Friday, August 02, 2013

Book Review: Salt

I will admit, I've gotten a lot of flack for reading this book. I mean, really, who reads about salt? My co-workers have been making jokes at my expense about this one because, well, they think salt is boring. Fiction, books about China, they understand. Salt? Not so much.


But, I promise, it WAS interesting. For such a seemingly common and inexpensive mineral that we use for so many things {roads, food, preservation, etc.}, it was once expensive, fought over and hard to get. Wars were won and lost over salt, and during those that were not {including the American Revolution and the Civil War} salt played a key strategic role. Lose your saltworks, and you lose your only means to preserve food and outfit your soldiers.

As interesting as this book was, though, I found it to be full of random facts that were presented in a non-interesting way. Compared to non-fiction written by A.J. Jacobs, Bill Bryson and David Sedaris, this book was dry, dry dry. The information was interesting, but not organized well. It WAS sorted into vaguely relevent categories {Rome, China, The Dead Sea, etc.} but then branched out without the author tying all of his pieces of information together. This did not make it unreadable, just disjointed.

If you're somewhat of a history nerd, like I am, you'll tolerate the scattered thoughts and probably enjoy the book for it's interesting take on world history. If not, I'd skip this one, or at least not spend a lot of time worrying if you don't finish it.

What have you been reading lately?


  1. I don't think I'm enough of a history buff for this one.

    But I'll be very interested to know what you think of 'A Discovery of Witches.' I loved that one - and 'Shadow of Night.'

  2. I remember my mom reading this when I was in high school or so. I remember thinking it was interesting them, and it's one I've never forgot. Which if funny because I've never actually read it, but I've been wanting too and hopefully will soon.

    And actually when they made the Angelina Jolie movie a few years ago, Salt, I thought it was somehow based on this book. Obviously it wasn't, but wouldn't that have been something?

  3. interesting I have never thought about Salt being important. I don't think I could read a dry book but it sounds like it would make you look at salt a little differently