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Salt: A World History | [Mark Kurlansky]

Salt: A World History

So much of our human body is made up of salt that we'd be dead without it. The fine balance of nature, the trade of salt as a currency of many nations and empires, the theme of a popular Shakespearean play...Salt is best selling author Mark Kurlansky's story of the only rock we eat.
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Publisher's Summary

So much of our human body is made up of salt that we'd be dead without it. The fine balance of nature, the trade of salt as a currency of many nations and empires, the theme of a popular Shakespearean play...Salt is best selling author Mark Kurlansky's story of the only rock we eat.

From its single origin, to the other discoveries made because of it, fascinating tales of salt and the people who have been involved with it through the ages are interwoven here. Fifteen recipes are included that will meet with every taste. Mark Kurlansky has produced a kaleidoscope of history, a multi-layered masterpiece that blends economic, scientific, political, religious, and culinary records into a rich and memorable tale.

Enjoy Mark Kurlansky's books? Listen to an interview with the author on To the Best of Our Knowlege.

©2002 Mark Kurlansky; (P)2002 New Millenium Audio, All Rights Reserved

What the Critics Say

"A piquant blend of the historic, political, commercial, scientific and culinary, the book is sure to entertain as well as educate." (Publishers Weekly)
"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1059 )
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4.1 (529 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Scott Kingston, WA, United States 09-21-10
    Scott Kingston, WA, United States 09-21-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can you say Salt in Chinese?"

    That's OK, neither can the narrator.

    I learned several new tidbits from this book. Especially interesting was the taxation of salt across cultures and time. The multi cultural approach is a strength of the book.

    Too bad the narrator, who does a good job with western names and places, slaughters the Chinese. If they can learn German, French and Arab names, why can't they learn a few basic Chinese names.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Whit 08-31-10
    Whit 08-31-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    9
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    "2.5 if there was one"

    This is a fascinating subject that is sadly dulled down by both the author and the narrator. I've been listening to it while cooking and it's been interesting. I confess, though, I listen to it to fall asleep and it's equally effective there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathy Hartland, WI, United States 03-21-09
    Cathy Hartland, WI, United States 03-21-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This book is worth its weight in salt."

    Its not just good reading, its of a slice of history of cooking.
    Combination of what salt is worth and how salt
    changes the way you look at food. Anyone wanting to be a chief, or like myself, loves cooking and history its a must. Also If you just want to track how salt effects everyting from money to wars and how it gained its importance even relating to medicinem its great,totally delightful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry 03-06-09
    Jerry 03-06-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "It's better than you think"

    Although the subject sounds pretty boring, the book is actually very interesting and covers a lot of different aspects of humans and history. I had heard it once before from the library, and liked it so well, I got my own copy here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bertil MaarssenNetherlands 11-08-06
    Bertil MaarssenNetherlands 11-08-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "To0 boring to be true"

    I have read/listen to many books on my iPod but I really could not get through these 12+ hrs on salt. There is an incredible amount of detail on the history of salt, but who cares?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Martin Half Moon Bay, Calif 09-29-06
    Kathleen Martin Half Moon Bay, Calif 09-29-06 Member Since 2008

    druidess

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Salt"

    Been listening to recorded books for over 15 years and have told many friends that Scott Brick could read me the phone book and I'd enjoy it. 'Salt' was interesting but was made fascinating by the talents of Brick. I am anxious to start both 'The Company' and "Alexander Hamilton' just to hear that slightly arrogant, always expressive voice. When I chose books, I search for his latest first. Keep him going!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-04-05 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "Needs some editing"

    This would be a good book to read, and skip the recipes. It would also be a good book to abridge. The premise is sound, the narration is good and there are many interesting parts. Unfortunately, there are too many digressions into real trivia, especially the recipes. One can take only so many detailed descriptions of herring salting options in 18th century Lithuania. Just when you think you can't take any more recipes, he starts another. In an audio format its hard to "flip ahead" to skip them. I had to give up before the end of part one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Bloomington, MN, USA 02-10-05
    Rick Bloomington, MN, USA 02-10-05
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    "Salt is fascinating"

    The book Salt is a time-tested way to present the history of the world, i.e. pick a ubiquitous item, and use it as the common thread to trace every aspect of human history. The same historical literary formula would work as well by writing about gold, fabric, or even bricks. Great book, great history, even if a bit repetitive about the importance of salt to fish preservation. Highly recommended as a literary device for understanding our connections to all cultures. Be prepared to enjoy almost pure history.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Armstrong Tulsa, Ok 05-20-04
    Terry Armstrong Tulsa, Ok 05-20-04 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So much salt it made me thirsty..."

    Wow! I never imagined there could be so much written about salt! Which shows my ignorance of the importance it has played in our history. Overall the book was good but be prepared for many details that will demand your attention to get through...specifically the detailed recipes for salted fish and other things scattered throughout the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Mechanicsburg, PA, USA 10-21-03
    James Mechanicsburg, PA, USA 10-21-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Drags a bit in places"

    This is one of the rare books that might be a better listen in an unabridged version. It's quite interesting in places, but SOOOO exhaustive in scope that I was bored in other places. However, I now truly appreciate the monumental role that salt has played in world history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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