A World History

Paperback - 2002
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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.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : Vintage Canada, 2002
Edition: Vintage Canada edition
ISBN: 9780676975352
Characteristics: xii, 484 pages :,illustrations, maps, portraits ;,21 cm.


From the critics

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Nov 03, 2018

Did not finish-boring

Nov 23, 2016

Good book but
Why the west when he talks about history of Africa, talk about invaders not the local ?
we don't want accept the fact that Africa has it's own history.

Aug 21, 2016

this was a fascinating look into how a commodity could impact and even drive history. Gives you an idea what the history of petroleum might be years from now. I read this book shortly after it was released (and shortly after I started working for a salt company that owns the largest salt mine in the world )

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 23, 2014

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 human kind. Populated by colourful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Kurlansky has created an entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece.

May 19, 2013

The author's "Cod" is an equally good read. A fascinating story about Portugal's long-time monopoly.

Aug 08, 2012

If you are going to write a history of a food product and its effect on the history itself, then this should be a primer.

Great book. I don't know about the factual inaccuracies another commenter mentions, but from what research I've done, I have yet to find any.

Sep 13, 2011

Adds an understanding to commerce and war.The story of Gandhi is so simple but shows how life might be better if more simple and logical.

Mar 15, 2011

This is the most interesting book about salt I have ever read.

Feb 23, 2011

Too many factual inaccuracies. Reads as if the author simply took everything he's ever heard about salt and tossed it together into one book without actually checking the validity of them.

Dec 09, 2009

Great history and facts. Although the conclusion left something to be desired.

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