Book review - The Devil's Cormorant

You can sail most anywhere in the world and near shore have cormorants flying below your keel.  Here is a fascinating new book by Richard J. King, senior lecturer in literature of the sea with the Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport.  He is no stranger to schooners, having sailed aboard Harvey Gamage, Spirit of Massachusetts, Westward, and Corwith Cramer.  He did a transatlantic on Brilliant and sailed his own 28 ft Pearson Triton solo transatlantic in 2007.

University of New Hampshire Press

Overview from the publisher of The Devil’s Cormorant

"Behold the cormorant: silent, still, cruciform, and brooding; flashing, soaring, quick as a snake. Evolution has crafted the only creature on Earth that can migrate the length of a continent, dive and hunt deep underwater, perch comfortably on a branch or a wire, walk on land, climb up cliff faces, feed on thousands of different species, and live beside both fresh and salt water in a vast global range of temperatures and altitudes, often in close proximity to man. Long a symbol of gluttony, greed, bad luck, and evil, the cormorant has led a troubled existence in human history, myth, and literature. The birds have been prized as a source of mineral wealth in Peru, hunted to extinction in the Arctic, trained by the Japanese to catch fish, demonized by Milton in Paradise Lost, and reviled, despised, and exterminated by sport and commercial fishermen from Israel to Indianapolis, Toronto to Tierra del Fuego. In The Devil's Cormorant, Richard King takes us back in time and around the world to show us the history, nature, ecology, and economy of the world's most misunderstood waterfowl."

A great book to have at home or aboard.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Here's more from Mystic Seaport.  The book is available at the Seaport's online store__

 Al Bezanson