MEET THE AUTHOR: RICHARD KING “The Devil’s Cormorant: A Natural History”

Date: April 16, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
33 Summer St
Bath, Maine 04530

In collaboration with Maine Maritime Museum, Patten Free Library will host Richard King, author of The Devil’s Cormorant: A Natural History, on Wednesday, April 16 at 6:30pm. Library Journal named King’s book one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2013, calling it “expert, absorbing, and illuminating.” (LJ 9/1/13)

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.

“Richard King has a rare knack for seeing the large in the little, showing how a rather obscure bird actually looms large in our lives. This book is his gift to us.”—Carl Safina, author of Song for the Blue Ocean and The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World

“Before I read this marvelous, idiosyncratic book, I might have said I wasn't interested in cormorants. Now—I'll never not be interested.”—Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and Voyage of the Narwhal
RICHARD J. KING is senior lecturer in literature of the sea with the Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport. He is the author of Lobster.