Salt by Mark Kurlansky


Rate: 3/5


Medium: Audiobook


Overview (Spoilers Abound): After an intriguing book review by NPR, I was excited to dive into Salt, especially with its promised view of history through the perspective of this currently abundant and cheap mineral. Throughout history, the ease of access to salt was not always the case and Kurlansky highlights salt’s role in everything from the Revolutionary War and Civil War to ancient Egypt and China. As Kurlansky only highlights the impact of this limited resource during these massive events, sometimes this read takes on a biased feel, although with a topic as far reaching as this subject matter it is hard to escape ultra focused conundrum. With this aspect of the read in mind, when specific historical events were being discussed I was careful to recall what I already knew of the time period, thereby making room for the new information being relayed through this read. While I significantly enjoyed a large part of this book, the many recipes and prolonged food discussions were not my favorite. Had I been physically reading this book instead of listening to the audiobook, I’m sure this annoyance would have been mediated due to the capability of the reader to skim additions, such as the recipes. It was entertaining to be reminded throughout this book of instances where salt played a role in other books or during my travels, such as the salt mine that the Germans had hidden their treasury and stolen art during WWII that I’d first read about in The Monument Men, which is another great book if you love amazingly true adventures. The Incan salt mines at Maras were also mentioned, of which I’d been lucky enough to visit during my recent trip to Peru. Overall, I enjoyed the historical aspect of Salt, and while not absolutely enthralled by the subject matter, I learned more about soy sauce, cod fishing, and olives than I ever thought I would.


 

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