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In this monumental new book, award-winning author Mark Kurlansky has written his most ambitious work to date: a singular and ultimately definitive look at a pivotal moment in history. With1968, Mark Kurlansky brings to teeming life the cultural and political history of that world-changing year of social upheaval. People think of it as the year of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Yet it was also the year of the Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy assassinations; the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; Prague Spring; the antiwar movement and the Tet Offensive; Black Power; the generation gap, avant-garde theater, the birth of the women's movement, and the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union. From New York, Miami, Berkeley, and Chicago to Paris, Prague, Rome, Berlin, Warsaw, Tokyo, and Mexico City, spontaneous uprisings occurred simultaneously around the globe. Everything was disrupted. In the Middle East, Yasir Arafat's guerrilla organization rose to prominence . . . both the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Biennale were forced to shut down by protesters . . . the Kentucky Derby winner was stripped of the crown for drug use . . . the Olympics were a disaster, with the Mexican government having massacred hundreds of students protesting police brutality there . . . and the Miss America pageant was stormed by feminists carrying banners that introduced to the television-watching public the phrase "women's liberation. " Kurlansky shows how the coming of live television made 1968 the first global year. It was the year that an amazed world watched the first live telecast from outer space, and that TV news expanded to half an hour. For the first time, Americans watched that day's battle-the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive-on the evening news. Television also shocked the world with seventeen minutes of police clubbing demonstrators at the Chicago convention, live film of unarmed students facing Soviet tanks in Czechoslovakia, and a war of starvation in Biafra. The impact was huge, not only on the antiwar movement, but also on the medium itself. The fact that one now needed television to make things happen was a cultural revelation with enormous consequences. In many ways, this momentous year led us to where we are today. Whether through youth and music, politics and war, economics and the media, Mark Kurlansky shows how, in1968,twelve volatile months transformed who we are as a people. But above all, he gives a new understanding to the underlying causes of the unique historical phenomenon that was the year 1968. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written-full of telling anecdotes, penetrating analysis, and the author's trademark incisive wit--1968 is the most important book yet of Kurlansky's noteworthy career.
"They are a mythical people, almost an imagined people," writes Mark Kurlansky. Settled in a corner of France and Spain in a land marked on no maps except their own, the Basques are a nation without a country, whose ancient and dramatic story illuminates Europe's own saga. Where did they come from? Signs of their civilization exist well before the arrival of the Romans in 218 B.C., and their culture appears to predate all others in Europe. Their mysterious and forbidden tongue, Euskera, is related to no other language on Earth. The Basques have stubbornly defended their unique culture against the Celts, the Romans, the Visigoths and Moors, the kings of Spain and France, Napoleon, Franco, the modern Spanish state, and the European Union.Yet as much as their origins are obscure, the Basques' contributions to world history have been clear and remarkable. Early explorers, they made fortunes whaling before the year 1000 and became the premier cod fishermen in Europe after discovering Canada's Grand Banks. Juan Sebastian de Elcano, a Basque, was the first man to circumnavigate the globe in 1522. Their influence has also been felt in religion as founders of the Jesuits in 1534, and in business, as leaders of the Industrial Revolution in southern Europe.Mark Kurlanky's passion for the Basque people, and his exuberant eye for detail, shine throughout this fascinating history. Like his acclaimed Cod, it blends human, economic, political, literary and culinary history into a rich and heroic tale.
