Birdseye:  The Adventures of a Curious Man
Doubleday, May 2012


A biography of Clarence Birdseye, the inventor of frozen food and one of the last of the eccentric inventors who solved problems with odd scraps in his basement.

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The Eastern Stars:  How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macorís.
Riverhead Books 2010


A portrait of the town of San Pedro de Macorís, a small impoverished community in the sugar growing region of the Dominican Republic that has so far produced 79 Major League baseball players with many minor leaguers waiting in the wings. It is a baseball story but also reveals the unusual history and rich culture of the Dominican Republic and the impact of baseball, which produces millionaires and can change the life of an entire family, on this struggling Caribbean town.
In a starred review Publishers Weekly wrote: "As he has done so masterfully in his earlier bestselling books on cod, salt, and oysters, Kurlan...
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The Food of A Younger Land:  A portrait of American food–before the national highway system, before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation’s food was seasonal, regional, and traditional–from the lost WPA files.
Riverhead Books
Hardback, 2009
Paperback, 2010


An anthology with introduction and annotations of the unpublished manuscripts from the last WPA writers project, an exploration of food and eating in America in 1940. This broad assortment of raw, unpublished, 1940 manuscripts, including works by Nelson Algren, Eudora Welty and Zora Neale Hurston reveal a very different America with a different cuisine and a different society. Illustrated with linocuts by the author.

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Hardcover, US
The Last Fish Tale:  The Fate of the Atlantic and survival in Gloucester, America’s Oldest Port and Most Original Town.
Paperback, Riverhead Books 2009.


A portrait of Gloucester Massachusetts a rare surviving fishing port among coastal towns increasingly turning to tourism, this is an exploration of the rich culture of commercial fishing, the rare society it builds, and the struggle to continue in the 21st century.  A Boston Globe Best seller, the Globe wrote, In The Last Fish Tale Mark Kurlansky strikes a poignant chord.  Beautifully written.”  The Financial Times wrote “An engrossing multilayered portrait of a fishing community that can be read for pure pleasure as well as being a campaigning plea for the environment.” Illustrated with pen and ink line drawings by the author. Read More >>

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Non-Violence:  Twenty-five Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea.
Forward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Hardback, Modern Library, 2006.


Non-Violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea.
Forward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Paperback, Modern Library, 2008.


Winner of the 2007 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Economist called it “an erudite and eloquent book.” In this timely, original and controversial narrative, nonviolence is discussed, not as a mere state of mind but as a distinct technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars. This sweeping but conci...
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The Big Oyster:  History on the Half Shell.
Ballantine 2006.


It is almost forgotten that for all of its history New York was famous for its urban oyster beds until they were destroyed by pollution in the early twentieth century. This is the history of the city told through its most famous natural resource. The New York Times wrote “Part treatise, part miscellany, unfailingly entertaining.” The Los Angles Times wrote, “Suffused with [Kurlansky’s] pleasure in exploring the city across ground that hasn’t already been covered with other writers’ footprints.” A national bestseller, the Associated Press called it “a towering accomplishment.”

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1968:  The Year That Rocked the World.
Ballantine 2004.


The famous year looked at from a global perspective. Why did so many diverse societies from the U.S. to Mexico, to Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Japan have such similar movements rising up spontaneously and doing the same thing at the exact same time. A New York Times and national Best seller translated into twenty-five languages. It won the American Library Association Notable Book of the Year Award. The Chicago Tribune wrote "Splendid... evocative... No one before Kurlansky has managed to evoke so rich a set of experiences in so many different places–and to keep the story humming.”

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Choice Cuts:  A Savory Selection of Food Writing from Around the World and Throughout History.
Hardback, Ballantine, 2002.
Paperback, Penguin Books, 2004.


Just as the subtitle says a collection of food writing that includes work by Brillat-Savarin, Escoffier, Ludwig Bemelmans, A. J. Liebling, Herodotus, Plutarch, W. H. Auden, Charles Dickens, Irving Berlin, James Beard, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Edna Ferber, Emile Zola, Wole Soyinka, Shalom Aleichem, Cato, the Talmud, Margaret Mead, and many others. Saveur Magazine wrote “The most outrageously broad, gregarious food-writing anthology.” Illustrated by the author with pen and brush drawings.

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Paperback, US
Salt:  A World History.
Hardback, Walker, 2002.
Paperback 2003.


Until about 100 years ago, salt, the only rock we eat, was one of the world’s most sought after commodities. Wars were fought over it, other wars were financed with it, colonies were settled to get it. It secured empires and spurred revolutions. Then, fairly suddenly, it lost its value. A cautionary tale of world history. Anthony Bourdain called it “a must have for any serious cook or foodie.” The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Kurlansky continues to prove himself remarkably adept at taking a most unlikely candidate and telling its tale with epic grandeur.” A New York Times and international best seller, Salt has been... Read More >>

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The Basque History of the World
Hardback, Walker, 1999.
Paperback, Penguin, 2001.


A history of the oldest and least understood European culture, their history, food, culture, and their ancient language that is not related to any other known language. The New York Times called it “an unorthodox approach, mixing history with anecdotes, poems and recipes.” an international best seller, translated into numerous languages. Illustrated by the author.

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Cod:  A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World.
Hardback, Walker, 1997.
Paperback, Penguin, 1998.


A history of the 1000 years in which cod was the most important catch in the Atlantic, how wars were fought over it, how it spurred revolutions, the important role it played in American, Caribbean, African, and European history.  Winner of the James Beard Award, the Glenfiddich food writing award, the New York Public Library Best Books of the Year award.  A New York Times and International best seller, translated into more than twenty languages. Historian David McCullough wrote, “Every once in a while a writer of particular skill takes afresh, seemingly improbable idea and turns out a book of pure delight. Such is the case of Mark Kurlansky and the codfish.” Read More >>

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Paperback, US
A Chosen Few:  The Resurrection of European Jewry
Hardback, Addison-Wesley, 1995.
Reissued in Paperback, with a new introduction and, discussion between the author and Philip Gourevitch, Ballantine, 2002.


What was it like to return home with most everyone you cared about murder and rebuild a life among the people who either cooperated with the killers or did nothing to stop them?  Why did these Jews go back and how did they rebuild Jewish life.  Starting at the close of World War II and continuing through the fall of the Soviet Union this is the story of families and communities in Paris, Antwerp, Amsterdam, East and West Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest, and Prague.  The Washington Post wrote “In this valuable book, Kurlansky brings alive the missing years of European Jewry.”

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A Continent of Islands:  Searching for the Caribbean Destiny.
Hardback, Addison-Wesley. 1992.
Paperback available from Perseus.


After seven years covering the Caribbean for the Chicago Tribune, this is a study of the Caribbean, its history, culture, and society. It explores everything from pollution , to the politic of hurricanes, to religion, to race relations, to music. From Cuba to Trinidad. After almost two decades it remains the necessary book for journalists, tourists, anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the region. About this title Washington Post Book World wrote: "An engaging book by an excellent journalist. Kirkus Review wrote, "A penetrating analysis of the social, political, sexual, and cultural worlds that exist behind the four-color Caribbean travel posters." Read More >>

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