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Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition Hardcover – February 28, 2012


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

  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520270169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520270169
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Draws on previously confidential industry documents and Proctor’s own experience as the first historian to testify in court about [industry] lies. What lies? How deep into the pleural linings did they go? All the way.”
(Harper's Magazine 2012-05-01)

“Lays out in head-shaking detail how a handful of companies painstakingly designed, produced, and mass-marketed the most lethal product on the planet.”
(Mother Jones 2012-05-11)

“[A] monumental and sobering indictment.”
(Nature 2011-12-08)

“Proctor documents a breadth and depth of the industry’s duplicitous actions that is astounding.”
(Science (AAAS) 2012-07-27)

“A nearly 800-page book that begins as the Bible of the twentieth-century cigarette industry only to end as its millennial counterblaste.”
(Joshua Cohen Harper's 2012-05-01)

“Proctor challenges his readers to conceptualize a much happier and healthier world in which the manufacture and sale of cigarettes is prohibited.”
(The Huffington Post 2012-02-14)

“A landmark study in medicine and the history of science, and of an industry [Proctor] describes as ‘evil.’”
(Toronto Globe & Mail 2012-04-06)

“Proctor’s extensive use of previously secret tobacco industry documents makes his case convincing, even compelling.”
(Katherine E. Kenny Sociology/Science Studies, University of California San Diego Global Public Health 2012-12-06)

“An invaluable reference for historians interested in the tobacco industry, health and medicine, or marketing in the twentieth century.”
(Karen Miller Russell, University of Georgia Jrnl Of American History 2013-01-02)

“A comprehensive and devastating account of tobacco industry perfidy in promoting the sale of its deadly cigarettes.”
(Barron H. Lerner, New York University School of Medicine Bulletin Of The History Of Medicine 2013-01-23)

“A historian’s testimony on his own terms. . . . Entertaining and hard-hitting.”
(Carol Benedict, Georgetown University American Historical Review 2013-02-17)

“A passionate work and not for the faint of heart.”
(American Journal Of Epidemiology 2012-04-10)

“Engaging, inexhaustible with information, and driven.”
(Chronicle Of Higher Education 2012-03-22)

From the Inside Flap

“The great cause of global health is in Robert Proctor’s debt. Golden Holocaust is a model of impassioned scholarly research and advocacy. As Proctor so powerfully demonstrates, the time has come to hold the tobacco industry accountable for the massive disease, debility, and death that they produce around the world.”--Allan M. Brandt, author of The Cigarette Century

"Robert Proctor unpacks the sad history of an industrial fraud. His tightly reasoned exploration touches on all topics on which the tobacco makers lied repeatedly to Congress and the public."--Don Kennedy, President Emeritus, Stanford University and former Editor, Science

"This book is a remarkable compendium of evil. It will keep you spinning from page one through the last with a detailed description of how one of the most notorious industries in American history deceived and manipulated the public, the politicians, and the scientific community into allowing an age-old toxin to be breathed directly into the lungs of millions of Americans. It is the type of book that makes you wonder how, in God’s name, this could have happened?"-David Rosner, author of Deceit and Denial

"Proctor powerfully documents how a small number of tobacco companies caused a tragic, global epidemic. His account of this history and of the 'lessons learned' is relevant to the ongoing effort to end the tobacco epidemic and to efforts to control emerging pandemics of non-communicable diseases." --Jonathan M. Samet, M.D., M.S., Director, Institute for Global Health, University of Southern California

“Proctor weaves together the public historical record with inside details and insights from thousands of once secret industry documents. Anyone who cares about health, deception, science or politics will learn something new from this book.”-Stanton A. Glantz, Professor of Medicine, UC San Francisco, and author of The Cigarette Papers

"A powerful indictment of the world's deadliest industry"-John R. Seffrin, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, American Cancer Society

"By carefully analyzing formerly secret industry documents, Proctor has shown how cigarette manufacturers knew that the "filters" on virtually all cigarettes sold today are utterly fraudulent. His call for a ban is likely to change how we think about such devices; this excellent book is a must read for tobacco control and environmental activists alike."--Thomas E. Novotny, MD MPH, Former US Assistant Surgeon General and CEO, Cigarette Butt Pollution Project.

"Scholarly yet eminently readable, indeed gripping, this book asks us to consider what the end game for tobacco might look like. A must-read for policy makers and public health officials, and for anyone struggling against the tobacco industry in the field."--Professor Judith Mackay, Senior Advisor, World Lung Foundation, Hong Kong, China SAR"

"The machine-rolled cigarette is the single most deadly consumer product ever made. Proctor's powerful, witty, and wide-ranging book shows how we came to accept as normal the promotion and use of products that have caused a global epidemic of disease and death. But more importantly, he outlines a way to end this grim chapter in human history."--Ruth E. Malone, RN, PhD, FAAN, Editor, Tobacco Control

“This is the most important book on smoking in fifty years. Proctor’s unique mix of scholarship, readability, wit and political understanding tells a no-holds-barred story with conclusions that governments cannot afford to ignore. It will change the course of public health history.”--Professor Mike Daube, President, Australian Council on Smoking and Health

"Proctor draws masterfully from a vast archive of documents wrested from the industry, including many never before discussed, and mounts an unforgettable case about what the tobacco industry has done and what we must do about it. This is the book to help us understand what we must do to save lives."--Peter Galison, author of Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps

