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Salt: A World History Paperback – January 28, 2003
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"Kurlansky finds the world in a grain of salt...fascination and surprise regularly erupt from the detail." —The New York Times Book Review
This is terrific food writing; like fleur de sel, something scarce and to be savored." —San Francisco Chronicle
"Kurlansky continues to prove himself remarkably adept at taking a most unlikely candidate and telling its tale with epic grandeur. " —Los Angeles Times Book Review
"If you are drawn to history and curious about the origins of foods, allow Mark Kurlansky to take you on an incredible journey through the centuries by way of salt." —The Baltimore Sun
"Kurlansky does a masterful job of expanding the reader's horizons....This book of minutely researched data and history can literally make the mouth water." —The Boston Globe
About the Author
Mark Kurlansky is the author of many books including Cod, The Basque History of the World, 1968, and The Big Oyster. His newest book is Birdseye.
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If you like wide-ranging and well-written books such as those written by Jared Diamond, you'll love this book. I've enjoyed reading, especially history all my life, and this book is the reason why: I learned a lot I didn't know.
I certainly never realized that salt has been critical to human existence for thousands of years. From prehistoric times, the easily obtainable salt supply was far more limited than now, and salt sources were often the basis of human settlements word-wide throughout history until only recently.
The book is never tedious or boring. Reading the book showed me (once again) that a well-written history book can be a fascinating enjoyment.
This is an excellent story from a top flight writer.
Salt has long played a political role--being used to pay workers or soldiers (salary), provided. free to citizens, or taxed as a reliable source of government revenue (but where the temptation to abuse the taxing power may also. arise, leading to citizen uprisings).
Throughout the book recipes that use salt in one way or another, and taken from historical. sources, are reproduced. With the modern use of refrigerators and freezers salt is less used to preserve food, but continues to be an important raw material in many industries.
The modern world takes salt for granted. But for most of mankind's history, salt cultivation and transport was a massive enterprise across every civilization. This is a fascinating, illuminating read, very well written and generously illustrated. It's one of those books you never forget. Highly recommended.