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Mark Kurlansky - Author

About the Author

Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling author of Cod, Salt, The Basque History of the World, 1968, The Big Oyster, and The Eastern Stars, among many other books.

Featured books by Mark Kurlansky

What? Are These Really the Twenty Most Important Questions in Human History?

What? Are These Really the Twenty Most Important Questions in Human History?

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/06/2011

Kurlansky considers the work of Confucius, Plato, Shakespeare, Descartes, Nietzsche, Freud, Hemingway, Emily Dickinson, the Talmud, Charles de Gaulle, Virginia Woolf, and others, distilling the deep questions of life to their sparkling essence.

Other books by Mark Kurlansky

Milk! A 10,000-Year Food Fracas

Milk! A 10,000-Year Food Fracas

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/08/2018

Mark Kurlansky's first global food history since the bestselling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic, and culinary story of milk and all things dairy--with recipes throughout. According to the Greek creation myth, we are so much spilt milk; a splatter of the goddess Hera's breast milk became our galaxy, the Milky Way. But while mother's milk may be the essence of nourishment, it is the milk of other mammals that humans have cultivated ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago, originally as a source of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and all manner of edible innovations that rendered lactose digestible, and then, when genetic mutation made some of us lactose-tolerant, milk itself. Before the industrial revolution, it was common for families to keep dairy cows and produce their own milk. But during the nineteenth century mass production and urbanization made milk safety a leading issue of the day, with milk-borne illnesses a common cause of death. Pasteurization slowly became a legislative matter. And today milk is a test case in the most pressing issues in food politics, from industrial farming and animal rights to GMOs, the locavore movement, and advocates for raw milk, who controversially reject pasteurization. Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid's diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics.

Havana A Subtropical Delirium

Havana A Subtropical Delirium

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/06/2018

Paper Paging Through History

Paper Paging Through History

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/05/2017

For the past two millennia, the ability to produce paper in ever more efficient ways has supported the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce and art. It has created civilisations, fostering the fomenting of revolutions and the stabilising of regimes. Now, on the cusp of going paperless , Mark Kurlansky challenges common assumptions about technology's influence, affirming that paper is here to stay.

Havana A Subtropical Delirium

Havana A Subtropical Delirium

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/05/2017

Paper Paging Through History

Paper Paging Through History

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/05/2016

Paper is one of the simplest and most essential pieces of human technology. For the past two millennia, the ability to produce it in ever more efficient ways has supported the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce and art. It has created civilisations, fostering the fomenting of revolutions and the stabilising of regimes. History's greatest press run produced 6.5 billion copies of Mao zhu xi yu lu, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Zedong) and Leonardo da Vinci left behind only 15 paintings but 4,000 works on paper. Now, on the cusp of going paperless -and amid speculation about the effects of a digitally dependent society-we've come to a world-historic juncture to examine what paper means to civilisation. Through tracing paper's evolution, Mark Kurlansky challenges common assumptions about technology's influence, affirming that paper is here to stay. Paper will be the history that guides us forward in the twenty-first century.

City Beasts Fourteen Short Stories of Uninvited Wildlife

City Beasts Fourteen Short Stories of Uninvited Wildlife

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/03/2015

International Night A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World Including More Than 250 Recipes

International Night A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World Including More Than 250 Recipes

Author: Mark Kurlansky, Talia Kurlansky Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/10/2014

Once a week in the Kurlansky home, Mark spins a globe and wherever his daughter's finger lands becomes the theme of that Friday night's dinner. Their tradition of International Night has afforded Mark an opportunity to share with his daughter, Talia--and now the readers of International Night--the recipes, stories, and insights he's collected over more than thirty years of traveling the world writing about food, culture, and history, and his charming pen-and-ink drawings, which appear throughout the book.International Night is brimming with recipes for fifty-two special meals--appetizers, a main course, side dishes, and dessert for each--one for every week of the year. Some are old favorites from Mark's repertoire, and others gleaned from research. Always, they are his own version, drawn from techniques he learned as a professional chef and from many years of talking to chefs, producers, and household cooks around the world. Despite these insights, every recipe is designed to be carried out--easily--by any amateur chef, and they are designed to be completed with the assistance of children.Mark and Talia invite you and your family into their kitchen, outfitted with overflowing packets of exotic spices and aromas of delicacies from Tanzania and Kazakhstan to Cuba and Norway. From there, recipes and toothsome morsels of cultural and historical information will fill your bellies and your minds, and transport you to countries all around the world.

