Synopses & Reviews
Common salt is a substance seemingly too ordinary to think about - yet it is the oldest of our raw materials and the basis of some of our newest inventions. Mythology and folklore abound in accounts of its power and importance. It has been a crucial source of revenue to governments from ancient China to ancien regime France and even the United States. And the ongoing search for this valuable commodity ushered in the age of petroleum fuels. In the first comprehensive history of salt, Robert P. Multhauf tells the remarkable story of its production, its uses, and its role in various cultures from ancient times to the present. Today, Multhauf explains, only 2 percent of the salt produced is for human and animal consumption. Ten times as much is used in the winter salting of roads, and about half of today's enormous output is used in the production of herbicides, pesticides, and other environmentally-damaging chemicals.