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Sale. Una biografia

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  34,281 Ratings  ·  2,287 Reviews
Mark Kurlansky, the bestselling author of Cod and The Basque History of the World, here turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as cur ...more
Paperback, 429 pages
Published 2003 by Rizzoli (first published January 1st 2002)
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Michael Ever heard the phrase "the dose makes the poison"? Everything is toxic if you reach the right dose, salt included. Salt is a critical nutrient to most…moreEver heard the phrase "the dose makes the poison"? Everything is toxic if you reach the right dose, salt included. Salt is a critical nutrient to most animal diets, drop it too low, and you'll end up with hyponatremia. Luckily this is a rare risk in modern diets.(less)
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Nov 27, 2007 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very non-plussed by this book. Kurlansky does not do a very good job of presenting his topic. In my opinion he was just throwing out about any facts he could find about salt. In a way he ties it together. He discusses how ancient Chinese used salt; how northern Europeans used salt; how salt was mined; etc. I got that salt is a major natural resource that is the basis for cuisine and culture throughout the world, but I was still asking myself the question, "And?" Kurlansky left me wonderin ...more
Petra X
I read several chapters of this. It was mind-numbingly boring. Lists, lists, lists of everything that has ever been done with salt. What different countries, cultures and times have done with salt. The word salt in many different languages. That old thing about salary being the precious salt that the Romans paid their military in, right. I was praying for a relief from the tedium of this book. But all I got was the odd not-at-all interesting anecdote. I don't know how the rest of the book progre ...more

عثرت على هذا الكتاب فى سور الازبكية يوم السبت الماضى فى معرض الكتاب واشتريته بخمسة جنيهات بعدما ترددت فى شرائه فقد قرأت مقدمته ثم تركته وذهبت ولم يطاوعنى قلبى فعدت اليه مرة اخرى فاشتريته ، ...
هو عن تاريخ الملح ..تلك المادة البلورية البيضاء التى لها لون الثلج التى نستحدمها فى المطابخ وعلى موائد الطعام عدة مرات يوميا ً ..تلك المادة سريعة الذوبان التى لا يتخيل احد عدد الدول التى ' ذابت ' فى التاريخ من أجلها ..تلك المادة سهلة الضياع فى الماء .التى كانت سببا فى ضياع دماء الملايين من البشر من أجل الف

Apr 23, 2007 Amos rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was the first so-called "commodity history" that I've read, and I'm sorry to say it might have turned me completely off the damn things. I'm not entirely sure why this book is so popular and so widely read, since it strikes me as simply a series of stories by Mark Kurlansky that quickly settle into the same basic mantra, which is: 1) Here is this culture; 2) Like the twenty other cultures I have just introduced to you, salt was also important to this culture; 3) These are the ways they gath ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Well, I'll be pickled!
We say we'll take something with a grain of salt as if it's nothing, but much of the history of the world is tied up in the quest for salt. It's not nothing. We're fortunate to have it in such abundance that we can take it for granted and worry about getting too much of it in our diets. For most of human existence that was not the case.

The material here is thorough and often fascinating, but you must have a strong interest in history if you hope to get through it. Had I t
Jul 17, 2008 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Kurlansky is a historical writer who does what one reviewer referred to as the “little-big” style of writing, that is to say, he takes something little and often overlooked and from it he spins out larger truths about society and the world. To say that he does this well would be an understatement.

Salt: A World History, his fascinating history of this overlooked cooking seasoning, makes a couple very good points in its introduction. Because of its current cheapness and easy availability, we
Nov 19, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
This book changed my life. I picked it up because fiction novels were all looking the same to me, and because it was thick enough to last the long train ride from Dusseldorf to Maastricht. School textbooks were the only non-fiction I'd ever read, and they had not prepared me for the vibrant and engaging writing found in Salt. Since reading this book I have become a devoted fan of non-fiction writing, which has exposed me to a whole new world of literature.
Apr 02, 2009 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this book on world history, roled like a ball of yarn around the role salt played in this history. I think that different readers will enjoy different aspects of the book. There is something for everyone. I particularly enjoyed the sections on Chinese ancient history, on French salt production on Noirmoutier and Ile de Ré and also the perspective of how French salt taxes (gabelle) influenced the French revolution. This was interesting becuase other books stress the role of th ...more
Oct 17, 2009 Elana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

AIYIYI... I just couldn't take this book. I was determined to read it after I chose it for a challenge I had entered but my goodness was it a struggle. I don't know if it was because I had just finished a textbook size of a book that was purely about science (A Short History of Nearly Everything) and was in major fiction withdrawal, or the fact that this book was breathtakingly boring, but I could literally not read more than 15 pages before I actually started to drift off into a deep slumber.
May 21, 2012 rivka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those looking for factoids more than facts, and entertainment more than academic rigor
Shelves: non-fiction
While certainly an interesting and often entertaining read, with many historic details I had never heard before, this book is seriously flawed in several ways.

