Pages: 336
Subject: Nature, History
Imprint: Oneworld
Illustrations: 8-page colour plate section


A Fish, the Earth, and the History of a Common Fate

Mark Kurlansky

In his new global food history, the internationally bestselling author says if we can save the salmon, we can save the world
9781786078520 (1 Oct 2020)
RRP £18.99

The Book

Most of what we do on land ends up impacting the ocean, but never is that clearer than when we look at salmon. Centuries of our greatest assaults on nature, from overfishing to dams, from hatcheries to fish farms, from industrial pollution to the ravages of climate change, can be seen in their harrowing yet awe-inspiring life cycle.

From the Pacific to the Atlantic, through Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, Japan and Siberia, Mark Kurlansky traces the history of the world through his fish-eye lens, laying bare our misdirected attempts to manipulate salmon for our own benefit. Attempts that have had a devastating impact on both fish and earth.

Now, the only way to save salmon is to save the planet, and the only way to save the planet may be to save the salmon.

Additional Information

Subject Nature, History
Pages 336
Imprint Oneworld
Illustrations 8-page colour plate section


About the Author

Mark Kurlansky is the author of international bestsellers Cod, Salt, 1968, Food of a Younger Land and The Basque History of the World. He has received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Bon Appetit's Food Writer of the Year Award, the James Beard Award, and the Glenfiddich Award. His most recent book was Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas. He lives in New York. @codlansky


'It is a beautiful book, spangled throughout with stunning color photographs of a lovely fish, of pristine streams and landscapes. It's a coffee-table book shrunk to shelf-size, but the images are pertinent and illuminating, and there is nothing throwaway about the text that surrounds them or about the recipes for salmon dishes from all over the world and past centuries.'

- Wall Street Journal

'What Kurlansky did for Cod, he now does for Salmon — a book not just for fishermen, but for everyone who cares about our world. A blistering account of  "civilised" man's blind obsession with bending Nature and its resources to his will.'

- Geoffrey Palmer OBE

'Mark Kurlansky's book is an epic, environmental tragedy, with the salmon at its centre as the abused hero… one of the great strengths of Kurlanksy's book is the way he links the fish's plight to so many major environmental concerns… Kurlanksy is at his best when illuminating the lives of people who have been disregarded in the name of progress.'

- Spectator

'More than an environmental book about overfishing, the text includes a comprehensive natural and cultural history about how the salmon impacts the world… A fascinating mosaic of history and science... The real beauty of the book is in its subtle transformation of a species often thought of in terms of food into one that needs to be considered with care and even championed.'

- Foreword Reviews

‘[A] handsomely illustrated work of natural history and environmental advocacy... In championing a critically important part of the natural world, Kurlansky sounds an urgent alarm that commands our attention.'

- Kirkus

'If there was ever a totem species for the planet, it's the noble salmon - back and forth between ocean and stream, between salt and fresh water, these creatures have nurtured our imagination as surely as our bodies. This book does them justice!'

- Bill McKibben

‘An extraordinary little book, unputdownable, written in the most lyrical, flowing style which paints vivid pictures and, at the same time, punches into place hard facts that stop you dead in your tracks.'

- Express on Sunday on Cod

‘Almost unreasonably fascinating.'

- The Times on Milk!