Salt: A World History By Mark Kurlansky

SaltInsisting readers all over the world , across the centuries and across different cultures Kurlansky takes a simple everyday item and demonstrates how it has affected and influenced wars, cultures as well as religions, governments societies, economies, and food. An entertaining, informative read.

Homer described salt as a godlike substance. Plato declared it to be particularly dear to gods. Nowadays, we consider salt to be a common commodity, it is a basic, affordable substance that spruces up food items or removes ice from roads. It is a term frequently used in a variety of phrases (“salt of the earth,”” to take it with the grains of salt”) without recognizing the more profound significance. 

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But it is true that, according to Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates in his new, world-spanning book, salt, the only rock we eat has been a major influence on civilization since its beginning. Its tale is a glittering and often surprising aspect of humanity’s history.

For a long time, until around century ago before modern geochemistry and chemistry revealed just how widespread it was and how abundant it is, salt was among the most sought-after items, which is not surprising, since without it, both animals and humans would not exist. Salt is often thought of as such a valuable commodity that it has been used as a form of currency, and remains so in some places. 

Salt demand was the catalyst for some of the first trade routes across oceans that were not known and the most remote deserts The city of Jericho was founded over 10,000 years ago , as an important salt trading centre. Due to its value salt has caused and funded wars and has been a key factor in other wars, like during the American Revolution and the Civil War. 

Salt taxes helped establish the empires of Europe as well as Asia and also led to the rise of revolution (Gandhi’s salt marches in 1930 ushered in the end of British rule in India) In fact salt has played a central role to the long-running debate on the power of the government to tax and regulate economics.

Salt’s story spans different fields like engineering food, religion, and engineering that Kurlansky enthrals. Few ventures have inspired more creativity than salt-making from the gas-fired natural gas furnaces that were used in old China and the drilling methods which led to the era of petroleum and the revenues from salt have financed some of the most significant public works in the history of mankind such as the Erie Canal, and even cities (Syracuse, New York). 

Salt’s capacity to protect and keep life going is what has turned it into a symbol image in all religions. Equally salt has played a role in shaping the history of various foods such as sauerkraut, cheese olives, sauerkraut, and many more and Kurlansky who is an award-winning food writer, explains the ways in which they have created eating habits and civilizations all over the world.

Salt is dotted with vibrant characters, ranging from Li Bing, the Chinese bureaucrat who created the first dam in 250 BC in the year 250 BC, up to Pattillo Higgins, and Anthony Lucas who, ignoring the advice of geologists made a hole in the east Texas salt dome the year 1901 which led to the discovery of an oil reservoir that was so vast it brought birth to the period of petroleum. 

The sinking towns that are salt in Cheshire and Cheshire in England to the famous salt mine located on Avery Island in Louisiana; from the most remote islands of the Caribbean in which roads are constructed out of salt to the rural Sichaun province in which the last homemade soya sauce was made. Mark Kurlansky has produced a collection of historical events and a multi-layered work which blends scientific, economic and political, as well as religious and culinary information into a rich and unforgettable story.

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Product details

Listening LengthThe time is 13 hours, 48 mins
AuthorMark Kurlansky
NarratorScott Brick
Whispersync for VoiceReady Release DateFebruary 20, 2003
PublisherPhoenix Books
Program TypeAudiobook
Alasad Online Quran Tutor

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