Salt A World History Author:Mark Kurlansky Mark Kurlansky, the bestselling author of Cod and The Basque History of the World, here turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind... more ». A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions. Populated by colorful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Kurlansky's kaleidoscopic history is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece.« less
Truly all that can be said of salt is written in these pages, however, that said it was very interesting and did hold my interest. I did learn many trivia points concerning other historical points and facts of items one would not readily attribute to salt. I would recommend reading this as a fill in while reading another book, it can be a bit much.
Fascinating journey through world history. You will be amazed at the importance of salt's role in world civilization. We think of it today as merely a seasoning, but its preservative and disinfectant qualities made it indispensable in days gone by. Well written.
This book is full of interesting historical notes on the culinary and other uses of salt....along with the impact of salt on the economic and social tides of many countries. The author jumps around a bit in time period and some segments of the book felt like short research papers stuck into the middle of the book. If you are interested in geography, science, culinary arts and history, you will likely enjoy this.
This was a thoroughly informative book on salt and its impact on world history. I learned many new things including the fact that the word stem "-wich" as in Norwich means salt works and that there's a rock salt mine 1,200 feet below Detroit.
Who would have thought an author could make the story of humble salt, something everyone eats every day, interesting? Well, Mark Kurlansky tells a fascinating story of the most common preservative in the world and how it traveled the world. One thing I learned is that salt was used as a way to preserve bodies in olden times.
The Celts, like the Chinese emperors, based their economies on iron and salt. They traversed by water, to carry the heavy items around to their trading partners.
I thought the part about the Basques and the Vikings to be fascinating reading. I had no idea they even interacted with each other. Another thumbnail sketch I thought fascinating was about anchovies and salt. I doubt I've ever eaten an anchovy but learned they have a long and illustrious history in the Mediterranean.
Another juicy bit is that any British town ending with 'wich' means salt was produced there at one time. Towns were created near where salt could be collected.
During the Revolutionary War, I was amazed to hear that the American colonies released up to 10 men from military service if they were working in a salt production company in their county. That is because there was a shortage of salt; the British tried to keep salt away from the colonists as a method of getting the colonists to capitulate.
This book meanders through the ages and countries of the world with fascinating factoids and thumbnail sketches. A few of my favorites were the changing story of the Dead Sea, Mahatma Gandhi and how he broke the salt law, Birdseye and how he brought frozen foods to consumers. He also talks about how adding iodine to salt has caused problems for poorer countries and less-advanced producers of salt. This book shows how salt has had a profound influence on man and civilizations for eons. Fascinating reading.