Book and Author: Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
The book is a historical non-fiction that describes how salt has intertwined itself into becoming an important commodity all around the world. The book discusses how since the discovery of salt, people’s beliefs and behavior has changed. Not only this, but salt has enhanced the development of our overall civilization.
Not only has salt generated a reliance from individuals and groups of people, but the overall enhancement and development of history, culture and civilization has also depended on the discovery and continuous finding of salt.
Explain the Theme:
“Africans have maintained a tradition of a wide variety of different salts for different dishes, but they always treat any salt as a valuable substance that must not be wasted.” (Chapter 2, Fish, Fowl and Pharaohs. Page 35)
– Specifically describing the use and dependence of salt in Ancient Egypt. The directly states that salt is a commodity that cannot be wasted showing that the people depend on it very much for a variety of different things.
“The history of the Americas is one of constant warfare over salt. Whoever controlled salt was in power. This was true before Europeans arrived, and it continued to be the reality until after the American Civil War.” (Chapter 12, American Salt Wars. Page 147)
– Reflects the importance of salt to society, so much so that it was physically fought over on large scales.
I believe that these two quotes do a good job at representing the importance of salt to two distinctly different cultures. However, although the two cultures were different and at two different periods of time in history, the quotes help suggest that salt still played an important role nonetheless.
Should you read this book?
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
1. The book is very interesting because it is able to tie something so simple, like salt, to much bigger concepts and theories regarding the development of civilization and culture;
2. It describes many different things about different cultures all around the world, this makes for a very good learning experience, especially learning about different values and eating habits in different places.
3. The book does not have a very clear story-board of structure, making the read somewhat confusing at times.
Recommendation? I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading historical non-fiction, especially those who like to learn a lot about cultures in different areas of the world.