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Old 12-10-2012   #9
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Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky,

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.
The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany, by David Blackbourn,

The fascinating story of how the German landscape was dramatically reshaped in the two hundred years from Frederick the Great to Adolf Hitler. It illustrates the gains as well as the human and environmental price paid.
Sapere Aude

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