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Salt: A World Review

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We gave it a B

Mark Kurlansky, who’s already tackled an animal bio (”Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World”), now turns his attention to our favorite condiment in Salt: A World History. Incorporating Chinese, Roman, Viking, Basque, and French histories (among others), his exploration of salt provides a cunning palimpsest through which to view the American Revolution, the origins of McIlhenny’s Tabasco sauce, the sciences of geology and chemistry, and plain old greed. In fact, everything but the kitchen sink is included, from the rarely mentioned Albigensian Wars to Gandhi’s famous salt march — and therein lies the rub: The 484-page tome is crammed with so much undiluted information that the end result is denser than the Dead Sea.