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Salt: A World History

af Mark Kurlansky

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
5,0871341,546 (3.75)197
This book takes a look at an ordinary substance--salt, the only rock humans eat--and how it has shaped civilization from the very beginning.
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» Se også 197 omtaler

Engelsk (132)  Hollandsk (1)  Alle sprog (133)
Viser 1-5 af 133 (næste | vis alle)
Author Kurlansky's famous for his microhistory [Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World], so one knows what is coming when selecting one of his books: Lists, lists, lists; lots of vocabulary lessons and smatterings of cultural anthropology. What better time, I ask in all seriousness, than the Plague Lockdown to learn vital (seriously, salt = life) information in a readable, well-researched book? In the vein of [Simon Winchester] and my doted-on [Rose George], dig into Reality with a learnèd guide while enjoying the process. ( )
  richardderus | Jan 21, 2021 |
I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into when I picked up Salt, but what I got was quite literally a world history of salt. At its core, this book asserts that “since the beginning of civilization, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities in human history.” I can’t say I’ve ever put that much though into salt beyond its use as a condiment.

Salt is not meant to be a sexy book, but it captured the complexities of salt with more appeal than I expected. I would assume that most people think about salt for its culinary uses, and Kurlansky pays a lot of attention to how different cultures used salt for maintaining food supplies with limited technologies. By the end of the book, though, I was tired of reading about salted meat and fish. Salt is good for more than just cooking, though, so Kurlanksy gave examples of various cultural or local practices that made salt significant – these included burial practices and transportation uses.

There is a significant focus on methods of gathering salt, from early solar evaporation of brine to more modern drilling. While not the most provocative of topics, Kurlanksy uses the development in production methods to underscore how salt was used to prop up socioeconomic inequality across every society examined. These tied into the larger picture of how salt was used as a financial commodity. I found this aspect of the book to be most compelling as it spun salt through some of the most significant world events of recorded history. Control of salt sources was often as political as economic, and Kurlansky highlighted salt’s role in colonialism in Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean. Understanding how societies developed or collapsed as a result of salt abundance or scarcity was a welcome surprise, as was the look at how societies were shaped by the exploitation of just one natural resource.

While Salt is both interesting and informative, it’s also long. I suspect the same depth and quality of information could have been achieved with more intentional editing. I also found the recipes dispensable. While these illustrated techniques for how various societies used salt and or recipes for which salt was a significant ingredient, they also felt cumbersome and redundant after a few chapters.

I found Salt to be an enjoyable, if not lengthy, read. It’s best enjoyed in spurts, as I often found I needed a break after a few chapters to cleanse my reading palate. Nonetheless, it’s a different lens through which to look at ancient and modern society and how the control of one resource was integral to every culture, for better or for worse. ( )
  lenabean84 | Jan 10, 2021 |
I learned a lot about salt from this book, but most of the time it felt like facts and interesting stories were thrown together without a cohesive structure. ( )
  ladyars | Dec 31, 2020 |
A fascinating history of the world as seen through its use, consumption, and acquisition of salt. The author really does make an effort to explore the whole world, too, not keeping it American or Euro-centric. The span of history goes from preserved ancient Celts found in salt mines to Romans and their garum to the modern era of Morton's salt and lox. ( )
  ladycato | Dec 31, 2020 |
In the end, I'm probably not interested enough in the preparation of food to have really enjoyed this book. However, if you enjoy it, I think this book would be wonderful! As it is, there was a lot of interesting tidbits spread throughout the book - salt as money, in medicine, in science, engineering etc - some wonderful and some merely amusing. For me, there was just a lot of detail about food and recipes in between - however, given the subject of the book I shouldn't really be surprised. ( )
  rendier | Dec 20, 2020 |
Viser 1-5 af 133 (næste | vis alle)
Who would have thought that musings on an edible rock could run to 450 breathless pages?

Let me hasten to add that Salt turns out to be far from boring. With infectious enthusiasm, Kurlansky leads the reader on a 5,000-year sodium chloride odyssey through China, India, Egypt, Japan, Morocco, Israel, Africa, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, England, Scandinavia, France and the US, highlighting the multifarious ways in which this unassuming chemical compound has profoundly influenced people's lives.
tilføjet af mysterymax | RedigerThe Guardian, Chris Lavers (Feb 15, 2002)
 

» Tilføj andre forfattere (6 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Mark Kurlanskyprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Bekker, Jos denOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Brick, ScottFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
del Rey, María JoséOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Klausner, LisaFotografmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Liefting, SteefOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.

—Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776
All our invention and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life, and in stultifying human life into a material force.

—Karl Marx, speech, 1856
Dreams are not so different from deeds as some may think. All the deeds of men are only dreams at first. And in the end, their deeds dissolve into dreams.

—Theodore Herzel, Old New Land, 1902
A country is never as poor as when it seems filled with riches.

—Laozi quoted in the
Yan tie lun,
A Discourse on Salt and Iron, 81 B.C.
At the time when Pope Pius VII had to leave Rome, which had been conquered by revolutionary French, the committee of the Chamber of Commerce in London was considering the herring fishery. One member of the committee observed that, since the Pope had been forced to leave Rome, Italy was probably going to become a Prtestant country. "Heaven help us," cried another member. "What," responded the first, "would you be upset to see the number of good Protestants increase?" "No," the other answered," it isn't that, but suppose there are no more Catholics, what shall we do with our herring?"

—Alexander Dumas, Le grand dictionnaire de cuisine, 1873
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To my parents, Roslyn Solomon and Philip Mendel Kurlansky, who taught me to love books and music

and

to Talia Feiga, who opened worlds while she slept in the crook of my arm.
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Introduction

I bought the rock in Spanish Catalonia, in the rundown hillside mining town of Cardonia.
Chapter One
A Mandate of Salt

Once I stood on the bank of a rice paddy in rural Sichuan Province, and a lean and aging Chinese peasant, wearing a faded forty-year-old blue jacked issued by the Mao government in the early years of the Revolution, stood knee deep in water and apropos of absolutely nothing shouted defiantly at me, "We Chinese invented many things!"
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Do not combine Salt: A History with The Story of Salt. The Story of Salt is a much shorter, illustrated version of Salt aimed at children.
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This book takes a look at an ordinary substance--salt, the only rock humans eat--and how it has shaped civilization from the very beginning.

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