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Award-winning author Mark Kurlansky tells the remarkable story of New York by following the trajectory of one of its most fascinating inhabitants–the oyster.

For centuries New York was famous for this particular shellfish, which until the early 1900s played such a dominant a role in the city’s life that the abundant bivalves were Gotham’s most celebrated export, a staple food for all classes, and a natural filtration system for the city’s congested waterways.

Filled with cultural, historical, and culinary insight–along with historic recipes, maps, drawings, and photos–this dynamic narrative sweeps readers from the seventeenth-century founding of New York to the death of its oyster beds and the rise of America’s environmentalist movement, from the oyster cellars of the rough-and-tumble Five Points slums to Manhattan’s Gilded Age dining chambers. With The Big Oyster, Mark Kurlansky serves up history at its most engrossing, entertaining, and delicious. (from the publisher)

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345476395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345476395