In this monumental new book, award-winning author Mark Kurlansky has written his most ambitious work to date: a singular and ultimately definitive look at a pivotal moment in history. With1968, Mark Kurlansky brings to teeming life the cultural and political history of that world-changing year of social upheaval. People think of it as the year of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Yet it was also the year of the Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy assassinations; the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; Prague Spring; the antiwar movement and the Tet Offensive; Black Power; the generation gap, avant-garde theater, the birth of the women's movement, and the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union. From New York, Miami, Berkeley, and Chicago to Paris, Prague, Rome, Berlin, Warsaw, Tokyo, and Mexico City, spontaneous uprisings occurred simultaneously around the globe. Everything was disrupted. In the Middle East, Yasir Arafat's guerrilla organization rose to prominence . . . both the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Biennale were forced to shut down by protesters . . . the Kentucky Derby winner was stripped of the crown for drug use . . . the Olympics were a disaster, with the Mexican government having massacred hundreds of students protesting police brutality there . . . and the Miss America pageant was stormed by feminists carrying banners that introduced to the television-watching public the phrase "women's liberation. " Kurlansky shows how the coming of live television made 1968 the first global year. It was the year that an amazed world watched the first live telecast from outer space, and that TV news expanded to half an hour. For the first time, Americans watched that day's battle-the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive-on the evening news. Television also shocked the world with seventeen minutes of police clubbing demonstrators at the Chicago convention, live film of unarmed students facing Soviet tanks in Czechoslovakia, and a war of starvation in Biafra. The impact was huge, not only on the antiwar movement, but also on the medium itself. The fact that one now needed television to make things happen was a cultural revelation with enormous consequences. In many ways, this momentous year led us to where we are today. Whether through youth and music, politics and war, economics and the media, Mark Kurlansky shows how, in1968,twelve volatile months transformed who we are as a people. But above all, he gives a new understanding to the underlying causes of the unique historical phenomenon that was the year 1968. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written-full of telling anecdotes, penetrating analysis, and the author's trademark incisive wit--1968 is the most important book yet of Kurlansky's noteworthy career.
"They are a mythical people, almost an imagined people," writes Mark Kurlansky. Settled in a corner of France and Spain in a land marked on no maps except their own, the Basques are a nation without a country, whose ancient and dramatic story illuminates Europe's own saga. Where did they come from? Signs of their civilization exist well before the arrival of the Romans in 218 B.C., and their culture appears to predate all others in Europe. Their mysterious and forbidden tongue, Euskera, is related to no other language on Earth. The Basques have stubbornly defended their unique culture against the Celts, the Romans, the Visigoths and Moors, the kings of Spain and France, Napoleon, Franco, the modern Spanish state, and the European Union.Yet as much as their origins are obscure, the Basques' contributions to world history have been clear and remarkable. Early explorers, they made fortunes whaling before the year 1000 and became the premier cod fishermen in Europe after discovering Canada's Grand Banks. Juan Sebastian de Elcano, a Basque, was the first man to circumnavigate the globe in 1522. Their influence has also been felt in religion as founders of the Jesuits in 1534, and in business, as leaders of the Industrial Revolution in southern Europe.Mark Kurlanky's passion for the Basque people, and his exuberant eye for detail, shine throughout this fascinating history. Like his acclaimed Cod, it blends human, economic, political, literary and culinary history into a rich and heroic tale.