The Story of Salt

The Story of Salt

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2014

Based on Mark Kurlansky's critically acclaimed bestseller Salt: A World History, this handsome picture book explores every aspect of salt: the many ways it's gathered from the earth and sea; how ancient emperors in China, Egypt, and Rome used it to keep their subjects happy; why salt was key to the Age of Exploration; what salt meant to the American Revolution; and even how the search for salt eventually led to oil. Along the way, you'll meet a Celtic miner frozen in salt, learn how to make ketchup, and even experience salt's finest hour: Gandhi's famous Salt March.

The Cod's Tale

The Cod's Tale

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2014

Based on a New York Times bestseller, this nonfiction picture book offers a unique, fishy look at a thousand years of human civilization. What fish enabled the Vikings, Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and the Pilgrims to cross the cold Atlantic Ocean to America? What fish became a staple of the medieval diet in Europe, helped spur the American Revolution, and helped the early New Englanders start making money of their own?

Hank Greenberg The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One

Hank Greenberg The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/05/2013

One of the reasons baseball fans so love the sport is that it involves certain physical acts of beauty. And one of the most beautiful sights in the history of baseball was Hank Greenberg's swing. His calmly poised body seemed to have some special set of springs with a trigger release that snapped his arms and swept the bat through the air with the clean speed and strength of a propeller. But what is even more extraordinary than his grace and his power is that in Detroit of 1934, his swing-or its absence-became entwined with American Jewish history. Though Hank Greenberg was one of the first players to challenge Babe Ruth's single-season record of sixty home runs, it was the game Greenberg did not play for which he is best remembered. With his decision to sit out a 1934 game between his Tigers and the New York Yankees because it fell on Yom Kippur, Hank Greenberg became a hero to Jews throughout America. Yet, as Kurlansky writes, he was the quintessential secular Jew, and to celebrate him for his loyalty to religious observance is to ignore who this man was. In Hank Greenberg Mark Kurlansky explores the truth behind the slugger's legend: his Bronx boyhood, his spectacular discipline as an aspiring ballplayer, the complexity of his decision not to play on Yom Kippur, and the cultural context of virulent anti-Semitism in which his career played out. What Kurlansky discovers is a man of immense dignity and restraint with a passion for sport who became a great reader-a man, too, who was an inspiration to the young Jackie Robinson, who said, Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg.

Birdseye

Birdseye

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/02/2013

Birdseye

Birdseye

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: eBook Release Date: 08/05/2012

Break out the TV dinners! From the author who gave us Cod, Salt, and other informative bestsellers, the first biography of Clarence Birdseye, the eccentric genius inventor whose fast-freezing process revolutionized the food industry and American agriculture.

Edible Stories A Novel in Sixteen Delicious Courses

Edible Stories A Novel in Sixteen Delicious Courses

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2011

Robert Eggle finds himself standing one day in a hole in the sidewalk, rain plastering his clothes to his body, with no memory of who he is, his former life as a food critic, how he got there, or where he should go next. Trying desperately not to be unknowing to people who seem to recognize him including his wife Margaret, he has to survive by holding on to what he tastes. He finds his preoccupations narrowed down to his loss of taste, and the puzzling gastronomic tales people regale him with. Why is it important not to be too gourmetA ? And what is the real purpose behind red sea salt? There is his ex-wife Margaret, who becomes the unwilling obsession of a man from Papa New Guinea with an unusual appetite, and Emma, his neurotic fan who sees a conspiracy in creme brulees. In this world where love is celebrated with peppered, slow-cooked menudo, and where friendships are forged over fat-free muffins, Edible StoriesA serves up a delectable tale of quirky individuals whose lives intersect in amusing, poignant, and surprisingly thrilling with a man who remembers nothing but the texture of the food he has eaten.

