For the sake of salt, Rome created a system of remuneration (from which we get the word salary), nomads domesticated the camel, the Low Countries revolted against their Spanish oppressors, and Gandhi marched against the British. Through the ages, salt has conferred status, preserved foods, and mingled in the blood, sweat, and tears of humankind. Today, chefs of haute cuisine covet its most exotic forms -- underground salt deposits, Hawaiian black lava salt, glittery African crystals, and pink Peruvian sea salt carried in bricks on the backs of Ilamas.
From proverbs to technical arguments, from anecdotes to tales of folklore, chemist and philosopher Pierre Laszlo takes us through the kingdom of "white gold." With "enthusiasm and freshness" (Le Monde), he mixes literary analysis, history, anthropology, biology, physics, economics, art history, political science, chemistry, ethnology, and linguistics to create a full body of knowledge about the everyday substance that rocked the world and still brings zest to the ordinary.
Salt is a tour de force about a substance that is one of the very foundations of civilization.
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Pierre Laszlo is an emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Liège, Belgium, and the École Polytechnique in Paris. Of his many published works, six have been translated into English.
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