The Big Oyster
History on the Half Shell
By Mark Kurlansky
(Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780345476395, 307pp.)
Publication Date: January 9, 2007
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"-The New York Times "
"A small pearl of a book . . . a great tale of the growth of a modern city as seen through the rise and fall of the lowly oyster."
"-Rocky Mountain News"
Award-winning author Mark Kurlansky tells the remarkable story of New York by following the trajectory of one of its most fascinating inhabitants-the oyster.
For centuries New York was famous for this particular shellfish, which until the early 1900s played such a dominant a role in the city's life that the abundant bivalves were Gotham's most celebrated export, a staple food for all classes, and a natural filtration system for the city's congested waterways.
Filled with cultural, historical, and culinary insight-along with historic recipes, maps, drawings, and photos-this dynamic narrative sweeps readers from the seventeenth-century founding of New York to the death of its oyster beds and the rise of America's environmentalist movement, from the oyster cellars of the rough-and-tumble Five Points slums to Manhattan's Gilded Age dining chambers. With "The Big Oyster," Mark Kurlansky serves up history at its most engrossing, entertaining, and delicious.
"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"
"Fascinating stuff . . . Kurlansky] has a keen eye for odd facts and natural detail."
-"The Wall Street Journal"
"Kurlansky packs his breezy book with terrific anecdotes."
"Magnificent . . . a towering accomplishment."