When Peter Minuit bought Manhattan for $24 in 1626 - his first New York real estate killing - he showed his shrewdness by also buying the oyster beds off tiny, nearby Oyster Island, renamed Ellis Island in 1770. From the Minuit purchase until centuries of pollution finally destroyed the beds in the 1920s, New York was a city known for its oysters: the 'Blue Points,' still produced by the Long Island town of the same name; the 'Rockaways' and 'East Rivers'; 'Sounds' from Staten Island; several Manhattan varieties, and even those from a celebrated area by what is now LaGuardia Airport. For centuries New York was world famous as an oyster centre, especially in the late 1800s, when Europe and America enjoyed a decades-long oyster craze. In Europe New York oysters were famous for both their size and durability. In a dubious endorsement, William Makepeace Thackeray said that eating a New York oyster was like eating a baby. When travellers visited New York, they not only wanted to eat the Coral oysters, they wanted to experience the famous New York oyster houses. While some houses were known for their elegance, the infamous slums such as Five-Points were notoriously disreputable. Due to a longstanding belief in the aphrodisiac quality of oysters, they were often associated with prostitution. In 1842, when the novelist Charles Dickens arrived in New York, he could not conceal his eagerness to find and experience the fabled oyster cellars of New York City's slums. The Big Oyster is the history of the city as told through its celebrated bivalve. It is a gastronomic history revealing four centuries of culinary evolution and food trends in a city that has always been a gastronomic trendsetter. But it is also an economic history, examining the enormous impact of transportation innovations - the Erie Canal, the railroad, and clipper ship - that completely changed urban living and food and also accounted for the growth of a thriving international oyster trade.
Break out the TV dinners! From the author who gave us Cod, Salt, and other informative bestsellers, the first biography of Clarence Birdseye, the eccentric genius inventor whose fast-freezing process revolutionized the food industry and American agriculture.
In his eagerly awaited debut novel, critically acclaimed author Mark Kurlansky entertains readers with a brilliant story bursting with the vivid events and culinary delights-even recipes-that made bestsellers out of his nonfiction works Cod, Salt, and 1968.Nathan woke up on a Friday morning with the unshakable sense that during this day he would commit a catastrophic error in judgment. Something had been written by the gods, and Nathan Seltzer knew this was one Friday that he would regret. . . .It's the boom years of the 1980s, and life is closing in on Nathan Seltzer, who rarely travels beyond his suddenly gentrifying Lower East Side neighborhood. Between paralyzing bouts of claustrophobia, Nathan wonders whether he should cheat on his wife with Karoline, a German pastry maker whose parents may or may not have been Nazis. His father, Harry, is plotting with the 1960s boogaloo star Chow Mein Vega for the comeback of this dance craze. Meanwhile, a homicidal drug addict is terrorizing the neighborhood.With its cast of unforgettable characters, Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue is a comedy of cultures, of the old and the new, of Latinos, Jews, Sicilians, and Germans. It's about struggling to hold on to life in a rapidly changing world, about food and sex, and about how our lives are shaped by love and guilt.From the Hardcover edition.
Mark Kurlansky is one of our most erudite and entertaining food writers: the bestselling author of Salt and Cod, winner of the prestigious James Beard Award for Excellence in Food Writing. Now in this delightful collection he serves up a true smorgasbord of ?choice cuts? by the world?s most discerning gourmets and gourmands through the ages?from Plato on the art of cooking to Louis Prima at the pizzeria. Choice Cuts offers more than two hundred mouth-watering selections, including Brillat-Savarin on chocolate; Waverley Root on truffles; M. F. K. Fish on gingerbread; Pablo Neruda on French fries; Alexandre Dumas on coffee; and a vast variety by Escoffier, Elizabeth David, A. J. Liebling, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Dickens, Balzac, Chekhov, Orwell, and Alice B. Toklas, among others. Filled throughout with recipes, menus, classic photographs, and Kurlansky?s own original drawings, Choice Cuts is a must-have for any serious lover of food.
