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

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Ashes to Ashes is a monumental history of the American tobacco industry: its awesome and ironic success in developing the cigarette, modern society's most widespread instrument of self-destruction, into America's most profitable consumer product: its energized, work-obsessed royal families, the Dukes and the Reynoldes, and their battling successors like the eccentric autocrat George Washington Hill and the feisty Joseph F. Cullman: its generations of entrepreneurial geniuses: its cunning business strategies and ...
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first Good [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ] [ Edition: first ] Publisher: Knopf Pub Date: 4/14/1996 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 807.

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1996 Hardcover Good Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not ... include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority! Read more Show Less

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

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Overview

Ashes to Ashes is a monumental history of the American tobacco industry: its awesome and ironic success in developing the cigarette, modern society's most widespread instrument of self-destruction, into America's most profitable consumer product: its energized, work-obsessed royal families, the Dukes and the Reynoldes, and their battling successors like the eccentric autocrat George Washington Hill and the feisty Joseph F. Cullman: its generations of entrepreneurial geniuses: its cunning business strategies and marketing dazzle: its deft political power plays: its relentless, often devious attacks on antismoking forces in science, public health, and government. And there is the weirdly symbiotic relationship of an industry geared at any cost to sell, sell, sell cigarettes, and an American public habituated to ignore all warnings and buy, buy, buy. Here is how the leaf that was the New World's most passionately devoured gift to the Old grew into humankind's most dangerous consumer product, employing whole rural populations, fattening tax revenues, and spawning a ring of fiercely competitive corporate superpowers; how tobacco's peerless public-relations spinners, applied their techniques to becloud the overwhelming evidence of the cigarette's lethal and addictive nature; and finally, at this historic moment in the cigarette wars, how both the besieged industry and the aroused public-health forces nationwide are maneuvering as the battle rages ever more ferociously.
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Editorial Reviews

Michael Ross

Warnings, bulletins and cautionary tales about the dangers of cigarette smoking have combined scare tactics and semi-friendly advice for years. But in Ashes to Ashes -- Richard Kluger's incisive, funny and altogether magisterial new book about America's love affair with nicotine -- we've finally got a book that chronicles the chilling rise of Big Tobacco, and puts our deadliest little habit into perspective as a phenomenon that colors virtually every facet of American business, culture and identity.

Ashes to Ashes weighs in at a whopping 832 pages, but Kluger -- previously the author of The Paper, an equally detailed study of the celebrated New York Herald Tribune -- doesn't waste a word. We follow tobacco's history in America from its cultivation by English settlers in Virginia (unlike many products, it thrived in the porous clay soil and the quasi-tropical climate of the American South) to its status as a cash crop that rescued the southern states from the economic ravages of the Civil War. Just as notably, Kluger has a firm grasp on the myriad roles that cigarettes have played in our culture: as boredom killer; talisman for Bogie and Bette in the movies; the soldier's best friend.

With a novelist's vivid characterizations and firm tone, Kluger's book examines the emergence f the major players of the cigarette industry. Yet the bulk of Ashes to Ashes is an exacting look at the rise of Philip Morris. The company has dramatically expanded its market share, most notably in 1954 when Marlboro (originally created as a woman's brand) was re-introduced. Thanks largely to Marlboro's success, Philip Morris went on to dominate the industry. Later, in the 1980s, it acquired companies whose products -- from beer to frozen vegetables -- would insulate it from the growing negative attention paid to the company's core business.

To Kluger's credit, his journalism is shot through with humanity and more than a little compassion for smokers themselves. He uses sobering statistics and information (much of it never before published) rather than noisy emotion to reveal both the dangers of smoking and the wildly duplicitous positions the big tobacco makers have taken over the years. There's no good advice, the old saw goes, like a good scare. If Ashes to Ashes doesn't get you to quit, maybe nothing will. -- Salon

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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? Apr.
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394570761
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/14/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 832
  • Product dimensions: 6.61 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 1.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Kluger began a career in journalism at The Wall Street Journal, and was a writer for Forbes magazine and then the New York Post before becoming literary editor of the New York Herald Tribune during its final years. In book publishing he served as executive editor at Simon and Schuster, and editor-in-chief at Atheneum. A fulltime writer since 1974, he is the author of two other works of social history — Simple Justice, an account of the epochal 1954 Supreme Court decision outlawing school segregation, and The Paper, on the life and death of the Herald Tribune; each was nominated for the National Book Award. The best known of his six novels are Members of the Tribe and The Sheriff of Nottingham. Kluger and his wife, Phyllis, who have two sons and have written two novels together, live near Princton, New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: A Quick Drag
1 Adoring the Devil's Breath 3
2 The Earth with a Fence Around It 30
3 It Takes the Hair Right Off Your Bean 54
4 The Golden Age of Malarkey 80
5 "Shall We Just Have a Cigarette on It?" 112
6 The Filter Tip and Other Placebos 141
7 The Anguish of the Russian Count 183
8 Grand Inquisitors 221
9 Marlboro Mirage 263
10 Three-Ton Dog oil the Prowl 298
11 Stroking the Sow's Ear 349
12 Let There Be Light 387
13 Breeding a One-Fanged Rattler 412
14 The Heights of Arrogance 447
15 The Calling of Philip Morris 490
16 Of Dragonslayers and Pond Scum 536
17 Chow Lines 580
18 Melancholy Rose 639
19 Smooth Characters 678
20 Blowing Smoke 723
A Note on Sources and Acknowledgments 764
Selected Bibliography 768
Notes 773
Index 791
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