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Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris Paperback – July 29, 1997


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Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris + The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America + Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (July 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375700366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375700361
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The time is right for a comprehensive history of cigarettes in America and their effect on public health and the economy. This book, passionate yet measured, bulky but absorbing, looms as definitive. Kluger (Simple Justice) traces the rise of the cigarette to the onset of mass production in the late 19th century. He moves forward with cross-cutting stories, about the barons and hucksters who developed the industry, the slow rise of medical and civic concern over smoking and the industry's increasingly obfuscatory and combative stance. Kluger has harsh words for government regulators, long too timid to take on a powerful industry. And while he ultimately indicts industry leader Philip Morris, his narrative suggests that the company, which has moved overseas and also diversified into the food business, has been managed with supreme savvy. Kluger concludes with an innovative policy remedy: because the tobacco companies will inevitably lose big in court someday, why not trade a federal exemption from lawsuits for limits on advertising, higher cigarette taxes, an end to tobacco price supports and required reductions on tar and nicotine?
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Two recent releases chronicle the history of the current political status of the controversial tobacco industry from different vantage points. Kluger's (The Paper, LJ 10/15/87) Ashes to Ashes is riveting and highly readable despite its length. From the Native American usage of tobacco through the lawsuits of the 1990s, Kluger follows the industry's agricultural and labor practices, technical advances, and marketing campaigns; he also considers research on tobacco's deleterious health effects and the tobacco control movement. Significant personalities and events such as the invention of the cigarette-rolling machine are featured. An extensive bibliography is provided, and a lengthy list of the Phillip Morris executives (and ex-executives!) are interviewed. Suitable for readers of high school age on up, this book belongs in every library. Much more scholarly, The Cigarette Papers focuses more on one company?Brown & Williamson?and one issue?health effects. In 1994, Glantz received an anonymous package containing thousands of pages of internal documents from Brown & Williamson. The author's analysis of these indicate that, public statements to the contrary, the company did indeed know about the health and safety effects of their products and actively sought to suppress the information. The documents, made available by the University of California via the Internet (http://www.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco), are quoted extensively. Also included is a statement by Brown & Williamson in response to the 1995 publication of some of these data in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This work is extemely thorough and at times makes for tedious reading. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Eris Weaver, Marin Inst. for the Prevention of Alcohol & Other Drug Problems, Rohnert, Cal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Often it was compelling reading as well.
P. Meltzer
How we can't seem to learn from previous mistakes and have to keep trying to infringe on the rights of others just because we don't agree on something.
S. Barton
This Pulitzer-Prize winning book shows how and why tobacco is so important to America's history.
Newton Ooi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book to do some research for a project I was working on. It was my intention to skim through the first three-quarters and then to pull what I needed from the last quarter. I ended up reading every word. You would think that a book this large (it's even larger than you think-the print and margins are really small) wouldn't be able to hold your interest, but the author does a wonderful job of relating people and events, while keeping the narrative moving ever forward. The reader comes away with the thought that the history of tobacco is so intertwined with the history of America that it is often difficult to tell them apart. From Jamestown, to the world wars, to the recent lawsuits that have plagued the industry, we see the triumphs and failures of capitalism and freedom, and begin to understand how they can be so wonderful and dangerous at the same time.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Newton Ooi on October 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Just about every great society has one crop whose presence is intertwined throughout its history, effecting the history, culture, and economics of the nation. For China it would be rice, potatoes for Ireland, coca for Columbia, and most likely tobacco for America. This Pulitzer-Prize winning book shows how and why tobacco is so important to America's history. Specifically, the book traces and examines the economic role of tobacco and the economic policies of the tobacco companies (growers, traders, sellers, etc...) from the 1800s on through the 1990s.

Subjects that are covered in this tome include tobacco farming, the making of cigarettes, advertising in papers, radio, TV and billboards, lobbying of govt officials to reduce regulation, PR wars with health advocates, promotion of overseas sales, and of course, the court cases fought between Big Tobacco (RJR,Philip Morris, Brown & Williamson, etc...) and various consumers, consumer groups, government agencies, and governments. The book puts all of this together in a chronological history of tobacco with an emphasis on the role of big corporations like Philip Morris. The author has put this book together using a wide variety of sources both primary and secondary, including a lot of interviews with former and current employees at tobacco companies.

By reading this book, one learns a lot about various aspects of American law, culture, economics, and history. These include consumer relations, agro-business, medical research, lobbying, and advertising. OVerall, this is a great book, and I highly recommend it for anyone to read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By P. Meltzer on September 7, 1997
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is no question but that the book was exhaustively researched and tells you everything you might want to know about the tobacco industry over the past 100 years. Often it was compelling reading as well. But it seems to me it could have been a good deal shorter and still have gotten the main points across--say under 450 pages rather than 750 pages. It seems that every fact Kluger ever uncovered went into this book. As a general matter, I also found the book much more interesting when it was talking about the "bad guys" (i.e. the tobacco industry and particularly their advertisers), rather than the efforts of the various anti-tobacco groups to show the harmful effects of smoking. I found those sections comparatively tedious. No question that the book is quite an accomplishment though and I would certainly recommend it although I didn't find it necessary to digest every word
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is not a book for a quick casual read. Kluger offers a comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and exhaustive history of the cigarette industry in this country. I was fascinated to learn of the backgrounds of the major players, and the data leaves no question that they deliberately set out to addict customers with full knowledge of the consequences. You'll never look at a cigarette ad or display the same way again.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book is a masterpiece by Dick Kluger. It covers every aspect of the tobacco industry. FromNewport to the Native-Americans. It was enjoyable, well written, informative and objective. Despite the current climate of anti-smoking, Kluger takes a neutral; he wasn't a shill for Philip Morris and he wasn't a shill form Willaim Novilli and the rest of the anti-tobacco crazys. After you read this book, you will know everything that there is to know about tobacco and cigarettes. He fulfils everything that was promised in the sub-title: Americas hundred year cigarette war - check. The Public Health- check. The unabashed trimph of Philip Morris double-check. I couldn't put this book down. You think that this book is only a few pages- despite it's 800 pages. It is fast reading. And it will be one of the best books you'll ever read!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bob Manson on July 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm not a smoker (fortunately my parents totally discouraged me from it, and I had enough smarts to avoid it anyway) but I found this history of the cigarette industry to be quite interesting--especially the facts about the early years.
It got a little dry towards the end, and the whole indictment of the industry has gotten a bit repetitious; I suspect at the time the book was published the message was new, but the message has gotten old fast. (Yes, it's clear that they knew about the health issues, and yes, they did very little about it.)
Overall it's a good read, especially the first half. If you're at all curious about how the cigarette industry came to be, the book does a great job of describing the companies and personalities involved.
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