A POWERFUL, DEEPLY MOVING NARRATIVE OF HOPE REBORN IN THE SHADOW OF DESPAIR. Fifty years after it was bombed to rubble, Berlin is once again a city in which Jews gather for the Passover seder. Paris and Antwerp have recently emerged as important new centers of Jewish culture. Small but proud Jewish communities are revitalizing the ancient centers of Budapest, Prague, and Amsterdam. These brave, determined Jewish men and women have chosen to settle-or remain-in Europe after the devastation of the Holocaust, but they have paid a price. Among the unexpected dangers, they have had to cope with an alarming resurgence of Nazism in Europe, the spread of Arab terrorism, and the impact of the Jewish state on European life.Delving into the intimate stories of European Jews from all walks of life, Kurlansky weaves together a vivid tapestry of individuals sustaining their traditions, and flourishing, in the shadow of history. An inspiring story of a tenacious people who have rebuilt their lives in the face of incomprehensible horror, A Chosen Few is a testament to cultural survival and a celebration of the deep bonds that endure between Jews and European civilization."Consistently absorbing . . . A Chosen Few investigates the relatively uncharted territory of an encouraging phenomenon."-Los Angeles Times. "I can think of no book that portrays with such intelligence, historical understanding, and journalistic flair what life has been like for Jews determined to build lives in Europe."-SUSAN MIRON.
All-new stories about the urban worlds where animals and humans fight, love, and find common ground, from the nationally bestselling author of Cod and Salt. In these stories, Mark Kurlansky journeys to his familiar haunts like New York's Central Park or Miami's Little Havana but with an original, earthy, and adventurous perspective. From baseball players in the Dominican Republic to Basque separatists in Spain to a restaurant owner in Cuba, from urban coyotes to a murder of crows, Kurlansky travels the worlds of animals and their human counterparts, revealing moving and hilarious truths about our connected existence. In the end, he illuminates how closely our worlds are aligned, how humans really are beasts, susceptible to their basest instincts, their wildest dreams, and their artful survival.From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the Bestselling Author of Salt and The Basque History of the WorldCod, Mark Kurlansky's third work of nonfiction and winner of the 1999 James Beard Award, is the biography of a single species of fish, but it may as well be a world history with this humble fish as its recurring main character. Cod, it turns out, is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic, and it is the only reason they could. What did the Vikings eat in icy Greenland and on the five expeditions to America recorded in the Icelandic sagas? Cod, frozen and dried in the frosty air, then broken into pieces and eaten like hardtack. What was the staple of the medieval diet? Cod again, sold salted by the Basques, an enigmatic people with a mysterious, unlimited supply of cod. As we make our way through the centuries of cod history, we also find a delicious legacy of recipes, and the tragic story of environmental failure, of depleted fishing stocks where once their numbers were legendary. In this lovely, thoughtful history, Mark Kurlansky ponders the question: Is the fish that changed the world forever changed by the world's folly?"A charming fish tale and a pretty gift for your favorite seafood cook or fishing monomaniac. But in the last analysis, it's a bitter ecological fable for our time." -Los Angeles Times"Every once in a while a writer of particular skill takes a fresh, seemingly improbable idea and turns out a book of pure delight. Such is the case of Mark Kurlansky and the codfish." -David McCullough"One of the 25 Best Books of the Year." -The New York Public LibraryMark Kurlansky is the author of many books including Salt, The Basque History of the World, 1968, and The Big Oyster. His newest book is Birdseye.
The Cod. Wars have been fought over it, revolutions have been triggered by it, national diets have been based on it, economies and livelihoods have depended on it. To the millions it has sustained, it has been a treasure more precious that gold. This book spans 1,000 years and four continents. From the Vikings to Clarence Birdseye, Mark Kurlansky introduces the explorers, merchants, writers, chefs and fisherman, whose lives have been interwoven with this prolific fish. He chronicles the cod wars of the 16th and 20th centuries. He blends in recipes and lore from the Middle Ages to the present. In a story that brings world history and human passions into captivating focus, he shows how the most profitable fish in history is today faced with extinction.
