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Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man by…
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Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Mark Kurlansky (Author)

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1918106,884 (3.55)8
From the author who gave us "Cod," "Salt," and other informative bestsellers, the first biography of Clarence Birdseye, the eccentric genius inventor whose fast-freezing process revolutionized the food industry and American agriculture.
Member:diamondbackguy
Title:Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man
Authors:Mark Kurlansky (Author)
Info:Anchor (2013), 288 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:
Tags:bio, his, sci

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Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man by Mark Kurlansky (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I am a sucker for accessible non-fiction.

My top 3 writers being Simon Winchester, Jared Diamond and Mark Kurlansky.

If I was to make an air travel analogy, then Simon Winchester is first class, Jared Diamond is business class and Mark Kurlansky is economy. That is said not by way of judgement but by way of illustration.

For clarification Bill Bryson is bus travel.

What I adore about Mark Kurlansky's books is that they give context, and lots of it. So, in this book you get to find out a bit about Birdseye and a lot about what was going on around him so you can truly appreciate, not the greatness of what he did, but the impact of it, at the time, on normal people and all of us who came later.

By way of comparative illustration:
Mark Kurlansky tells us how have freezers full of edible food in our supermarkets today thanks to Clarence Birdseye.
Jared Diamond would be telling you about the historical and cultural development that got him there.
Simon Winchester would tell you not only the size of his underpants but also how ofter he washed them.
Bill Bryson would be on a bus to nowhere while his researchers wrote his latest book.

If you are interested in how the world we live in (as people) got here, then books like this are priceless
for turning the mundane invisible (and amazing) features of our culture into gripping yarns of human achievement that are not based on wealth, class or privilege.

If you haven't read Salt or Cod by this author then you should be sent back to Kansas. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
Another audiobook review.

I was expecting a more traditional biography than what was presented. Birdseye seems to be the jumping off point to many of the tangents in the book. Although the tangents present useful information and a historical background, it distracts from the biography to the point of being filler material. Much of the book, in fact, seems to be a historical background with Clarence Birdseye making an appearance. For example, there is a great deal of information on Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever because Birdseye was part of the government study of the disease.

Birdseye, himself seems to be quite a character. He was a naturalist, which meant the shooting, stuffing, and eating as many and as many types of animals he could find. His desire to eat odd animals (field mice and starlings are two I recall) reminded me of a carnivorous Euell Gibbons parody. Birdseye was curious and that curiosity lead him through life. He lived in the American Southwest, Labrador, and South America looking at ways to improve industry.

There are many fallacies of Birdseye's life brought out in the book. He did not invent frozen food. Frozen food was around before he was born, but it was low quality and far worse than canned food. Birdseye did make frozen food commercially viable and changed the way America bought food. That is the real story of Birdseye. His other inventions that made him more money are also covered. He was a curious man who saw something and immediately asked questions and began thinking on how it could be improved. It's a good story, but the audiobook did seem choppy. I am not sure if this was because of the reader or the writing. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
A fascinating little book about a fascinating little man.

Clarence "Bob" Birdseye was a tinkerer, and invented many little things - some of which are still in use. And his most important invention led to the frozen food we know today.

Mark Kurlansky is a master at teasing out great stories from odd ideas, like [b:Salt: A World History|2715|Salt A World History|Mark Kurlansky|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1414608893s/2715.jpg|73206] (one of my favorite books of all time) and [b:Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World|64895|Cod A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World|Mark Kurlansky|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356452461s/64895.jpg|62987]. This book is full of interesting facts and a sweet story of what must've been a very likable man.

[a:Mark Kurlansky|1847|Mark Kurlansky|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1271210730p2/1847.jpg] does it again!

More reviews at my WordPress site, Ralphsbooks. ( )
  ralphz | Jul 25, 2017 |
Birdseye: The Adventure of a Curious Man by Mark Kurlansky

★★★

Want to read the biography of a man who reinvented the frozen food industry? Clarence Birdseye would invent a technique of flash freezing that is still used today. Without him, your frozen food aisles at your grocery store would be much different. Ok….so this book isn’t for everyone but it was interesting! This man invented many products, patenting many products but flash freezing would be his main triumph. But even before the inventions was an adventurous man who traveled the world.

Mark Kurlansky has written many books on the history of subjects such as salt, cod, and oysters so it was no surprise he tackled this eccentric man next. Unfortunately I felt that this book fell a little short. I don’t think this was because of the author but just because there doesn’t seem to be enough information on Birdseye. It was short biography that swept through his younger life since mostly all we know about that period was he was born and he traveled (most info was glimpsed from his journal). I feel like the author tried to make for these short-comings by making lengthy info on other people in Birdseye’s life and while that was interesting, it took away from the main attraction. I enjoyed the information there was on the man and his inventions and time but it makes sense why a biography has never been done on him before, there just isn’t enough information to properly done one in my opinion.
( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
I picked this up on a whim; I had no idea Bob Birdseye was even a person. I've eaten Birdseye frozen vegetables as long as I can remember, but it was only through this book that I learned that Birdseye was basically the start of frozen foods as a preferred option. Previously, frozen foods were pretty much the bottom of the barrel - bad food prepared poorly which was then mushy and bland when reheated. To me, though, the most fascinating part was Birdseye's love for the outdoors, and the (to my modern eyes) foreign ways people lived in harsh climates all those years ago. And I admit I got a kick out of Birdseye's propensity for eating every creature he comes across. I don't know many people who would think "oh hey, the frozen food guy, let's read about his life," but I'm glad I gave it a shot. ( )
  melydia | Oct 9, 2015 |
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From the author who gave us "Cod," "Salt," and other informative bestsellers, the first biography of Clarence Birdseye, the eccentric genius inventor whose fast-freezing process revolutionized the food industry and American agriculture.

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