When Peter Minuit bought Manhattan for $24 in 1626 - his first New York real estate killing - 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 centuries of pollution finally destroyed the beds in the 1920s, New York was a city known for its oysters: the 'Blue Points,' still produced by the Long Island town of the same name; the 'Rockaways' and 'East Rivers'; 'Sounds' from Staten Island; several Manhattan varieties, and even those from a celebrated area by what is now LaGuardia Airport. For centuries New York was world famous as an oyster centre, especially in the late 1800s, when Europe and America enjoyed a decades-long oyster craze. In Europe New York oysters were famous for both their size and durability. In a dubious endorsement, William Makepeace Thackeray said that eating a New York oyster was like eating a baby. When travellers visited New York, they not only wanted to eat the Coral oysters, they wanted to experience the famous New York oyster houses. While some houses were known for their elegance, the infamous slums such as Five-Points were notoriously disreputable. 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 history of the city as told through its celebrated bivalve. It is a gastronomic history revealing four centuries of culinary evolution and food trends in a city that has always been a gastronomic trendsetter. But it is also an economic history, examining the enormous impact of transportation innovations - the Erie Canal, the railroad, and clipper ship - that completely changed urban living and food and also accounted for the growth of a thriving international oyster trade.
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.
Mark Kurlansky is one of our most erudite and entertaining food writers: the bestselling author of Salt and Cod, winner of the prestigious James Beard Award for Excellence in Food Writing. Now in this delightful collection he serves up a true smorgasbord of ?choice cuts? by the world?s most discerning gourmets and gourmands through the ages?from Plato on the art of cooking to Louis Prima at the pizzeria. Choice Cuts offers more than two hundred mouth-watering selections, including Brillat-Savarin on chocolate; Waverley Root on truffles; M. F. K. Fish on gingerbread; Pablo Neruda on French fries; Alexandre Dumas on coffee; and a vast variety by Escoffier, Elizabeth David, A. J. Liebling, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Dickens, Balzac, Chekhov, Orwell, and Alice B. Toklas, among others. Filled throughout with recipes, menus, classic photographs, and Kurlansky?s own original drawings, Choice Cuts is a must-have for any serious lover of food.
A POWERFUL, DEEPLY MOVING NARRATIVE OF HOPE REBORN IN THE SHADOW OF DESPAIR. Fifty years after it was bombed to rubble, Berlin is once again a city in which Jews gather for the Passover seder. Paris and Antwerp have recently emerged as important new centers of Jewish culture. Small but proud Jewish communities are revitalizing the ancient centers of Budapest, Prague, and Amsterdam. These brave, determined Jewish men and women have chosen to settle-or remain-in Europe after the devastation of the Holocaust, but they have paid a price. Among the unexpected dangers, they have had to cope with an alarming resurgence of Nazism in Europe, the spread of Arab terrorism, and the impact of the Jewish state on European life.Delving into the intimate stories of European Jews from all walks of life, Kurlansky weaves together a vivid tapestry of individuals sustaining their traditions, and flourishing, in the shadow of history. An inspiring story of a tenacious people who have rebuilt their lives in the face of incomprehensible horror, A Chosen Few is a testament to cultural survival and a celebration of the deep bonds that endure between Jews and European civilization."Consistently absorbing . . . A Chosen Few investigates the relatively uncharted territory of an encouraging phenomenon."-Los Angeles Times. "I can think of no book that portrays with such intelligence, historical understanding, and journalistic flair what life has been like for Jews determined to build lives in Europe."-SUSAN MIRON.
Wars have been fought over it, revolutions have been spurred by it, national diets have been based on it, economies have depended on it, and the settlement of North America was driven by it. Cod, it turns out, is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic, and it is the only reason they could. What did the Vikings eat in icy Greenland and on the five expeditions to America recorded in the Icelandic sagas? Cod -- frozen and dried in the frosty air, then broken into pieces and eaten like hardtack. What was the staple of the medieval diet? Cod again, sold salted by the Basques, an enigmatic people with a mysterious, unlimited supply of cod.Cod is a charming tour of history with all its economic forces laid bare and a fish story embellished with great gastronomic detail. It is also a tragic tale of environmental failure, of depleted fishing stocks where once the cod's numbers were legendary. In this deceptively whimsical biography of a fish, Mark Kurlansky brings a thousand years of human civilization into captivating focus. [This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 9-10 at http://www.corestandards.org.]