Wars have been fought over it, revolutions have been spurred by it, national diets have been based on it, economies have depended on it, and the settlement of North America was driven by it. Cod, it turns out, is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic, and it is the only reason they could. What did the Vikings eat in icy Greenland and on the five expeditions to America recorded in the Icelandic sagas? Cod -- frozen and dried in the frosty air, then broken into pieces and eaten like hardtack. What was the staple of the medieval diet? Cod again, sold salted by the Basques, an enigmatic people with a mysterious, unlimited supply of cod.Cod is a charming tour of history with all its economic forces laid bare and a fish story embellished with great gastronomic detail. It is also a tragic tale of environmental failure, of depleted fishing stocks where once the cod's numbers were legendary. In this deceptively whimsical biography of a fish, Mark Kurlansky brings a thousand years of human civilization into captivating focus. [This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 9-10 at http://www.corestandards.org.]
The intriguing, inspiring history of one small, impoverished area in the Dominican Republic that has produced a staggering number of Major League Baseball talent, from an award-winning, bestselling author.
Robert Eggle finds himself standing one day in a hole in the sidewalk, rain plastering his clothes to his body, with no memory of who he is, his former life as a food critic, how he got there, or where he should go next. He finds his preoccupations narrowed down to his loss of taste, and the puzzling gastronomic tales people regale him with. Why is it important not to be too gourmet? And what is the real purpose behind red sea salt? There is his ex-wife Margaret, who becomes the unwilling obsession of a man from Papua New Guinea with an unusual appetite, and Emma, his neurotic fan who sees a conspiracy in crme brulees. In this world where love is celebrated with peppered, slow-cooked menudo, and where friendships are forged over fat-free muffins, Edible Stories serves up a delectable tale of quirky individuals whose lives intersect in amusing, poignant and surprising ways with a man who remembers nothing but the texture of the food he has eaten.
"Este es un clásico de Kurlansky: erudito, impredecible, compasivo, y se lee compulsivamente. . . . Una reveladora meditación sobre el deporte, la nación, y también sobre el mundo". -Junot Díaz, autor de La breve y maravillosa vida de Oscar Wao "¿Qué tienen en común Rico Carty, Alfredo Griffin, Pedro Guerrero, George Bell, Julio Franco, Juan Samuel, Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, y Robinson Canó? Que todos proceden de San Pedro de Macorís, la pequeña ciudad azucarera en la República Dominicana. ¿Una coincidencia? Difícilmente". -National Public Radio Al final de la temporada de 2010, más de ochenta y seis jóvenes y hombres de la empobrecida ciudad de San Pedro de Macorís jugaban en las Grandes Ligas -lo que significa que uno de cada seis dominicanos de las Grandes Ligas vinieron de los mismos equipos locales de los ingenios azucareros, y acudieron en masa a los Estados Unidos en busca de oportunidades, de riqueza, y de una vida mejor. Pero este viaje es también una crónica del racismo en el béisbol, de la necesidad de cambiar las costumbres sociales del deporte en la República Dominicana y en los Estados Unidos, y de las historias personales de los hombres que han buscado escapar de la pobreza jugando béisbol. En Las Estrellas Orientales, Mark Kurlansky revela el amor de dos países por un deporte, y descubre unos significados más profundos sobre lugar y identidad, tenacidad y supervivencia, colonialismo y capitalismo, pero especialmente sobre el béisbol. .
The Food of a Younger Land: A Portrait of American Food--Before the National Highway System, Before Chain Restaurants, and Before Frozen Food, When the Nation's Food Was Seasonal, Regional, and Traditionalby Mark Kurlansky
Award-winning New York Times-bestselling author Mark Kurlansky takes us back to the food and eating habits of a younger America: Before the national highway system brought the country closer together; before chain restaurants imposed uniformity and low quality; and before the Frigidaire meant frozen food in mass quantities, the nation's food was seasonal, regional, and traditional. It helped form the distinct character, attitudes, and customs of those who ate it.<P> In the 1930s, with the country gripped by the Great Depression and millions of Americans struggling to get by, FDR created the Federal Writers' Project under the New Deal as a make-work program for artists and authors. A number of writers, including Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, and Nelson Algren, were dispatched all across America to chronicle the eating habits, traditions, and struggles of local people. The project, called "America Eats," was abandoned in the early 1940s because of the World War and never completed.<P> The Food of a Younger Land unearths this forgotten literary and historical treasure and brings it to exuberant life. Mark Kurlansky's brilliant book captures these remarkable stories, and combined with authentic recipes, anecdotes, photos, and his own musings and analysis, evokes a bygone era when Americans had never heard of fast food and the grocery superstore was a thing of the future. Kurlansky serves as a guide to this hearty and poignant look at the country's roots.<P> From New York automats to Georgia Coca-Cola parties, from Arkansas possum-eating clubs to Puget Sound salmon feasts, from Choctaw funerals to South Carolina barbecues, the WPA writers found Americans in their regional niches and eating an enormous diversity of meals.
