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Download The Last Fish Tale: The Fate of the Atlantic and Survival in Gloucester, America’s Oldest Fishing Port and Most Original Town Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Last Fish Tale: The Fate of the Atlantic and Survival in Gloucester, America’s Oldest Fishing Port and Most Original Town 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 (304 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Kurlansky Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2008 ISBN: 9781455190232
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Fishing at sea, an ancient trade and a way of life that has defined coastal towns throughout history, may be coming to an end. The culture and traditions of coastal Britain and of seagoing nations everywhere are now threatened with extinction. Celebrated author Mark Kurlansky explores the fate of our oceans and the decline of our most ancient coastal enterprise. The book sends up a timely distress flare, one that brilliantly illuminates a colorful, exuberant, and poignant landscape, from Newlyn in Cornwall to Gloucester in Massachusetts. The result is a cultural, economic, environmental, and culinary bouillabaisse, the most compelling fish tale of our time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Part treatise, part miscellany, unfailingly entertaining.”

    New York Times 

  • “Fascinating stuff...[Kurlansky] has a keen eye for odd facts and natural detail.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “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

  • “A delightful, intimate history and contemporary portrait of the quintessential northeastern coastal fishing town…vividly depicts the contemporary tension between the traditional fishing trade and modern commerce.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Kurlansky brings his storytelling elan to the fishing town of Gloucester, Mass…Such a multicultural place suits this author perfectly; he can revel in the local color, peek into the corners and under the floorboards…Kurlansky offers a broad, intelligent examination into the decline of the fisheries….A lucent addition to Gloucester’s town treasury, featuring a wealth of dramatic stories.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Krista | 2/16/2014

    " It was okay. Not quite as interesting or informative as I had hoped but still worth a quick read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irene | 1/30/2014

    " I really enjoyed reading about the glory days and the fall of fishing in Gloucester, MA. Kurlansky has a way of folding history, ecology, economics and everyday human nature into a story with depth and warm humor. I often visited Point Judith in RI as a kid (to walk the piers; see the derby boats come in; and have clam cakes from "Johnny's clam shack"). There's something compeling about a fishing port. I visited Gloucester for the first time around 1977 on a vacation with my college roommate. I doubt passing through is anything remotely like living there, but this book rounds out the story quite a bit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 1/27/2014

    " Very interesting read, especially the last part about fishing vs tourism. "

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

    " Fansicating and insightful book about the fishing industry and Glouschester. Wasn't a bit dry or boring for non-fiction. "

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

    " One of the best parts of my job as a narrator for the National Library Service for Blind & Physically Handicapped is reading well written non-fiction books on topics which I have some interest in, but would never take the time to read on my own. In investigating the decline of the fishing industry in Gloucester, MA (the oldest fishing port in America), Kurlansky embarks on a history of Gloucester and the Cape Ann peninsula that is richly detailed, and told with such narrative clarity and sureness of voice that the reader can truly discover this region themselves. Kurlansky uses a skilled hand to set up the circumstances of a history situation quickly and simply, then dramatically lead us through the highlights of the event. Some of his descriptions of the loss of lives and ships in Gloucester's early days are harrowing in their simplicity. His look at present day Gloucester is just as effective in it's impact, bringing us the thoughts and emotions of everyday people trying to sustain their lives in this unique fishing village culture. Discussions about Gloucester's noted place among the art world (the light in Gloucester spurred a movement in maritime art)as well as capsule biographical sketches of the prominent artists might seem out of place in what is essentially a fishing book. But Kurlansky deftly ties these passages into the complex history of Gloucester's fishing community in a way that deepens our understanding of the people of the city. A later section comparing the highs and woes of comparable fishing ports, both domestic and foreign, are just as clearly researched and carefully drawn as his main subject. On top of all this, and to my mind most importantly, Kurlansky never lets us forget that there is a huge ecologic, economic, and political moral at the heart of this fish tale. Without seeming to take sides or push a specific agenda, but rather by presenting the hard facts of the story of Gloucester, Kurlansky makes the case that overfishing has had a tremendous effect on our seas. It would be impossible to come away from reading this book without the stark realization that something must be done to change the way humans fish. And he does all this in a compact 250+ pages. I've had Kurlansky's books Cod and Salt on my "to read" list for a while, but this is the first of his I've read. I'm even more excited now to move on to his other books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 1/7/2014

