Erin Kendrick, January 7, 2011 (view all comments by Erin Kendrick)
It's about salt. It's long. It is packed with dorky history tidbits, which was the best part. Much of the time it seemed to get off track (of the main subject of salt) and go off on tangents, that sometimes were interesting in and of themselves, but left the book feeling disjointed and random. Did you know that salt played a role in the work of Gandhi? This history lesson was one of the most enjoyable parts of the book. Keep in mind, I am not a history buff (at all) but have come to appreciate learning about it.
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Alethea, November 9, 2008 (view all comments by Alethea)
While at times this read almost like a recitation of facts about salt, in other parts of the book it was a fascinating look at how things as simple as salt make the world go 'round.
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elise.petersen, September 1, 2008 (view all comments by elise.petersen)
I was assigned this reading for an AP World History class, and I cannot honestly say that in all parts of the book i was thoroughly entertained. However, it was interesting in that it opened up my mind to how much salt--common salt--has influenced humankind. I never thought about salt as anything more than what I eat on my dinner plate, but this book got me thinking in a much bigger picture.
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by Los Angeles Times Book Review,
"Kurlansky continues to prove himself remarkably adept at taking a most unlikely candidate and telling its tale with epic grandeur."
by Publishers Weekly,
"Throughout his engaging, well-researched history, Kurlansky sprinkles witty asides and amusing anecdotes. A piquant blend of the historic, political, commercial, scientific and culinary, the book is sure to entertain as well as educate."
by Ray Olson, Booklist (Starred Review),
"Kurlansky thinks big....This is the big story Kurlansky unfolds in chapters that proceed from time immemorial to the present and cover such specific topics as 'Salt's Salad Days' in ancient Rome....Tasty, very tasty!"
by Noel Murray, The Onion A.V. Club,
"Kurlansky exhaustively documents every salt-related twist and turn of world history, but that becomes problematic....History's cyclical repetitions can be worth investigating, but much of Salt's timeline-marking activity could have been collapsed into one lengthy chapter and spiked with more analysis."
by Alan Prince, BookPage,
"[A] remarkable book....While homemakers and master chefs alike should enjoy this book, it's also likely to consume the interest of those who survive on TV dinners."
The bestselling author of Cod and The Basque History turns his attention to salt, a common household item with a long and intriguing history. In this multilayered masterpiece, Kurlansky explains how salt provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions.
The additive that flows under the radar
The most popular drug in America is a white powder. No, not that powder. This is caffeine in its most essential state. And Caffeinated reveals the little-known truth about this addictive, largely unregulated drug found in coffee, energy drinks, teas, colas, chocolate, and even pain relievers.
Well learn why caffeine has such a powerful effect on everything from boosting our mood to improving our athletic performance as well as how—and why—brands such as Coca-Cola have ducked regulatory efforts for decades. We learn the differences in the various ways caffeine is delivered to the body, how it is quietly used to reinforce our buying patterns, and how it can play a role in promoting surprising health problems like obesity and anxiety.
Drawing on the latest research, Caffeinated brings us the inside perspective at the additive that Salt Sugar Fat overlooked.
Youll never think the same way about your morning cup of coffee.” —Mark McClusky, editor in chief of Wired.com and author of Faster, Higher, Stronger
Journalist Murray Carpenter has been under the influence of a drug for nearly three decades. And hes in good company, because chances are youre hooked, too. Humans have used caffeine for thousands of years. A bitter white powder in its most essential form, a tablespoon of it would kill even the most habituated user. This addictive, largely unregulated substance is everywhere—in places youd expect (like coffee and chocolate) and places you wouldnt (like chewing gum and fruit juice), and Carpenter reveals its impact on soldiers, athletes, and even children. It can make you stronger, faster, and more alert, but its not perfect, and its role in health concerns like obesity and anxiety will surprise you.
Making stops at the coffee farms of central Guatemala, a synthetic caffeine factory in China, and an energy shot bottler in New Jersey, among numerous other locales around the globe, Caffeinated exposes the high-stakes but murky world of caffeine, drawing on cutting-edge science and larger-than-life characters to offer an unprecedented understanding of Americas favorite drug.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.