It has a bibliography, but no footnotes or endnotes. Given that on those subjects that I had detailed pre-knowledge, I found details that were misinterpreted, glossed over, or just plain wrong, I can only assume the same is true for the subjects I didn't know about before reading this book. But without detailed endnotes (which a book of th
Dec 19, 2013 Cricket rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
You know you're a writing tutor when you fantasize about conversing with the author over his organization strategies.No, seriously. I had an entire dialog in my head about it. How did you organize this book? Does each section have a main concept or idea? Does every chapter and/or paragraph help move towards this idea? Can you find any that don't? Let's read through some of these paragraphs together and you can tell me where you think something might be tangential to the main idea.

This book meand
Jul 18, 2007 Kian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foodies
The history of salt is super interesting, and I learned a lot of amazing facts about human history from reading this book, BUT... the editing was pretty bad. I mean, it has to be pretty bad for you to actually notice that a book is really poorly written. Chapters would end out of nowhere, there were tons of non-sequiturs, etc. It got progressively worse as I got through the book- and then towards the end it became an advertisement for Mortons Salt. I'd recommend this book from a library, but not ...more
450 pages is a lot of salt. Though interesting by the end I was very ready to be done with it.
Aug 05, 2008 Quin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
the author read everything there is to read about salt. then he relentlessly put every bit of it in this book. you will wish for the end waay before you get there, i promise.
Jun 25, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful exploration into the role this substance has played in the human grand narrative.
The first two thirds were very informative and interesting, but it wasn't until I got to the section about India that I was totally enthralled. The story of how Ghandi used the British imposed salt laws, and his disobedience of them, to gain freedom for his country was truly riveting.
I can't help but draw parallels between this story and other moments in history. It's long been a fact that civic rebell
Jul 22, 2012 mim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a book! As I was reading it, I wavered between "this is so dense with facts and boring" to "this is sooo interesting." Well, it's both. There were parts that I skimmed over and parts that made me share them immediately. I would want to stop reading then would come to a part about either a place I've visited or a know about from some reason or other, and then I'd be drawn back into the book. I learned a lot, that's for sure. The part dealing with chemistry interested me a great deal. I was s ...more
Dec 30, 2007 Dena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was completely fascinating! Sure, human population didn't really take off until we started staying put in one place and domesticating animals and crops, but what do you think preserved those food staples? Salt! Salt didn't just play a role with how we preserve food, but entire wars and civilizations rose and fell due (in part) to their hold on salt. Seriously! Venice became a huge European powerhouse in the middle ages because of their saltworks, and I learned that salt even played a p ...more
Teresa Lukey
This book is about so much more than salt. A friend asked me what I was listening oo while listening to this one and they thought it sounded like an absurd thing to read about. I'm inclined to believe that many people might turn away from this book based on that fact, but I found it to be chalked full of so many interesting facts from some of the earliest history.

I found all the information presented in the book a little overwhelming at times and I do believe I would have given it 5 stars had I
Jan 06, 2009 Olivia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I have tried to digest this book called Salt, especially as a food reviewer, and a history buff in training, but I think I will throw it over my left shoulder as I can't get past the taste of the endless first chapter on ancient Asian governments.

The book is pretty well written and full of great pictures and interesting salty tid-bits, but maybe its a bit too ambitious to try to tell the history of the world through a pure salt perspective?!

The value of the mineral, and the elaborate way it was
Previously read Sept 2003 - Checked this out from the library on the recommendation of Carla Irene

The title is pretty self-explanatory: the book discusses how salt was accessed, processed, sold and used from ancient times through today. I was pleased to see non-European cultures were included - especially since China and India have had such a rich history entwined with this essential mineral. However, I would have liked to see more info about North & South America and sub-Saharan Africa, and
Dec 23, 2007 Courtney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Officially two stars is supposed to mean "it was okay" and one star is supposed to signify "I didn't like it," but there are many degrees of books I dislike and this one was moderately better than it could have been. The writing is OK, Kurlanky has energy, but he attacked this work of non-fiction with no clear agenda.