What? Are These Really the Twenty Most Important Questions in Human History?

What? Are These Really the Twenty Most Important Questions in Human History?

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/06/2011

Kurlansky considers the work of Confucius, Plato, Shakespeare, Descartes, Nietzsche, Freud, Hemingway, Emily Dickinson, the Talmud, Charles de Gaulle, Virginia Woolf, and others, distilling the deep questions of life to their sparkling essence.

World without Fish

World without Fish

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/04/2011

Almost fifty years ago, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring awakened the consciousness of an entire generation by bringing to light the harmful effects of DDT and other toxic chemicals; she forever changed the way people view the natural world. In The World Without Fish , bestselling author Mark Kurlansky issues a similar call to action to kids ages 10 and up - the next generation to inherit the earth - by outlining what will happen within the next fifty years if the ill effects of over-fishing, pollution, and climate change aren't addressed soon. In clear language that kids will understand, Kurlansky gives a step-by-step account of what would happen if fish became extinct - and then outlines a plan for remedying the situation. As an extra bonus, this book includes a fifteen-page graphic novel (each page is a chapter opener) that tells the fictional story of the daughter of a marine biologist who witnesses the slow extinction of the world's fish in her lifetime.

Hank Greenberg

Hank Greenberg

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: eBook Release Date: 29/03/2011

One of the reasons baseball fans so love the sport is that it involves certain physical acts of beauty. And one of the most beautiful sights in the history of baseball was Hank Greenberg's swing. His calmly poised body seemed to have some special set of springs with a trigger release that snapped his arms and swept the bat through the air with the clean speed and strength of a propeller. But what is even more extraordinary than his grace and his power is that in Detroit of 1934, his swingor its absencebecame entwined with American Jewish history. Though Hank Greenberg was one of the first players to challenge Babe Ruth's single-season record of sixty home runs, it was the game Greenberg did not play for which he is best remembered. With his decision to sit out a 1934 game between his Tigers and the New York Yankees because it fell on Yom Kippur, Hank Greenberg became a hero to Jews throughout America. Yet, as Kurlansky writes, he was the quintessential secular Jew, and to celebrate him for his loyalty to religious observance is to ignore who this man was.In Hank Greenberg Mark Kurlansky explores the truth behind the slugger's legend: his Bronx boyhood, his spectacular discipline as an aspiring ballplayer, the complexity of his decision not to play on Yom Kippur, and the cultural context of virulent anti-Semitism in which his career played out.What Kurlansky discovers is a man of immense dignity and restraint with a passion for sport who became a great readera man, too, who was an inspiration to the young Jackie Robinson, whosaid, "e;Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg."e;

Hank Greenberg The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One

Hank Greenberg The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/03/2011

One of the reasons baseball fans so love the sport is that it involves certain physical acts of beauty. And one of the most beautiful sights in the history of baseball was Hank Greenberg's swing. His calmly poised body seemed to have some special set of springs with a trigger release that snapped his arms and swept the bat through the air with the clean speed and strength of a propeller. But what is even more extraordinary than his grace and his power is that in Detroit of 1934, his swing-or its absence-became entwined with American Jewish history. Though Hank Greenberg was one of the first players to challenge Babe Ruth's single-season record of sixty home runs, it was the game Greenberg did not play for which he is best remembered. With his decision to sit out a 1934 game between his Tigers and the New York Yankees because it fell on Yom Kippur, Hank Greenberg became a hero to Jews throughout America. Yet, as Kurlansky writes, he was the quintessential secular Jew, and to celebrate him for his loyalty to religious observance is to ignore who this man was. In Hank Greenberg Mark Kurlansky explores the truth behind the slugger's legend: his Bronx boyhood, his spectacular discipline as an aspiring ballplayer, the complexity of his decision not to play on Yom Kippur, and the cultural context of virulent anti-Semitism in which his career played out. What Kurlansky discovers is a man of immense dignity and restraint with a passion for sport who became a great reader-a man, too, who was an inspiration to the young Jackie Robinson, who said, Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg.

Last Fish Tale

Last Fish Tale

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: eBook Release Date: 03/06/2008

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.