Nonfiction for kids interested in science, biography, and early entrepreneurs, this work explores the life story of Clarence Birdseye, the man who revolutionized the frozen food industry and changed the way people eat all over the world. Adapted from Mark Kurlansky's adult work Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man. Adventurer and inventor Clarence Birdseye had a fascination with food preservation that led him to develop and patent the Birdseye freezing process and start the company that still bears his name today. His limitless curiosity spurred his other inventions, including the electric sunlamp, an improved incandescent lightbulb, and a harpoon gun to tag finback whales. This true story of an early inventor/entrepreneur is not only thrilling but also explains the science and early technology behind food preservation. Simultaneously available in a hardcover and trade paperback edition. Each edition includes an 8-page black-and-white photo insert.From the Hardcover edition.
An essential compendium for understanding Gandhi's profound legacy. "One has to speak out and stand up for one's convictions. Inaction at a time of conflagration is inexcusable."--Mahatma Gandhi The basic principles of Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence (Ahimsa) and non-violent action (Satyagraha) were chosen by Thomas Merton for this volume in 1965. In his challenging Introduction, "Gandhi and the One-Eyed Giant," Merton emphasizes the importance of action rather than mere pacifism as a central component of non-violence, and illustrates how the foundations of Gandhi's universal truths are linked to traditional Hindu Dharma, the Greek philosophers, and the teachings of Christ and Thomas Aquinas. Educated as a Westerner in South Africa, it was Gandhi's desire to set aside the caste system as well as his political struggles in India which led him to discover the dynamic power of non-cooperation. But, non-violence for Gandhi "was not simply a political tactic," as Merton observes: "the spirit of non-violence sprang from an inner realization of spiritual unity in himself." Gandhi's politics of spiritual integrity have influenced generations of people around the world, as well as civil rights leaders from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Steve Biko to Václav Havel and Aung San Suu Kyi. Mark Kurlansky has written an insightful preface for this edition that touches upon the history of non-violence and reflects the core of Gandhi's spiritual and ethical doctrine in the context of current global conflicts.
One of the reasons baseball fans so love the sport is that it involves certain physical acts of beauty. And one of the most beautiful sights in the history of baseball was Hank Greenberg's swing. His calmly poised body seemed to have some special set of springs with a trigger release that snapped his arms and swept the bat through the air with the clean speed and strength of a propeller. But what is even more extraordinary than his grace and his power is that in Detroit of 1934, his swing--or its absence--became entwined with American Jewish history. Though Hank Greenberg was one of the first players to challenge Babe Ruth's single-season record of sixty home runs, it was the game Greenberg did not play for which he is best remembered. With his decision to sit out a 1934 game between his Tigers and the New York Yankees because it fell on Yom Kippur, Hank Greenberg became a hero to Jews throughout America. Yet, as Kurlansky writes, he was the quintessential secular Jew, and to celebrate him for his loyalty to religious observance is to ignore who this man was. InHank GreenbergMark Kurlansky explores the truth behind the slugger's legend: his Bronx boyhood, his spectacular discipline as an aspiring ballplayer, the complexity of his decision not to play on Yom Kippur, and the cultural context of virulent anti-Semitism in which his career played out. What Kurlansky discovers is a man of immense dignity and restraint with a passion for sport who became a great reader--a man, too, who was an inspiration to the young Jackie Robinson, who said, "Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg. "
Will most of the major fisheries of the world be exhausted by 2048, as has been claimed? Have the number of large fish in the ocean decreased by 90 per cent over the past 50 years, as has been asserted by a respected scientist? Are 60 per cent of the fish species studied by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation either fully exploited or depleted, as one of their reports attests? Fishing at sea, an ancient trade and a way of life that has defined coastal towns throughout history, may be coming to an end. The culture and traditions of coastal Britain and of seagoing nations everywhere are now threatened with extinction. In his most important book yet, Mark Kurlansky - the celebrated author of Cod, Salt and The Big Oyster - explores the fate of our oceans and the decline of our most ancient coastal enterprise. The Last Fish Tale sends up a timely distress flare but one which brilliantly illuminates a colourful, exuberant and poignant landscape, from Newlyn in Cornwall to Gloucester in Massachusetts - a fishing village first settled by Englishmen in the early 1600s. The result is a cultural, economic, environmental and culinary bouillabaisse - the most compelling fish tale of our time.
Un manifiesto necesario. Un arma pacífica para cambiar el mundo. «Es mi deseo y mi plegaria que este libro no solo llame la atención de los lectores sino que también cause un efecto profundo en ellos.» Dalai LamaEl movimiento de la no violencia ha sido considerado como una amenaza por muchos gobiernos ya que puede y debería ser una técnica para superar la injusticia social y acabar con las guerras. No se trata de una idea pasiva sino de una manera de ser, una manera de vivir, de una noción peligrosa que desafía a aquellos que tienen el poder y que demuestra que la unión de la voluntad de la gente puede hacerse con el control.Mark Kurlansky analiza la historia del mundo y a partir de grandes victorias como la de Gandhi en la India o la resistencia de Europa del Este frente a los Soviéticos, nos ofrece veinticinco lecciones útiles para el cambio. Una lectura esencial que plantea una nueva forma de pensar en la guerra y en sus consecuencias.
In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind. Nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, he asserts, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power. Nonviolence is a sweeping yet concise history that moves from ancient Hindu times to present-day conflicts raging in the Middle East and elsewhere. Kurlansky also brings into focus just why nonviolence is a "dangerous" idea, and asks such provocative questions as: Is there such a thing as a "just war"? Could nonviolence have worked against even the most evil regimes in history?Kurlansky draws from history twenty-five provocative lessons on the subject that we can use to effect change today. He shows how, time and again, violence is used to suppress nonviolence and its practitioners-Gandhi and Martin Luther King, for example; that the stated deterrence value of standing national armies and huge weapons arsenals is, at best, negligible; and, encouragingly, that much of the hard work necessary to begin a movement to end war is already complete. It simply needs to be embraced and accelerated.Engaging, scholarly, and brilliantly reasoned, Nonviolence is a work that compels readers to look at history in an entirely new way. This is not just a manifesto for our times but a trailblazing book whose time has come.From the Hardcover edition.
Can a song change a nation? In 1964, Marvin Gaye, record producer William "Mickey" Stevenson, and Motown songwriter Ivy Jo Hunter wrote "Dancing in the Street." The song was recorded at Motown's Hitsville USA Studio by Martha and the Vandellas, with lead singer Martha Reeves arranging her own vocals. Released on July 31, the song was supposed to be an upbeat dance recording--a precursor to disco, and a song about the joyousness of dance. But events overtook it, and the song became one of the icons of American pop culture. The Beatles had landed in the U.S. in early 1964. By the summer, the sixties were in full swing. The summer of 1964 was the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, the beginning of the Vietnam War, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and the lead-up to a dramatic election. As the country grew more radicalized in those few months, "Dancing in the Street" gained currency as an activist anthem. The song took on new meanings, multiple meanings, for many different groups that were all changing as the country changed. Told by the writer who is legendary for finding the big story in unlikely places, Ready for a Brand New Beat chronicles that extraordinary summer of 1964 and showcases the momentous role that a simple song about dancing played in history.
Can a song change a nation? In 1964, Marvin Gaye, record producer William "Mickey" Stevenson, and Motown songwriter Ivy Jo Hunter wrote "Dancing in the Street. " The song was recorded at Motown's Hitsville USA Studio by Martha and the Vandellas, with lead singer Martha Reeves arranging her own vocals. Released on July 31, the song was supposed to be an upbeat dance recording--a precursor to disco, and a song about the joyousness of dance. But events overtook it, and the song became one of the icons of American pop culture. The Beatles had landed in the U. S. in early 1964. By the summer, the sixties were in full swing. The summer of 1964 was the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, the beginning of the Vietnam War, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and the lead-up to a dramatic election. As the country grew more radicalized in those few months, "Dancing in the Street" gained currency as an activist anthem. The song took on new meanings, multiple meanings, for many different groups that were all changing as the country changed. Told by the writer who is legendary for finding the big story in unlikely places,Ready for a Brand New Beatchronicles that extraordinary summer of 1964 and showcases the momentous role that a simple song about dancing played in history.
From the Bestselling Author of Cod and The Basque History of the WorldIn his fifth work of nonfiction, Mark Kurlansky turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions. Populated by colorful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Salt by Mark Kurlansky is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece. Mark Kurlansky is the author of many books including Cod, The Basque History of the World, 1968, and The Big Oyster. His newest book is Birdseye.
Homer called salt a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. Today we take salt for granted, a common, inexpensive substance that seasons food or clears ice from roads, a word used casually in expressions ("salt of the earth," take it with a grain of salt") without appreciating their deeper meaning. However, as Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates in his world- encompassing new book, salt--the only rock we eat--has shaped civilization from the very beginning. Its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of mankind. Until about 100 years ago, when modern chemistry and geology revealed how prevalent it is, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities, and no wonder, for without it humans and animals could not live. Salt has often been considered so valuable that it served as currency, and it is still exchanged as such in places today. Demand for salt established the earliest trade routes, across unknown oceans and the remotest of deserts: the city of Jericho was founded almost 10,000 years ago as a salt trading center. Because of its worth, salt has provoked and financed some wars, and been a strategic element in others, such as the American Revolution and the Civil War. Salt taxes secured empires across Europe and Asia and have also inspired revolution (Gandhi's salt march in 1930 began the overthrow of British rule in India); indeed, salt has been central to the age-old debate about the rights of government to tax and control economies. The story of salt encompasses fields as disparate as engineering, religion, and food, all of which Kurlansky richly explores. Few endeavors have inspired more ingenuity than salt making, from the natural gas furnaces of ancient China to the drilling techniques that led to the age of petroleum, and salt revenues have funded some of the greatest public works in history, including the Erie Canal, and even cities (Syracuse, New York). Salt's ability to preserve and to sustain life has made it a metaphorical symbol in all religions. Just as significantly, salt has shaped the history of foods like cheese, sauerkraut, olives, and more, and Kurlansky, an award-winning food writer, conveys how they have in turn molded civilization and eating habits the world over. Salt is veined with colorful characters, from Li Bing, the Chinese bureaucrat who built the world's first dam in 250 BC, to Pattillo Higgins and Anthony Lucas who, ignoring the advice of geologists, drilled an east Texas salt dome in 1901 and discovered an oil reserve so large it gave birth to the age of petroleum. From the sinking salt towns of Cheshire in England to the celebrated salt mine on Avery Island in Louisiana; from the remotest islands in the Caribbean where roads are made of salt to rural Sichaun province, where the last home-made soya sauce is made, Mark Kurlansky has produced a kaleidoscope of history, a multi-layered masterpiece that blends economic, scientific, political, religious, and culinary records into a rich and memorable tale.
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