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The Big Oyster

History on the Half Shell

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Audio Download published by Random House Digital (Random House Digital)

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About This Book
“Part treatise, part miscellany, unfailingly entertaining.”
–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.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Magnificent . . . a towering accomplishment.”
Associated Press
Show less
“Part treatise, part miscellany, unfailingly entertaining.”
–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.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Magnificent . . . a towering accomplishment.”
Associated Press
Product Details
Audio Download
Published: July 15, 2012
Publisher: Random House Digital
Imprint: Random House Digital
ISBN: 9781415931943
Other books byMark Kurlansky
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  • To anyone who is familiar with New Yorkers, it should not be surprising to learn that they were once famous for eating their food live.

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  • Certainly anyone who could have seen that would have understood that the great and unnatural city was built at the site of a natural wonder, and that the lowly oysters working at the...

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