Friday, September 14, 2012

New Arrival: Golden Holocaust

From the inside cover:
"In Golden Holocaust, Robert N. Proctor [Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University] draws on reams of formerly secret industry documents to explore how the cigarette came to be the most widely used drug on the planet, selling six trillion sticks per year."

Just by picking up this rather heavy and heavily documented book, you feel at once as if you are both wiser and more tarnished for the effort.  With over 100 pages of notes, a timeline of global tobacco mergers and acquisitions and a lexicon of industry jargon, you realize that Proctor's aim isn't so much to convince as it is to logically impress.  As if to say, what could be more obvious than the devious nature of big tobacco?  And now, for the solution!  As a culture that (sometimes) resists anything so Orwellian as bans and prohibitions and totalitarian belt-cinching, his argument may be difficult to embrace.  He has certainly succeeded in coaxing you to try.  

For a more detailed review by Peter Monaghan in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Jennifer Nace, Research and Instruction Librarian

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