"Golden Holocaust will stand indelibly as a landmark in the field of medicine and the history of science. It is a monument of committed scholarship and cool passion, making brilliant use of the new technics of data-mining to reveal a terrible calculus, while giving the lie to claims that advocacy must be the enemy of objectivity. Lives, far too many lives, depend on what this book contains."--Iain Boal, Birkbeck College, London and Guggenheim Fellow in Science and Technology

"Robert Proctor draws an unvarnished conclusion: that the tobacco industry, and the men who led it, were evil, plain and simple. They knowingly sold a product that, when used as intended, killed people. And then they conspired to suppress the evidence. Not everyone will agree with Proctor, but anyone interested in the intertwined issues of science and health, and culture and commerce, needs to read this book."--Naomi Oreskes, coauthor of Merchants of Doubt

“Robert Proctor lays bare the deliberate choices made by the tobacco companies to addict their customers and cause premature death. Here is clarity to the unprecedented scientific fraud perpetrated by the tobacco industry.”--William A. Farone, Ph.D. Chairman, Applied Power Concepts, Inc. (formerly Director of Scientific Research for Philip Morris USA, 1977-1984).



Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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This is a very readable and important book.
linda c lute
It is especially upsetting to read of the vast number of well-known people who have cooperated with the tobacco industry, even in recent years.
John Mashey
A fantastic example of how human intelligence can connect the crucial pieces of information.
P.H.E.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By John Mashey on January 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read Allan Brandt's The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America, David Michaels'Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health, Proctor's earlier Cancer Wars: How Politics Shapes What We Know And Don't Know About Cancer and Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance, among others. I have also spent many dozens of hours rummaging in the UCSF tobacco archives.

Still, I am learning a great deal from this meticulously-documented book, which articulates the pervasive history of an industry that survives only by addicting children while their brains are developing. I thought I was reasonably familiar with the tactics and the people involved. I was wrong - almost every page reveals more examples. It is especially upsetting to read of the vast number of well-known people who have cooperated with the tobacco industry, even in recent years.

I repeat just one of many horribly-fascinating quotes (p.114), from Bob Herbert's interview with David Goerlitz, the "Winston Man."
'Goerlitz then asked whether any of the company's executives smoke and got this answer: "Are you kidding? We reserve that right for the poor, the young, the black and the stupid.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Hamann on January 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am pleased to say I have read and greatly enjoyed this book. As others have already stated, the tobacco industry and various of its co-conspirators are exposed in Proctor's Golden Holocaust. This includes a history of lies, fraud, conspiracy to defraud and misrepresent, illegal actions, and entwining politicians, academics, public relations experts and media reporters, and many others in deceiving the public, various government authorities and health officials in believing a manufactured history of the tobacco industry and its products. For tobacco companies, perception is reality, and they are like magicians who use influence, distraction, diversion and timing to free themselves from the chains of their unethical and fatal entrapments. Yet hundreds of millions of their customers are freed only by an early death.

If this was the only message of this book, then it would just be another, very in-depth indictment of an industry already found guilty through the RICO, organized crime law in the US. The US government decision against the tobacco companies runs 1,700 pages and also documents the nefarious history of the industry. What is important to me, in addition to the scholarship in tracing the web of deceit and fraud of the industry, is the fact that the author provides some recommendations for action against the industry. There are 20 recommendations; ten the author calls obvious solutions, mostly designed to reduce demand, and ten that are less obvious, but in my mind more important. History is a teacher that we ignore at our peril, so it is important to see the kinds of supply-side measures and proposals that the author suggests.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Harry Lando on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will not comment in detail because the prior reviews have done an excellent job of summarizing key points of this outstanding resource. What I found unusual in addition to the very impressive scholarship and documentation is how engaging the writing is even when addressing such complex issues as causation and chemical constituents of tobacco smoke. There are many points that are both fascinating and horrifying. Perhaps what surprised me the most is how much I did not know previously despite my many years in this field. I have been actively promoting the book to all those who are concerned about the tobacco epidemic and how this epidemic might be addressed despite the power of the tobacco industry. Golden Holocaust will fascinate scholars and lay readers alike and will be a major reference for many years to come. Even very knowledgeable readers will be surprised by many of the revelations in this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Norbert Hirschhorn on April 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Historian Robert Proctor has provided comprehensive answers to the necessary questions first made famous by the Watergate scandal: What did the tobacco industry know about their death-dealing product, and when did they know it? As Proctor illustrates by examination of internal company documents (made available through successive law suits), industry scientists and executives knew at least by mid-20th century, and long before anyone else, that cigarettes caused cancer and death. A third question posed is what they did with that knowledge. Proctor presents exhaustive evidence that the companies conspired to hide the truth for over fifty years, secretly recruiting and suborning scientists, academics, journalists, historians and others in the process of the cover-up. Federal Judge Gladys Kessler in United States v. Philip Morris, et al (2006) ruled that the US tobacco industry was guilty of racketeering: it had falsely denied marketing to youth; falsely disclaimed it had manipulated cigarette design; misrepresented that `light' and low tar cigarettes were somehow less dangerous; denied the ill-effects of second hand smoke; and, finally suppressed the evidence of its malfeasance. This 737-page book (including more than 150 pages of necessary notes, index and appendices) is meant to stand as a powerful evidentiary testimonial; no wonder the tobacco industry challenges its use in courts. Proctor provides details new even to this reviewer who has also researched industry documents (and whose work is acknowledged by the author).

The book comprises four fact-laden sections: Part One illustrates how the cigarette became the scourge of the 20th century, responsible for some 100 million deaths, the product eventually killing half of those who use it as intended.
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