Kurlansky, Mark Salt: A World History

ISBN 13: 9780142001615

Salt: A World History

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9780142001615: Salt: A World History

From the award-winning and bestselling author of Cod comes the dramatic, human story of a simple substance, an element almost as vital as water, that has created fortunes, provoked revolutions, directed economies and enlivened our recipes.

Salt is common, easy to obtain and inexpensive. It is the stuff of kitchens and cooking. Yet trade routes were established, alliances built and empires secured – all for something that filled the oceans, bubbled up from springs, formed crusts in lake beds, and thickly veined a large part of the Earth’s rock fairly close to the surface. From pre-history until just a century ago – when the mysteries of salt were revealed by modern chemistry and geology – no one knew that salt was virtually everywhere. Accordingly, it was one of the most sought-after commodities in human history. Even today, salt is a major industry. Canada, Kurlansky tells us, is the world’s sixth largest salt producer, with salt works in Ontario playing a major role in satisfying the Americans’ insatiable demand.

As he did in his highly acclaimed Cod, Mark Kurlansky once again illuminates the big picture by focusing on one seemingly modest detail. In the process, the world is revealed as never before.


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Review:

Very early in his book, Kurlansky refers to an essay by the psychoanalyst Ernest Jones on man's obsession with salt. Whether or not man, in general, has an obsession with salt may be debatable. That one man in particular--Mark Kurlansky--has, is made more than clear by this unusual and enjoyable book. He seems to have set out to put between the covers of one volume every single fact about the history of man's relationship with salt that he could unearth. How the Ancient Greeks salted their tuna. Why the Mayans used salt as a medicine in healing rituals. The story of the great salt merchants of China. The French tax on salt and how its injustice contributed to the French Revolution. Why Gandhi chose salt as a symbol of the Raj's oppression. Kurlansky ranges through the centuries and across the world to tell the story of salt. As a prize-winning food writer he is particularly good on the ways salt has shaped our eating habits and once again, as in his earlier book Cod, he seasons his text with recipes he has come across in his research. In the course of 450 pages the reader may occasionally feel that here is a book that tells one more about salt than one wants to know but, for most of those pages, Kurlansky's enthusiasm, knowledge and style create an engrossing tale.-- Nick Rennison

Review:

"Refreshing and invigorating, full of fascinating fact" ( Independent on Sunday)

"This is an extraordinary little book, unputdownable, written in the most lyrical, flowing style which paints vivid pictures and, at the same time, punches into place hard facts that stop you dead in your tracks. A compulsive read" (Sir Roy Strong Express on Sunday)

"Crisply and elegantly written - piques the appetite and sharpens the senses" ( Sunday Telegraph)

"A rich stew about every salt-influenced concoction and creation, from the first sausages and cured hams and fish sauces to the invention of parmesan, tomato ketchup and Tabasco sauce" ( Financial Times)

"An entertainingly anecdotal and lovingly partisan history." ( Independent)

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 196 x 127 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the Bestselling Author of Cod and The Basque History of the World In his fifth work of nonfiction, Mark Kurlansky 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. 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, Salt by Mark Kurlansky is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142001615

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 196 x 127 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the Bestselling Author of Cod and The Basque History of the World In his fifth work of nonfiction, Mark Kurlansky 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. 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, Salt by Mark Kurlansky is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142001615

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