Associated Press

The author who told us more than we ever thought there was to know about cod (“Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World”) and salt (“Salt: A World History”) is back with a more traditional biography.

“Birdseye” is a look at the life of inventor Clarence Birdseye, who died with more than 200 patents in his name. Best known for inventing a process of freezing that made it possible to “fresh freeze” everything from poultry to potatoes, Birdseye’s life was marked by insatiable curiosity and thirst for adventure. Those are the traits that author Mark Kurlansky celebrates.

The best parts of the book turn back the clock and make you feel what it was like before every American household had a freezer. The stumbling blocks Birdseye had to overcome are hard to imagine from the modern perspective.

Kurlansky has given us an informative, very readable book.


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