Reading Wednesday

Book Review The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky

History on the Half Shell

Mark Kurlansky is a journalist who has worked as a correspondent all over the world. He also has written numerous books with vast and interesting themes. My husband read his book Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (published 1997). And then we both read Salt: A World History (published 2002. Fascinating. And now we found this book, while perusing the gift shop at the tenement museum in New York City. Here is my book review The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky.

Why Oysters?

Even if you aren’t a fan of oysters on your plate, you might still enjoy how this unique book takes the reader through hundreds of years of region we know today as New York City. The history of the shellfish is a marvelous vehicle to use to tell a historical tale.

When the Dutch arrived the 1600’s the oyster was something they fed on both out of love and need. But long before, the Native’s also ate the mollusk, though more for enjoyment than sustenance as it takes a lot of oysters to create enough calories to sustain a man.

As the city grew, so did the piles of left over shells, and it took more than a hundred years before any kinds of conservation efforts began. Of course the early settlers did not understand the important role the oysters played as a filtration system for clean water. By the time environmental awareness began in the 20th century the Hudson River and New York Harbor were a polluted mess and the oysters were gone.

Delicious and Educational

Kurlansky creates a book filled with cultural, culinary, religious, theatrical and historical information, including some fun recipes, as he guides the reading through the Big Oyster – History on the Half Shell.

****Four stars for The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky. I hope you enjoyed my book review The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky.

See last week’s review of The Codebreaker by Walter Isaacson.

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