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The Salt Roads How Fish Made a Culture

By: John Goodlad(Author)
272 pages, 16 plates with colour illustrations
The Salt Roads
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  • The Salt Roads ISBN: 9781780278285 Paperback Aug 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
  • The Salt Roads ISBN: 9781780277912 Hardback Sep 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
Selected version: £9.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

This is the extraordinary story of how salt fish from Shetland became one of the staple foods of Europe, powered an economic boom and inspired artists, writers and musicians.

It ranges from the wild waters of the North Atlantic, the ice-filled fjords of Greenland and the remote islands of Faroe to the dining tables of London's middle classes, the bacalao restaurants of Spain and the Jewish shtetls of Eastern Europe.

As well as following the historical thread and exploring how very different cultures were drawn together by the salt fish trade, John Goodlad meets those whose lives revolve around the industry in the twenty-first century and addresses today's pressing themes of sustainability, climate change and food choices.

Customer Reviews


John Goodlad is a Shetlander who works in the seafood industry. He was the voice of the Shetland fishing industry as CEO of the Shetland Fishermen's Association for many years before becoming a fish farmer. He now advises several national and international seafood organisations and companies. His previous book, The Cod Hunters, was shortlisted for the Maritime Foundation's Mountbatten Award for Best Maritime Book in 2020.

By: John Goodlad(Author)
272 pages, 16 plates with colour illustrations
Media reviews

"As bright and illuminating as the fish that are the subject of his writing, John Goodlad casts a sweeping eye over the North Atlantic fishing industry in the pages of this richly informative book"
– Donald S. Murray, author of The Guga Hunters

"In his fascinating account of the part played by [The Shetland Islands and the Faroes] in the harvesting of cod and herring from the North Atlantic, John Goodlad raises vital questions about the world's food supplies"
– David Abulafia, The Spectator

"Tells the extraordinary story of how salt fish from the isles became one of the staple foods on the Continent"
– Hans J Marter, Shetland News

"John Goodlad's approach to the story of salt fish and Shetland feels rather like a masterclass in how to make history approachable, accessible, readable and entertaining"
– Ken Lussey, Undiscovered Scotland

"The Salt Roads is a valuable reminder of a forgotten time [...] it should be required reading for anyone who still thinks of Shetland as a remote, marginal outpost"
The Herald

"The book takes the reader to the wild waters of the North Atlantic and tells the story of how over the centuries the Shetland fishing industry not only inspired and affected the islands' culture, but also shaped people far beyond its shores"
Dundee Courier

"This intriguing non-fiction title examines the economic boom of Shetland's salt fish trade"
Scots Magazine

"The Salt Roads is history, action on the high seas, personal memoir, folk tales and philology. It is an articulate expression of Shetland, which helps to explain how much the western islands can still learn from our can-do friends in the north"
– Roger Hutchinson, West Highland Free Press

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