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. InHank GreenbergMark 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. "
Will most of the major fisheries of the world be exhausted by 2048, as has been claimed? Have the number of large fish in the ocean decreased by 90 per cent over the past 50 years, as has been asserted by a respected scientist? Are 60 per cent of the fish species studied by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation either fully exploited or depleted, as one of their reports attests? 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. In his most important book yet, Mark Kurlansky - the celebrated author of Cod, Salt and The Big Oyster - explores the fate of our oceans and the decline of our most ancient coastal enterprise. The Last Fish Tale sends up a timely distress flare but one which brilliantly illuminates a colourful, exuberant and poignant landscape, from Newlyn in Cornwall to Gloucester in Massachusetts - a fishing village first settled by Englishmen in the early 1600s. The result is a cultural, economic, environmental and culinary bouillabaisse - the most compelling fish tale of our time.
In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind. Nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, he asserts, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power. Nonviolence is a sweeping yet concise history that moves from ancient Hindu times to present-day conflicts raging in the Middle East and elsewhere. Kurlansky also brings into focus just why nonviolence is a "dangerous" idea, and asks such provocative questions as: Is there such a thing as a "just war"? Could nonviolence have worked against even the most evil regimes in history?Kurlansky draws from history twenty-five provocative lessons on the subject that we can use to effect change today. He shows how, time and again, violence is used to suppress nonviolence and its practitioners-Gandhi and Martin Luther King, for example; that the stated deterrence value of standing national armies and huge weapons arsenals is, at best, negligible; and, encouragingly, that much of the hard work necessary to begin a movement to end war is already complete. It simply needs to be embraced and accelerated.Engaging, scholarly, and brilliantly reasoned, Nonviolence is a work that compels readers to look at history in an entirely new way. This is not just a manifesto for our times but a trailblazing book whose time has come.From the Hardcover edition.
Can a song change a nation? In 1964, Marvin Gaye, record producer William "Mickey" Stevenson, and Motown songwriter Ivy Jo Hunter wrote "Dancing in the Street. " The song was recorded at Motown's Hitsville USA Studio by Martha and the Vandellas, with lead singer Martha Reeves arranging her own vocals. Released on July 31, the song was supposed to be an upbeat dance recording--a precursor to disco, and a song about the joyousness of dance. But events overtook it, and the song became one of the icons of American pop culture. The Beatles had landed in the U. S. in early 1964. By the summer, the sixties were in full swing. The summer of 1964 was the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, the beginning of the Vietnam War, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and the lead-up to a dramatic election. As the country grew more radicalized in those few months, "Dancing in the Street" gained currency as an activist anthem. The song took on new meanings, multiple meanings, for many different groups that were all changing as the country changed. Told by the writer who is legendary for finding the big story in unlikely places,Ready for a Brand New Beatchronicles that extraordinary summer of 1964 and showcases the momentous role that a simple song about dancing played in history.
The book shows both the scientific and historical ways that salt has shaped the world.
From the award-winning and bestselling author of Cod comes the dramatic, human story of a simple substance, an element almost as vital as water, that has created fortunes, provoked revolutions, directed economies and enlivened our recipes.Salt is common, easy to obtain and inexpensive. It is the stuff of kitchens and cooking. Yet trade routes were established, alliances built and empires secured - all for something that filled the oceans, bubbled up from springs, formed crusts in lake beds, and thickly veined a large part of the Earth's rock fairly close to the surface. From pre-history until just a century ago - when the mysteries of salt were revealed by modern chemistry and geology - no one knew that salt was virtually everywhere. Accordingly, it was one of the most sought-after commodities in human history. Even today, salt is a major industry. Canada, Kurlansky tells us, is the world's sixth largest salt producer, with salt works in Ontario playing a major role in satisfying the Americans' insatiable demand.As he did in his highly acclaimed Cod, Mark Kurlansky once again illuminates the big picture by focusing on one seemingly modest detail. In the process, the world is revealed as never before.From the Hardcover edition.
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