January 30th 2009
Salt. A world history. Mark Kurlanski.2002. ISBN 0142001619. I wish they had taught history this way when I was chained to my high school seat. Instead of itching to get at math, i would have paid attention. The author (who has a delightful easy to read writing style) cut his teeth writing about the Basques and also cod. This one is a real keeper. Yes it has some recipes (very old) and lots of geography covered (since everyone needs/uses salt). But the interlinking between the rise and fall of civilizations that followed the fortunes of the salt industry, is simply fascinating. Great airplane /holiday book – reads like a fiction novel and it just makes so much sense. The gold nuggets for me were the insights into how govts, families and cartes manipluate these markets and countries. One thing I believe is that cultures and people do not change.
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