    " This book taught me more about Cape Ann than I had learned in eight years of living here, and was fascinatingly thought provoking about how towns, and professions can change over time. Very, very enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kenno82 | 12/19/2013

    " Much has been written about the cod fishery around Gloucester, however I loved that this book longed to capture more than the struggles of the fishery itself. The feel of the town leaps of the page, and I love how Kurlanksy mixes in snippets of local traditions and recipes. An enjoyable read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jorge Ribas | 10/22/2013

    " Great book, some fascinating history of both the fishing industry and Glouchester. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelley Kassa | 6/23/2013

    " Pretty good, a decent look at Gloucester. Could have been better, but it did make me want to read more of his books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steven | 4/8/2013

    " The history of fishing in Gloucester - other aspects of Glucester MA life mentioned as how they relate to fishing "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carl Demrow | 2/15/2013

    " Want to learn about the history of Gloucester, Mass? This is the book for you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bruce | 11/15/2012

    " A fun and very informative look at Gloucester MASS, fish, fishing, and politics. A painful chronicle of the decline of the fishery, competition, greed and denial. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mum | 11/4/2012

    " Loved it for about 3 chapters and then the boredom set in. It is a history lesson in a very interesting book cover. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alana | 10/25/2012

    " Okay. Not the best Kurlansky. In fact, you could have done a lot better, Mark. Too murky, too sloppy, too choppy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Donal Keady | 4/27/2012

    " Interesting, but fishing's not really my thing. Some interesting history and geography, though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 JulieK | 3/15/2012

    " Not as interesting as I'd hoped. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Halldór Thorgeirsson | 10/28/2011

    " I found the insight into how settlers from Europe shaped the fishing industry in New England very interesting. The stories of their struggle appealed to me given my background (broad up in a fishing village). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 9/16/2011

    " Interesting history of fishermen & ports on the Atlantic - especially Gloucester. Fishing here has become so regulated due to environmental issues - lose of fish & warming of ocean temperatures that fishermen with a family steeped in that tradition have been forced to take other jobs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diana | 4/15/2011

    " Wonderful book about the history of Glouster, Ma. and how overfishing is taking a toll on the fishing fleet there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christopher | 3/10/2011

    " I LOVE where I live. Teen pregnancies be damned! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 12/3/2010

    " Interesting history of fishermen & ports on the Atlantic - especially Gloucester. Fishing here has become so regulated due to environmental issues - lose of fish & warming of ocean temperatures that fishermen with a family steeped in that tradition have been forced to take other jobs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Halldór | 8/24/2010

    " I found the insight into how settlers from Europe shaped the fishing industry in New England very interesting. The stories of their struggle appealed to me given my background (broad up in a fishing village). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 7/30/2010

    " Very interesting read, especially the last part about fishing vs tourism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edmund | 2/15/2010

    " Enjoyable book about a fascinating town.

    Very sad how much bottom dragging has heart fishing especially for ground fish like Cod. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carl | 12/2/2009

    " Want to learn about the history of Gloucester, Mass? This is the book for you. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Donal | 9/26/2009

    " Interesting, but fishing's not really my thing. Some interesting history and geography, though. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mum | 9/15/2009

    " Loved it for about 3 chapters and then the boredom set in. It is a history lesson in a very interesting book cover. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 1/22/2009

    " This book taught me more about Cape Ann than I had learned in eight years of living here, and was fascinatingly thought provoking about how towns, and professions can change over time. Very, very enjoyable. "

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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

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.