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Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food (Thorndike Nonfiction) Hardcover – Large Print, January 5, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Large Print, January 5, 2011
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--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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About the Author

Paul Greenberg is a writer with over 20 years of experience reporting on fish and ocean issues. His numerous opinion pieces, essays and articles on fishing and aquaculture have been published in The New York Times Opinion Page, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, The Boston Globe Sunday Ideas Section, and The New England Fisherman. His 2005 New York Times Magazine article on Chilean Sea Bass received the International Association of Culinary Professionals' "Bert Greene Award" for excellence in food writing. Four Fish is his first non-fiction book. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From AudioFile

Paul Greenberg examines aspects of the four most consumed fish in the world: salmon, tuna, bass, and cod. His stories about visiting rivers during spawns, observing fish-processing plants, and traveling to fish farms worldwide will give listeners an experience more involving than just hearing a lecture. Narrator Christopher Lane uses every opportunity to show off his prodigious linguistic talent as he draws upon a global archive of eclectic accents for his French, Greek, Norwegian, Italian, and Eskimo speakers. Lane's nuances make the characters sound authentic without being comedic. While performing the author's words, Lane adds a natural expression that works well to maintain listeners' attention as they soak up a strong environmental message. J.A.H. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Thorndike Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (December 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410432602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410432605
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,806,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Terry Sunday TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love seafood. However, I live in arid West Texas, a place where good seafood is nonexistent, for both geographic and cultural reasons. What passes for a seafood restaurant here is (shudder) Red Lobster, and the fishmongers at local grocery stores just give you a blank stare when you ask about wild-caught Copper River salmon. Despite these difficulties, I am very (perhaps perversely) interested in the natural history of the seafood that is impossible for me to get, and Paul Greenberg's "Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food" is appetizer, main dish and dessert for curious pescetarians.

The four fish of the title are salmon, bass, tuna and cod, which are today the world's dominant wild-caught and farmed fish. Mr. Greenberg devotes a long chapter to each of these finned culinary staples. He ties their stories together by showing how each represents one discrete step that humanity has taken, sometimes over hundreds or thousands of years, to increase and control the tasty, nutritious largess of the sea. Salmon, for example, depend on clean, cold, free-flowing freshwater rivers, and was likely the first fish that early northern-hemisphere humans exploited. Sea bass, which inhabit shallow waters close to shore, were the catch of choice when Europeans first learned how to fish in the ocean. Cod live further out, off the continental shelves many miles offshore, and were the first fish subject to industrial-scale fishing by mammoth factory ships. Tuna live yet further out, in the deep oceans between the continents, and represent the last food fish that has not yet been "domesticated."

Mr.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mankind has often looked upon the ocean as a bountiful place capable of providing a near-endless supply of food. We even sort of romanticize those who brave the elements, from Moby Dick and yesterday's whalers to today's "Deadliest Catch." And for reasons of abundance or convenience or perhaps just taste, we've settled upon four main fish which serve as our principal "seafood": salmon, bass, cod, and tuna. But, as fishing has become increasingly commercial and efficient, we're in danger of destroying the wild populations of these fish and the ecosystems they depend upon and that are dependent upon them.

Paul Greenburg has written an excellent and surprisingly readable book about our relationship with the sea and its bounty. He does this not from a solely environmentalist perspective, but also as a fisherman and one who enjoys eating fish. He discusses the advantages of wild vs. farmed fish - the destructive practices of each which imperil future stocks. With farming, in particular, the four are very poor candidates for captive rearing (although the lessons learned so far have been essential and can be applied elsewhere). He also explores potential replacements against a checklist of qualities that should ensure greater success (the same qualities that have been proven in terrestrial farming).

I was *very* surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I've never been a huge eater of seafood, although I've recently begun ordering it more often when we eat out. But I most appreciated the scientific aspect of the book that seeks to find the best possible balance, moving beyond the simple red or green seafood cards to maximizing a sustainable harvest while protecting resources. He acknowledges there are no easy answers, but leans a little too heavily on regulation as if illegal poaching wouldn't increase with such measures. But overall, an important read for all those who are concerned about the future of the oceans and the last wild food.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Paul Greenberg's "Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food" is an insightful, entertaining, and compelling natural history and social commentary on the current state of commercial fishing, fish farming, recreational fishing, and worldwide fisheries management. The vast scope of this work is simplified by focusing on the four most popular eating fish: salmon, tuna, bass, and cod. In the process, the reader gains a solid overview of the topic. The book is packed with fascinating technical, scientific, social and historical details, but at no time did I feel overwhelmed...in fact, just the opposite: I could hardly put the book down. I was stunned to discover that "Four Fish" is a page-tuner!

The last time I found a natural history that was so compelling, it was Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma." While I don't think this book will become another worldwide nonfiction bestseller like that one did, I would not be surprised to see it turned into a feature National Geographic Channel documentary. After all, the author is extremely engaging and a writer who frequently writes for that magazine.

The author's writing is personal, direct, honest, and easy-going. Reading the book felt like sitting down with a brilliant, enthusiastic buddy and listening to him tell you about the subject that commands his greatest passion. The book is full of delightful stories based on fascinating people who Greenberg interviewed and observed during the course of researching this book. Much of the scientific and technical information is passed on to the reader through artful, true-to-life storytelling. His stories unfold naturally and often overflow with humor and wit. There is a comfortable balance between the light and serious section.
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