Nonviolence The History of a Dangerous Idea

Nonviolence The History of a Dangerous Idea

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2007

The conventional history of nations, even continents, is a history of warfare. According to this view, all the important ideas and significant changes of humankind occured as part of an effort to win one violent, bloody conflict or another. But there have always been a few who refused to fight. Following the grand sweep of history from Confucius to Tolstoy, Erasmus to Gandhi, bestselling author Mark Kurlansky traces pacifism and its proponents to show how many modern ideas, a united Europe, the United Nations, and the abolition of slavery - originated in non-violence movements.

The Big Oyster A Molluscular History of New York

The Big Oyster A Molluscular History of New York

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/04/2007

When Peter Minuit bought Manhattan for $24 in 1626 he showed his shrewdness by also buying the oyster beds off tiny, nearby Oyster Island, renamed Ellis Island in 1770. From the Minuit purchase until pollution finally destroyed the beds in the 1920s, New York was a city known for its oysters, especially in the late 1800s, when Europe and America enjoyed a decades-long oyster craze. In a dubious endorsement, William Makepeace Thackeray said that eating a New York oyster was like eating a baby. Travellers to New York were also keen to experience the famous New York oyster houses. While some were known for their elegance, due to a longstanding belief in the aphrodisiac quality of oysters, they were often associated with prostitution. In 1842, when the novelist Charles Dickens arrived in New York, he could not conceal his eagerness to find and experience the fabled oyster cellars of New York City's slums. The Big Oyster is the story of a city and of an international trade.Filled with cultural, social and culinary insight - as well as recipes, maps, drawings and photographs - this is history at its most engrossing, entertaining and delicious.

Big Oyster

Big Oyster

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: eBook Release Date: 17/10/2006

Before New York City was the Big Apple, it could have been called the Big Oyster. Now award-winning author Mark Kurlansky tells the remarkable story of New York by following the trajectory of one of its most fascinating inhabitantsthe oyster, whose influence on the great metropolis remains unparalleled.For centuries New York was famous for its oysters, which until the early 1900s played such a dominant a role in the citys economy, gastronomy, and ecology that the abundant bivalves were Gothams most celebrated export, a staple food for the wealthy, the poor, and tourists alike, and the primary natural defense against pollution for the citys congested waterways.Filled with cultural, historical, and culinary insightalong with historic recipes, maps, drawings, and photosthis dynamic narrative sweeps readers from the island hunting ground of the Lenape Indians to the death of the oyster beds and the rise of Americas environmentalist movement, from the oyster cellars of the rough-and-tumble Five Points slums to Manhattans Gilded Age dining chambers. Kurlansky brings characters vividly to life while recounting dramatic incidents that changed the course of New York history. Here are the stories behind Peter Stuyvesants peg leg and Robert Fultons Folly; the oyster merchant and pioneering African American leader Thomas Downing; the birth of the business lunch at Delmonicos; early feminist Fanny Fern, one of the highest-paid newspaper writers in the city; even Diamond Jim Brady, who we discover was not the gourmand of popular legend. With The Big Oyster, Mark Kurlansky serves up history at its most engrossing, entertaining, and delicious.From the Hardcover edition.

Boogaloo On 2nd Avenue

Boogaloo On 2nd Avenue

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/04/2006

It's the boom years of the 1980s, and life is closing in on Nathan Seltzer, who rarely travels outside his suddenly gentrifying Lower East Side neighbourhood. While he tries to decide whether he should cheat on his wife with Karoline, a German pastry chef whose parents may or may not have been Nazis, his father, Harry, is plotting with the 1960s boogaloo star Chow Mein Vega for the comeback of this dance craze. Meanwhile, a homicidal drug addict is terrorizing the neighbourhood. With its ensemble cast of unforgettable characters, Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue is a comedy of cultures about the old and the new, about Latinos, Jews, Sicilians and Germans. It's about struggling to hold onto life in a rapidly changing world, about food and sex and about how our lives are shaped by love and guilt.

