a deeper insight into the key role cod played in the history of Basque and New England fishermen, and therefore the founding of the 13 colonies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alexis | 8/19/2012

    " For a book about a fish this was shockingly amazing and informative. It really was the fish that changed the world (at least some parts of it). Tale of a man's idiotic battle against what he wants from nature and what nature is willing to give. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bmcnett | 7/10/2012

    " history of the primary energy resource of a time gone by; when everything in the world was made by hand, hands were powered by energy sources such as cod. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allie | 6/5/2012

    " This was a fun book to read! It was light enough but I also learned quite a bit about the fish that changed the world. I love the old recipes, quotes, and narratives about cod. I would definitely recommend it. Plus, how fun is it to say "I'm reading Cod"? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb | 2/20/2012

    " excellent read...has made me really think twice about fish and chips...before i didn't understand the enormity of the atrocities committed against the cod... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christopher | 10/24/2011

    " Started off pretty well, but it went all Newfoundland for the last third. Still, a few interesting facts in there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 10/19/2011

    " Why didn't I eat more of this fish when I had the chance? Very good read. Find out how cod helped bring down the British Empire by giving economic independence to New England. And there are fabulous recipes as well. And then there's Newfoundland. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 10/10/2011

    " Not quite as good as Salt, or some other food/economic/environmental histories that I've read, but still an engaging read, and a quick one that gave good perspective on the history of New England. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 9/23/2011

    " Kurlansky's narrative sheds light on the importance of a common fish. His writing is enlightening, thought at points he is biased or fails to elaborate on issues. Cod is an interesting read and one I would recommend to history buffs, fishermen and cooks alike. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mike | 9/19/2011

    " This was OK, but it was no Salt (the book by Kurlansky that you should read). I am convinced that cod could be a great US history research paper. But this book would not be that much help. This is a New Yorker article that got to big for its fishing waders. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brooke | 9/10/2011

    " For a book about Cod, it was pretty interesting and a relatively quick read. I had no idea how important Cod has been in the history of world, especially North America. It was a motive behind a lot of world events. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dana | 9/6/2011

    " a fascinating book, intricately researched and beautifully written. it changes the way you look at the world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle | 8/26/2011

    " Not as good as Salt: A World History, but still pretty awesome. And very educational! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shane | 8/26/2011

    " Didn't think I would like it, but a friend pushed it on me. Glad he did. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 8/12/2011

    " Frightening take on yet another aspect of dwindling natural resources, mostly at the hands of man. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 8/9/2011

    " Interesting history, kinda boring at some points. I'd love to try out some of the salt cod recipes in this book! Yum! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret | 8/2/2011

    " Interesting and well written, although I think his The Big Oyster is more so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark V | 7/30/2011

    " Very good book. Covers history and is well written around the search and harvest of cod, but covers seafarer history of Portugal, Spain, France and England. Some great insights on geography and economic development. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Geoff Cain | 7/2/2011

    " Interesting book. It is amazing how much this fish as shaped history. Lots of recipes in the back. Most of them involving boiling the hell out of salt cod :-) Not ready for lutefisk though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J Freeman | 6/9/2011

    " A good and pretty quick read "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bmcnett | 5/13/2011

    " history of the primary energy resource of a time gone by; when everything in the world was made by hand, hands were powered by energy sources such as cod. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 5/1/2011

    " A quick fun read. I had no idea this fish was so central to the economies of so many countries. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Smoovp | 4/18/2011

    " I love this book. Well written, entertaining with lots of tangential details about the effects of the discovery of the codfish grounds off the coast of Newfoundland. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 4/4/2011

    " I haven't finished reading this book yet but I am enjoying it SO much. I'm already looking forward to reading all of Kurlansky's other books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug | 4/1/2011

    " Fascinating read. Lots of interesting history, about the fishing industry, about the exploration and settlement of the North Atlantic, and about food customs. Very worthwhile. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam | 3/27/2011

    " Interesting discussion of the history of the great fisheries and the demise of Atlantic cod stocks. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Owen | 3/18/2011

    " Couldn't finish it, couldn't get into it, maybe because I'm not enough of a history buff...a lot of the facts just washed over me. Interesting stuff, but not engaging enough. I've never eaten cod before, so I don't know why I wanted to read it to begin with...maybe just the Newfoundland connection. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rustin | 3/17/2011

    " Great book that shows how cod changed the world from America's discovery to slave trade to the American Revolution to Iceland's independence. It also speaks to the devastation that has occurred to cod due to its popularity and fishing practices. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Geoffrey | 3/14/2011

    " Even if you're not a fisher this book is incredibly witty, insightful and depressing. Kind of a shaky ending but I guess it mirrors the actual prognosis for the survival of this fish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristenfalsocapaldi | 2/26/2011

    " Ok, I only got to page 180, then I hit a wall; however, I found most of this book very informative and overall, interesting. Cod is, in my opinion, the Forrest Gump of fish! "

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About the Author
Author Mark Kurlansky

Marl Kurlansky is a highly-acclaimed American journalist and writer of general interest nonfiction, including The Big Oyster. He is especially known for titles on eclectic topics. His 1997 book Cod was an international bestseller and was translated into more than fifteen languages.

About the Narrator

Richard M. Davidson is an actor and Earphones Award–winning narrator. Trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, he is well versed in theater and has had a long-standing career in acting, including a lead role in the show Diamonds, which aired on the CBS network, and a part in ESPN’s The Hustle.