September 13, 2010

Book Log: The Story of Salt by Mark Kurlansky – S.D. Schindler

story of salt

From the back cover: 

What rock shaped the fortune of cultures from China to Europe to America?

What rock fueled exploration and inspired revolutions?

It’s salt – the only rock we eat – and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of our history.

When I first laid eyes on The Story of Salt at the library, I knew right away, it was special. 

“It began a few years ago with a rock I bought in a small mountain town in Spain.  The rock had pink surfaces with streaks of white and brown.  Though it was not a diamond or an emerald or a ruby , it was beautiful. Yet it was only salt.” 

I will never think “only salt”  again. This is the most interesting book!  I took it with me on a day trip this weekend.  While reading, I was so impressed by page after page of interesting facts, that I had to share them with everyone in the car.  I  tried to keep the fun to myself, really I did, but this book was just too good not to share.  My husband and the two teenage boys in the back seat didn’t mind though; they would occasionally ask if there was anything else neat about salt. ☺

What’s the big deal about salt?  You will know once you’ve devoured this tasty book.  This book is not just about salt – well it is, but it is also about Science and History.  Here is a small sample to give you an idea of some of the morsels to be found:

Salt is a compound produced when sodium (Na), a metal so unstable that it easily bursts into flame, combines with chorine (Cl), a deadly poisonous gas.  This natural occurrence is known as a chemical reaction – think of it as two people who misbehave on their own but play well together.  The two elements stabilize each other, and the resulting compound is neither explosive nor poisonous. 

The ancient Chinese built the first salt empire. . . Salt paid for the Great Wall of China, which is fifteen hundred miles long and is still standing today.  It also paid for the Chinese army.  But people did not like paying such high prices.  Through out Chinese history, rulers became unpopular by overcharging for salt.

On March 12th 1930 , Gandhi announced to Indian, British and American newspapers that he intended to walk 240 miles to Dandi on the Arabian Sea, where he would defy British law by making salt. . .

This book holds so many interesting bits of history and science within its pages. The illustrations are equally enjoyable and perfectly complement the text.  I definitely will be adding a copy to our personal library. 

Mark Kurlansky has written another book of this style titled The Cod's Tale.  What’s so great about a fish?  I don’t know. . . yet, but I do plan to find out.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the recommendation!!! We're studying Chemistry this year, so I think this will be a great addition! ;)

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