Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting, and the Discovery of the New World by Brian M. Fagan Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting, and the Discovery of the New World

What gave Christopher Columbus the confidence in 1492 to set out across the Atlantic Ocean? Fish on Friday tells the story of the discovery of America as a product of the long sweep of history: the spread of Christianity and the radical cultural changes it brought to Europe, the interaction of economic necessity with a changing climate, and generations of unknown fishermen

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    Wren

    Sep 02, 2011

    rated it
    liked it

     · 
    review of another edition

    There certainly is a heck of a lot of information about fish in this book, and most of it is very interesting. The author clearly knows his subject, I’m just not sure he knows what his point is. Sometimes it seems like he’s trying to prove that fisherman discovered the ‘New World’; if that’s what he was trying to do, he doesn’t succeed. I think this could have been a really good book if it just set out to demonstrate the importance of fisheries at various points in the development of Western soc

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    Steve

    I am a fan of Brian Fagan and am a supporter of his effort to act as interlocutor between the worlds of academe and the popular hunger for knowledge. However, this is the weakest of his books that I have read so far. He certainly has a lot of really interesting history in this book and a great many things that I did not know. On that basis, the content, I would give the book five stars.

    However, while Fagan’s prose is characteristically clear, the book suffers from a lackluster composition (for

    However, while Fagan’s prose is characteristically clear, the book suffers from a lackluster composition (for Fagan!) It did not seem that Fagan’s heart was truly in this book or conversely that he was not entirely sure of how to organize and think about this information. For instance, while the book strongly integrated the importance of Catholic practice regarding abstention from meat (most famously on Friday and during Lent and which forms the title of the book), somewhere near the last third of the book he gives up discussing the religious dimension (well, there is that Reformation thing) and focuses primarily on the Newfoundland and New England fisheries. Fish on Friday quietly drops out, and this kind of mostly unannounced leave left me unsatisfied. Moreover, didn’t a lot of Southern European countries remain Catholic and salted fish remained a staple well into the Twentieth Century? The Gloucester fishing schooners were still preparing salt cod well into the 20th century for American and European Catholics.

    A telling sign of the issues with the book’s composition is the lack of a concluding chapter. There is just a half page summary at the very end of the book, and this is plainly not sufficient (to me anyway). Fagan chose as an end point the rise to dominance of the port of Boston. However, as referenced above, Catholic Europe as well as the U.S.’s burgeoning Catholic population (e.g. New England Portuguese) continued to demand fish into the 20th century. What of that? In any case, even ending where Fagan did is defensible if he had chosen to at least discuss it in a concluding chapter, which need not be long, had he done so. His failure to “tie the strings together” left me with a dissatisfied feeling.

    Nevertheless, I am eager to read his new book on fishing (called, appropriately, FISHING) and the reviewed work here may be a sort of first effort at the topic, which is fine. The content alone makes it well worth reading and Fagan is a star popularizer (in the best sense of the word). This book is an important and vital read for anyone interested in the importance of fishing as industry and as cultural practice as well as fishing as a key instance of seafaring and the development of maritime technology.
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    Homer H Blass

    Jul 28, 2011

    rated it
    it was amazing

    The author shows how the growing demand for cheap and edible fish on a mass scale for the urban poor and the growing armies and navies of Europe perhaps was more important than spices; gold and silver in pushing European ships across the Atlantic and opening up “the age of exploration”.One bit of irony is that without the discovery and production of dried cod which provided a guaranteed minimum food supply for the sailors on transatlantic voyages; the transatlantic voyages to the Grand Banks of

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