By Mark Kurlansky
Homer referred to as salt a divine substance. Plato defined it as in particular pricey to the gods. at the present time we take salt without any consideration, a standard, low-cost substance that seasons nutrition or clears ice from roads, a note used casually in expressions ("salt of the earth," take it with a grain of salt") with no appreciating their deeper that means. in spite of the fact that, as Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates in his global- encompassing new publication, salt—the in basic terms rock we eat—has formed civilization from the very starting. Its tale is a glittering, frequently unbelievable a part of the historical past of mankind.
Until approximately a hundred years in the past, while smooth chemistry and geology published how frequent it's, salt used to be probably the most sought-after commodities, and no ask yourself, for with out it people and animals couldn't stay. Salt has frequently been thought of so worthwhile that it served as forex, and it truly is nonetheless exchanged as such in locations at the present time. call for for salt demonstrated the earliest exchange routes, throughout unknown oceans and the remotest of deserts: town of Jericho was once based nearly 10,000 years in the past as a salt buying and selling middle. as a result of its worthy, salt has provoked and financed a few wars, and been a strategic point in others, similar to the yankee Revolution and the Civil warfare. Salt taxes secured empires throughout Europe and Asia and feature additionally encouraged revolution (Gandhi's salt march in 1930 started the overthrow of British rule in India); certainly, salt has been imperative to the age-old debate in regards to the rights of presidency to tax and regulate economies.
The tale of salt encompasses fields as disparate as engineering, faith, and foodstuff, all of which Kurlansky richly explores. Few endeavors have encouraged extra ingenuity than salt making, from the typical gasoline furnaces of historic China to the drilling concepts that resulted in the age of petroleum, and salt sales have funded a few of the maximum public works in historical past, together with the Erie Canal, or even towns (Syracuse, New York). Salt's skill to maintain and to maintain lifestyles has made it a metaphorical image in all religions. simply as considerably, salt has formed the heritage of meals like cheese, sauerkraut, olives, and extra, and Kurlansky, an award-winning nutrition author, conveys how they've got in flip molded civilization and consuming conduct internationally.
Salt is veined with colourful characters, from Li Bing, the chinese language bureaucrat who outfitted the world's first dam in 250 BC, to Pattillo Higgins and Anthony Lucas who, ignoring the recommendation of geologists, drilled an east Texas salt dome in 1901 and came upon an oil reserve so huge it gave delivery to the age of petroleum. From the sinking salt cities of Cheshire in England to the distinguished salt mine on Avery Island in Louisiana; from the remotest islands within the Caribbean the place roads are made up of salt to rural Sichaun province, the place the final home-made soya sauce is made, Mark Kurlansky has produced a kaleidoscope of background, a multi-layered masterpiece that blends monetary, clinical, political, spiritual, and culinary documents right into a wealthy and noteworthy story.