The Devil's Cormorant: A Natural History

Univ. of New Hampshire: Univ. Pr. of New England. Oct. 2013. 360p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781611682250. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781611684742. NAT HIST
King (Maritime Studies Program, Williams Coll. & Mystic Seaport; Lobster) demonstrates his multidimensional expertise on matters relating to the sea in this excellent exploration of the world of cormorants. That these seabirds (40 species of them) are found worldwide is key to the book's organization, as each chapter moves to another part of the globe, with regular returns to various U.S. maritime locations. Cormorants have been widely reviled for centuries because, among other factors, they present competition to anglers and commercial fisherman (in the Far East, fishermen have harnessed cormorants' skills for their own fishing). King explains cormorants' habits, their biology, and their place in human history, folklore, and literature, including human-bird conflicts across the centuries. He works such figures as Aristotle, John Milton (in Paradise Lost, Satan disguise himself as a cormorant), Captain James Cook, Charles Darwin, and Kurt Vonnegut into his absorbing narrative.
VERDICT A work that is thorough and authoritative as well as charming, this title is highly recommended for those interested in the historical, cultural, and literary relationship between humans and the natural world.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing