"Homer called salt a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. Today we take it for granted; however, as Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates in this world-encompassing 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 geology revealed how prevalent it is, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities, 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. The story of salt encompasses fields as disparate as engineering, religion, and food, all of which Kurlansky richly explores."