1968 The Year that Rocked the World

1968 The Year that Rocked the World

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/02/2005

It was the year of sex and drugs and rock and roll; it was also the year of the Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy assassinations, the Prague Spring, the Chicago convention, the Tet offensive in Vietnam and the anti-war movement, the student rebellion that paralysed France, civil rights, the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union, and the birth of the women's movement. With 1968: The Year that Rocked the World, award-winning journalist Mark Kurlansky has written his Magnum opus - a cultural and political history of that world-changing year of social upheaval, when television's impact on global events first became apparent, and when simultaneously - in Paris, Prague, London, Berkeley, and all over the globe - uprisings spontaneously occurred. 1968 encompasses the worlds of youth and music, politics, war, economics, assassinations, riots, demonstrations and the media, and shows us how we got to where we are today.

Choice Cuts

Choice Cuts

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/05/2004

The winner of the Glenfiddich Best Food Book Award leads is on a dazzling culinary tour around the world and through history - from the fifth century BC to the present day. Presented by subject - including 'Food and Sex', 'Bread', 'Rants' and 'Dessert' - and illustrated with Kurlansky's own pen-and-ink drawings as well as classic photographs, this wonderful collection, like the very best meal, is varied, delicious and uniquely satisfying.

Salt

Salt

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/03/2003

Homer called it a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. As Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates here, salt has shaped civilisation from the beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of mankind. Wars have been fought over salt and, while salt taxes secured empires across Europe and Asia, they have also inspired revolution - Gandhi's salt march in 1930 began the overthrow of British rule in India. From the rural Sichuan province where the last home-made soya sauce is produced to the Cheshire brine springs that supplied salt around the globe, Mark Kurlansky has produced a kaleidoscope of world history, a multi-layered masterpiece that blends political, commercial, scientific, religious and culinary records into a rich and memorable tale.

The White Man In The Tree

The White Man In The Tree

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/12/2001

The White man in the Tree is a comedy of cultural misunderstanding set in the Caribbean, New York and Paris, a novella and eight stories about people who, because of their differences - between men and women, blacks and whites, Jews and Christians, rich and poor - misjudge each other. Celebrated for his non-fiction, Mark Kurlansky is equally at home with fiction: he has an ability to unmask our foibles and write about love with great wit and humour.Whether it is a sophisticated European filmmaker, an ambitious young black Haitian woman, a promising politician obsessed with women's feet, or a fish-out-of-water rabbi in search of a kosher chicken in Curacao, each of Kurlansky's characters engages us with impulses and interactions that are by turns comic, insightful and poignant. The White Man in the Tree is an affectionate portrait of a unique society, where Europe, America, Africa and Asia meet Latin America. Filled with surprises and delight as Kurlansky approaches each scene from a new and unexpected angle, The White Man in the Tree is a tender, wholly original and thoroughly entertaining fiction debut.

The White Man in the Tree

The White Man in the Tree

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2001

The Basque History Of The World

The Basque History Of The World

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/11/2000

The Basques are Europe's oldest people, their origins a mystery, their language related to no other on Earth, and even though few in population and from a remote and rugged corner of Spain and France, they have had a profound impact on the world. Whilst inward-looking, preserving their ancient language and customs, the Basques also struck out for new horizons, pioneers of whaling and cod fishing, leading the way in exploration of the Americas and Asia, were among the first capitalists and later led Southern Europe's industrial revolution. Mark Kurlansky, the author of the acclaimed Cod, blends human stories with economic, political, literary and culinary history to paint a fascinating picture of an intriguing people.

Cod

Cod

Author: Mark Kurlansky Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/02/1999

'Who would ever think that a book on cod would make a compulsive read? And yet this is precisely what Kurlansky has done' Express on Sunday The Cod. Wars have been fought over it, revolutions have been triggered by it, national diets have been based on it, economies and livelihoods have depended on it. To the millions it has sustained, it has been a treasure more precious that gold. This book spans 1,000 years and four continents. From the Vikings to Clarence Birdseye, Mark Kurlansky introduces the explorers, merchants, writers, chefs and fisherman, whose lives have been interwoven with this prolific fish. He chronicles the cod wars of the 16th and 20th centuries. He blends in recipes and lore from the Middle Ages to the present. In a story that brings world history and human passions into captivating focus, he shows how the most profitable fish in history is today faced with extinction.