In American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery From Sea to Shining Sea (Sterling Epicure, $50), Barton Seaver — the author of For Cod and Country and Two If by Sea and a former chef — turns his attention to this catalog of 500 species, from abalone to wreckfish, in this encyclopedia-by-way-of-coffee-table book.

Lose yourself in the historical photos of catches and trawlers (Ernest Hemingway with a marlin) and ads (“Whale meat: This is meat — not fish, economical and excellent”).

There are no recipes — no room — but it offers that “read it like a novel” deliciousness as Seaver discusses what could have been dry material, but isn’t: the anatomy of a fish, our evolving tastes in fish varieties and historical views of fishing over the centuries. And more.

— Lee Svitak Dean

Star Tribune

(Minneapolis)