Homer called it a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. As Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates here, salt has shaped civilisation from the beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of mankind. Wars have been fought over salt and, while salt taxes secured empires across Europe ...Read MoreHomer called it a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. As Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates here, salt has shaped civilisation from the beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of mankind. Wars have been fought over salt and, while salt taxes secured empires across Europe and Asia, they have also inspired revolution - Gandhi's salt march in 1930 began the overthrow of British rule in India. From the rural Sichuan province where the last home-made soya sauce is produced to the Cheshire brine springs that supplied salt around the globe, Mark Kurlansky has produced a kaleidoscope of world history, a multi-layered masterpiece that blends political, commercial, scientific, religious and culinary records into a rich and memorable tale.Read Less
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Although I was History major, my attention was never drawn to the importance of Salt on the everyday lives of the world's inhabitants, until I read this book.
I had no idea that so much of what we consider important history was influenced by the universal need for salt or salted products. and how much of that information was left out by my innumerable teachers, professors and textbooks.
If you love History, You'll love SALT.
Aug 22, 2013
NaCl rewites history
NaCl rewrites history. An amazing , factual account of how salt shaped the migration and development of civilization.
Feb 21, 2013
A fine, fine book. Cod, The Big Oyster, and finally this. Our histories, indeed, unfold on our bellies.
Jun 7, 2007
Salt - highly recommended
This should be a compulsory textbook in all schools all over the planet to give us all a perspective on the interaction between politics , economics and our survival. Particularly helpful to understand how oil is today's salt. Quite apart from its informative value it is an excellent read: a lively style, well-researched, but not jargon-ridden.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-11-19 Only Kurlansky, winner of the James Beard Award for Excellence in Food Writing for Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, could woo readers toward such an off-beat topic. Yet salt, Kurlansky asserts, has "shaped civilization." Although now taken for granted, these square crystals are not only of practical use, but over the ages have symbolized fertility (it is, after all, the root of the word "salacious") and lasting covenants, and have been used in magical charms. Called a "divine substance" by Homer, salt is an essential part of the human body, was one of the first international commodities and was often used as currency throughout the developing world. Kurlansky traces the history of salt's influences from prehistoric China and ancient Africa (in Egypt they made mummies using salt) to Europe (in 12th-century Provence, France, salt merchants built "a system of solar evaporation ponds") and the Americas, through chapters with intriguing titles like "A Discourse on Salt, Cadavers and Pungent Sauces." The book is populated with characters as diverse as frozen-food giant Clarence Birdseye; Gandhi, who broke the British salt law that forbade salt production in India because it outdid the British salt trade; and New York City's sturgeon king, Barney Greengrass. Throughout his engaging, well-researched history, Kurlansky sprinkles witty asides and amusing anecdotes. A piquant blend of the historic, political, commercial, scientific and culinary, the book is sure to entertain as well as educate. Pierre Laszlo's Salt: Grain of Life (Forecasts, Aug. 6) got to the finish line first but doesn't compare to this artful narrative. 15 recipes, 4o illus., 7 maps. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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