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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

Critic Reviews

"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)

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Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

More than SALT

Salt (Unabridged) delivers much more than a history of salt through the is a history of mankind and our development seen from a unique perspective. I found this to be one of the most informative histories of Man, Culture, Myth, and Technology that I have read. Extremely readable (and listenable), conversational and compelling.

59 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Thomas
  • Plano, TX, USA
  • 03-26-03


This is one of those books that just opens your eyes to something you never knew. Fascinating stories about the importance of SALT. It does not stop there. Each voyage into the importance of Salt at a particular time and place is followed by a narrative of many other important events that surrounded his original story. From Gandi to Washington. Brigham Young to the Chinese. Europe and the Vikings. Historically speaking, Salt has been as important as oil is today. Mark Kurlansky does a wonderful job of telling the story and keeping the reader entertained. There are only a few minor moments when the material gets a little dry "no pun intended", but he does not get very repetitive as I thought might be the case.
He did a great job of research and I can tell from references, a lot of work in putting this book together.

41 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Edmund
  • waukegan, IL, USA
  • 03-15-03

Worth it's weight in Salt.

A wonderfully engrossing book! At first I thought it was a joke. (Which is why I got it...I mean come on a 13-hour book on salt!) But I could not stop listening to it. Be warned that this is not a "background book? You need to kind of pay attention at all times, as allot can happen in a few sentences. I really enjoyed the background on cultures and foods.

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Who Knew?!

This is my favourite audible book that I have and I have about 30. The reader was excellent, clear and easy to understand. I was shocked and delighted by the content. I learned so incredibly much about history and the drive of history based around a single necessary resource. Did you know that a major reason that the South struggled in the Civil War was a lack of salt resources? or that the Great Wall of China was built entirely using the taxes from iron and salt? I felt that the author gave just the right amount of time to each topic and that his shifts from topic to topic were strategically placed to keep the reader interested and aware of when and where the stories were from. I loved it!

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Markus
  • Knoxville, TN USA
  • 04-27-04

Informative and Entertaining

If you enjoy books (and TV programs) like the "Connections" series by James Burke or are a Discovery Channel junkie, you'll enjoy this book. It is truly a cultural history of salt - possibly the most important chemical after water in human history. Highly recommended.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Rambles a bit, but interesting

Although my wife didn't listen to this book, she learned to hate it... while I was listening to it and for weeks after, I bombarded her with all the fascinating trivia about salt that I picked up. This was mostly at meals, of course. The book is packed with interesting facts, but I wish the author had organized them better. Sometimes he takes a chronological approach, but then switches gears to a geographical approach, and then on to a culinary approach and then back to chronological. The narration could have been a little crisper. It's a light listen overall, but worth your time.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • A
  • 01-20-04

A palatable approach to history

What more can I say about Mark Kurlansky's economic history of the world that the previous reviewers have not already said? Stop reading these reviews already and add the book to your shopping cart. You won't be sorry that you did.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 04-15-13

Commodity History

The book is part cookbook, trivia, history on one topic Salt. The finding, producing, use, transporting, taxing and wars over salt. Shows the history of man's migration and civilization in a new and fascinating light. I found it very interesting about how Ghandi used the British imposed Salt Laws, and his disobedience of them to gain freedom for his country. The book goes from ancient times to modern and covers the world. Wish there had been more on Central and South America. I am a history buff so this was right down my alley, Scott Brick as usual, did a great job narrating the book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A fine seasoning

If you want to know why the French government salted the bodies of suicide victims; why the English built a fourteen foot thick, ten foot high, thicket in India around salt works; or why salt has changed the course of history, politics, war, marriage and sex, then you must listen to "Salt." Truly one of the most fascinating books I have ever encountered. You'll never look at the little girl with the umbrella again in the same way. Also, absolutely first class reading by the narrator.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kurt
  • Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
  • 06-28-07

Maybe a good read but not a great listen

The history of Salt is fascinating no doubt and often presented in an interesting way within this book. However, audiobooks have one great disadvantage to books that are read, you can't skip sections that aren't always meant to be read. There are far too many recipes in this book that are difficult to scan through as you probably would if reading. I don't really want to hear all the details of how to make traditional German pickled cabbage and when I fast forward through these often lengthy recipes I always seem to miss things that I actually do want to hear.

Otherwise, a really interesting approach to history.

31 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • chemclimber
  • 10-17-17

good facts but a bit of a list

bit of a slog towards the end but some very interesting facts along the way

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • TerrierTops
  • 03-19-17

A good book to dip into

Interesting topic and historical vignettes. The authors passion and research clearly come through. My primary critique is there is a lot of repetition of information and a bit of a feeling that there is little to say in 13 hours. The book was well read and works best in short sessions to avoid the sameness of the chapters.