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From the Publisher
"Burnham, one of the first modern scholars to bring a new point of view to the Prohibition era (i.e. that Prohibition worked) now addresses a constellation of American 'bad habits' with the same fresh insight. Readers will be fascinated by well-documented and illustrated information about the genesis of habits such as cigarette smoking, taking drugs, drinking, swearing, and 'swinging.' Burnham breaks from the traditional 'history of reform' by concentrating not on reformers but on the proponents of misbehavior. A combination of economic greed on the part of many large corporations and a spirit of rebelliousness, enormously stimulated by the media, opened the way for the nihilistic advocacy of bad habits."
"A provocative, refreshing, and not-to-be-ignored account of America's 'rituals of transgression' by one of the foremost historians of American culture writing today. Burnham turns the conventional history of America's anti-vice crusades on its head in this fascinating account of how the bad habits of the 19th-century Victorian underworld became the 'minor-vice industrial complex' of the 20th century. Burnham shows how powerful economic interests, mass media advertising, and the entertainment industry worked to make bad habits into big business. Bad Habits is an eye-opening, disturbing, and timely social history of our national vices."
-Nancy J. Tomes,SUNY, Stony Brook