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Taras Grescoe is the author of The Devil's Picnic: A Tour of Everything the Governments of the World Don't Want You to Try and Bottomfeeder: How the Fish on Our Plates is Killing Our Planet. He also wrote Sacre Blues: An Unsentimental Journey Through Quebec, which was shortlisted for the Writers’ Trust Award, won the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction, and was a national bestseller in Canada. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Salon, Conde Nast Traveller, the Independent, The Times and National Geographic Traveller. He also writes for Saveur, New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Wired and Chicago Tribune Magazine. He lives in Montréal, Canada.
In Bottomfeeder, we follow Taras Grescoe on a year-long, round-the-world trip, as he eats his way from the top to the bottom of the food chain with one purpose in mind: to find out whether he can continue to eat such delicacies in good conscience. As well as painting a vivid and often hilarious picture of the fascinating people Taras encounters, Bottomfeeder explores the impact we are having on sea life by overfishing and draws our attention to some of the ethical choices we can make. At a time when many of the fish we take for granted are on the verge of extinction, we need to face the fact that very soon jellyfish sandwiches may be all that is left for us to eat.
On the eve of WWII, the foreign controlled port of Shanghai was the rendezvous for the twentieth century's most outlandish adventurers, all under the watchful eye of the illustrious Sir Victor Sassoon. Emily Hahn was a legendary New Yorker writer who would cover China for nearly fifty years, playing an integral part in opening Asia up to the West. But at the height of the Depression, Emily Mickey Hahn, who had just arrived in Shanghai nursing a broken heart after a disappointing affair with an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter, was convinced she would never love again. When she enters Sassoon's glamorous Cathay Hotel, Hahn is immediately absorbed into the social swirl of the glamorous expats who inhabit it, including Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, and a colourful gangster named Morris Two Gun Cohen. But when she meets Sinmay Zau, a Chinese poet from an illustrious family, she finds the real Shanghai through his eyes: the city of rich colonials, gangsters, opium- smokers, displaced Chinese peasants, and increasingly desperate White Russian and Jewish refugees. However, in this place that her innate curiosity will lead her to discover firsthand, danger lurks on the horizon. Mickey barely makes it out alive as the brutal Japanese occupation destroys the seductive world of pre-war Shanghai and Mac Tse-tung's communists prepare to take over China.
On the eve of the Second World War, the foreign-controlled port of Shanghai was the rendezvous for the twentieth century's most outlandish adventurers, all under the watchful eye of the illustrious Sir Victor Sassoon. Emily 'Mickey' Hahn arrived there at the height of the Depression. A legendary New Yorker journalist, Hahn's vivid writing would play a crucial role in opening Western eyes to the realities of life in China. But on reaching Shanghai, Hahn was nursing a broken heart after a disappointing affair with an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter; she was convinced she would never love again. Checking in to Sassoon's glittering Cathay Hotel, Hahn was absorbed into the social swirl of the expats drawn to pre-war China, among them Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Harold Acton and the colourful gangster Morris 'Two-Gun' Cohen. But when she met Zau Sinmay, a Chinese poet from an illustrious family, she discovered the real Shanghai through his eyes: the city of rich colonials, triple agents, opium-smokers, displaced Chinese peasants, and increasingly desperate White Russian and Jewish refugees - a place her innate curiosity led her to explore first hand. Danger lurked on the horizon, though, as the brutal Japanese occupation destroyed the seductive world of pre-war Shanghai, paving the way for Mao Tse-tung and the Communists' rise to power. A compelling tale of fatal glamour and forbidden love, Shanghai Grand is their story, meticulously researched and vividly told.
Award-winning journalist Taras Grescoe has written books that have changed how we look at illicit food and other substances (The Devils Picnic), how we think about the worlds seafood (Bottomfeeder), and how we as commuters hit the road (Straphanger).The Devils Picnic is a feast like no other: start with an aperitif of powerful Norwegian moonshine; nibble on a French raw-milk cheese that can carry brain-swelling bacteria; sip some Bolivian cocaine tea and Swiss absinthe; finish off with a puff of a Cuban cigar in a Californian bar. Grescoe travels the world sampling these and other substances that have been legally banned and publicly demonized.Bottomfeeder is a seafood lovers round-the-world quest for a truly decent meal. From strip-mall Red Lobsters to the rotary sushi bars of Tokyo, Grescoe travels to the end of the seafood supply chain and back to discover how out-of-control pollution, unregulated fishing practices, and global warming are affecting the fish that end up on our plates.In Straphanger, Grescoe hits the commuter road in a global quest to understand and illuminate the challenges of the post-automobile age. Straphanger is not just another attack on automobiles and suburban sprawl but one of the most entertaining and thorough examinations of global car culture yet written, and an empowering tool kit for anybody looking for alternatives to a car-based lifestyle.
Never in history have we seemed to have such global freedom, such an opportunity to indulge our wildest tastes. We think we live in a time of unprecedented choice. But as Taras Grescoe discovers, this is just an illusion. In this witty expose our intrepid author goes in search of the things that the rulers of the world will punish you for trying - all the time asking the question: why in ostensibly free states should we be criminalized for behaviour that concerns no one but ourselves? In a travelogue that takes in Swiss absinthe, Cuban cigars, Bolivian coca tea and stinking French cheese, Taras Grescoe drinks, smokes and eats his way to finding out. Fun, philosophical, and unafraid of the big questions, this is a journey for free-thinkers, not the faint-hearted. As insightful and outraged as Fast Food Nation and as funny and astute as Dude, Where's My Country , The Devil's Picnic is a feast for anyone who has ever made a stand for personal liberty.