If there's a thesis beyond "salt is important," Kurlansky fails to articulate it. If there's a logic to how this book is organized, that's not clear either. Chapters don't seem to
First Second Books
I love this cover!

Also I know no more things about salting fish than is reasonable for any human to know, much less a vegetarian-type human.

One of the things this book makes me wonder is, are the subjects of books always so central? One of the chapters of this book basically runs, ‘Salt is THE turning point to the US Civil War,’ which seems fine when you’re reading, but when you think about it, you’re like – slavery, states’ rights, railroads, etc. etc. etc., all of which also seem like they co
An interesting survey of the geography and politics of salt. A hodgepodge of random information about how a small but essential substance has indelibly impacted from Israeli tourist development on the Dead Sea to elite fascination with touring underground salt mines to variations in Chinese cuisine and health contingent upon salt availability. Salt: A World History is an example of the kind of historiography I truly enjoy. Rather than trying to discuss an entire country, continent or civilizatio ...more
Nov 11, 2014 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my most-favorite non-fiction book. I find it fascinating and enjoy something new every time I read or listen to it.
Yazeed AlMogren
كتاب يتحدث بشكل مفصل ودقيق عن دور الملح في الحياة وفي حضارات الشعوب على مر السنين
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
For a guy who literally looks like the Dos Equis man, Mark Kurlansky has managed to find some of the least interesting subject matter I could imagine and turn them into full histories. Whether it's salt (this one), cod (1988), oysters (2005), or the Basques (1991)...well, okay. A history of the Basquessounds like it has some potential.

My point is: Kurlansky seems to look around for the driest subjects and then to begin to research the heck out of it. And yes, he really does look like the Dos Equ
Sabrina Godin
Jun 22, 2015 Sabrina Godin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Throughout history, the common household mineral, salt, was obtained for usages from food to religious beliefs to archeological discoveries. Within Mark Kurlansky’s book, Salt: A World of History, he provides specific present and past examples of how salt shaped the course of civilizations. In each chapter, Kurlansky focuses on a certain area where salt was excavated, processed, and how it was used. To specify relatable instances, he writes in recipes from ancient cookbooks and chiefs. Even thou ...more
May 23, 2012 Lo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend it for intelligent people looking for a little bit of 'novelty' history in their lives (or people training for Jeopardy).

When you first hear the title of this book, one's first reaction is generally to chuckle because, let's be serious, what is there to the history of salt? It's just a mineral!

Well, Kurlansky tells us that there is a lot to the history of salt and that our lives and history are intricately tied to the location and usag
Mar 02, 2011 Jan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
For years, I kept hearing about how awesome this book was. Everyone has praised it up and down. So when I finally got around to picking up a copy of it, I was feeling pretty excited. And of course, it turns out to be one of those books that everyone else in the world seems to like but me.

I will admit that there were a lot of chapters of this book that I did enjoy. And I learned many fun facts that I had not previously known: i.e. where the term "red herring" comes from, how soy sauce is made, wh
Apr 26, 2016 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, super in-depth history of how we have made and used salt, and how it's changed our economies, history, and food. A bit of a slog for me but I suspect that's because I just have a harder time with non-fiction.
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UB Libraries Book...: Salt Discussion 7 11 Apr 27, 2015 04:27PM  
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Mark Kurlansky (born 7 December 1948 in Hartford, Connecticut) is a highly-acclaimed American journalist and writer of general interest non-fiction. He is especially known for titles on eclectic topics, such as cod or salt.

Kurlansky attended Butler University, where he harbored an early interest in theatre and earned a BA in 1970. However, his interest faded and he began to work as a journalist in
More about Mark Kurlansky...

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“In every age, people are certain that only the things they have deemed valuable have true value. The search for love and the search for wealth are always the two best stories. But while a love story is timeless, the story of a quest for wealth, given enough time, will always seem like the vain pursuit of a mirage.” 22 likes
“modern people have seen too many chemicals and are ready to go back to eating dirt.” 12 likes
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