The number of books that may be suitable for nonfiction aficionados to read on a beach is not extensive compared to works of fiction material. But Cod: A Biography of the Fish ThatChanged the World (1997) is certainly an exception. The work, by Canadian author Mark Kurlansky, is an engaging, vivid volume that chronicles the immense impact and influence the cod fishing industry has had on the human race.
Kurlansky masterfully traces the relationship of the cod industry to such historical eras and events as medieval Christianity, international conflicts between England and Germany, slavery, the molasses trade and even the dismantling of the British Empire. It is not a lengthy read and the accurate scientific information is conveyed in a highly entertaining style.
Review by Peter at the Vernon Branch