Smoke: A Global History of Smoking

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $33.46
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 11%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $33.46   
  • New (5) from $33.46   
  • Used (2) from $35.54   


Human beings have always smoked, and they probably always will. Every culture in recorded history has smoked something, whether as a cure or for pleasure, whether as part of a ritual or as an aspect of popular culture. It is curious, then, that no history of smoking has been written based on the assumption that smoking – in all of its forms and products – is a cultural phenomenon common to all human societies.

Smoke: A Global History of Smoking examines the culture of smoking in different traditions and locations around the world. From opium dens in Victorian England to tobacco in Edo period Japan, and from ganja and cocaine to Havana cigars, Smoke encompasses the subject as no book has before.

Based in cultural history, it employs a large number of images as part of its evidence: around 300 illustrations document smoking and smokers of many substances including tobacco, scented cigarettes, marijuana, opium and cocaine. The various essays examine the changing role of smoking in high and popular culture, ranging from images used in advertising to the legal and moral critiques of smoking, and from opera to the internet. Smoke will appeal to all those who smoke, all those who used to smoke, and all those who have tried, and failed, to give it up.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861892003
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 601,529
  • Product dimensions: 7.78 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Sander L. Gilman is Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Medicine at the University of Illinois, Chicago. A cultural and literary historian, he is the author or editor of over sixty books, including Health and Illness: Images of Difference (Reaktion Books, 1996).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 9
Ritual smoking in Central America 30
The pleasures and perils of smoking in early modern England 38
Smoking in sub-Saharan Africa 46
Tobacco in Iran 58
Smoking and ayurvedic medicine in India 68
Tobacco culture in Japan 76
Smoking in Imperial China 84
Tobacco in Edo period Japan 92
How do we smoke? : accessories and utensils 100
The Belle Epoque of opium 108
The opium den in Victorian London 118
Smoking and sociability 126
Havana cigars and the West's imagination 134
A century of Kretek 140
Ganja in Jamaica 144
Smoking and all that jazz 154
Smoking in modern China 160
Smoking in modern Japan 172
Cigarettes in Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia 180
The cocaine experience 190
Smoking & sociability 197
Symbol and image : smoking in art since the seventeenth century 206
The Houkah in the harem : on smoking and orientalist art 218
Smoking in opera 230
In praise of Lady Nicotine : a bygone era of prose, poetry...and presentation 236
Cinematic smoke : from Weimar to Hollywood 248
Emblems of emptiness : smoking as a way of life in Jean Eustache's La Maman et al Putain 256
Smoking & art 265
Jews and smoking 278
The commodified African American in nineteenth-century tobacco art 286
Women and nineteenth-century images of smoking 294
Toward a queer history of smoking 304
Gender & ethnicity 309
Why do we smoke? : the physiology of smoking 318
Smoking, science, and medicine 326
Engineering consumer confidence in the twentieth century 332
Marlboro man and the stigma of smoking 344
Smoking & advertising 355
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2005

    Review for Smokers Club, Inc. 1-19-05

    SMOKE: A GLOBAL HISTORY OF SMOKING is an entertaining, informative and absorbing book that describes and illustrates the international human preoccupation with smoking over the past six centuries, beginning with Columbus in 1492. The introduction, written by Sander L. Gilman and Zhou Xun, draws the reader into tobacco's story from the first paragraph. The large, black, beautifully bound and richly presented 400-page volume contains hundreds of illustrations (both in black & white and in color). The artwork is employed to enhance and clarify the multiple essays provided by a variety of qualified writers. The first several chapters are devoted to smoking in history and culture. These encompass the Middle East, Far East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and other portions of the globe, accompanied by many unusual photos, paintings and lithographs. 'The Pleasures and Perils of Smoking in Early Modern England', 'The Opium Den in Victorian London' and 'The Cocaine Experience' are among the chapters included in this section. 'Smoking in the Arts' is especially enjoyable and explains how the use of tobacco products has been incorporated into various forms of entertainment including art, music, opera, theater and movies, punctuated by photographs of famous actors and actresses. As the reader continues, 'Smoking, Gender and Ethnicity' explores the relationship between social attitudes and smoking. This section shows the ways tobacco art and advertising reflected on women, African American and Native Indian stereotypes in the nineteenth-century and promoted anti-Semitism in Europe. Although the entire book supplies informative and interesting content in an entertaining manner, I found myself devoting my undivided attention to 'Smoking: the 'Burning Issue', addressing current smoking issues. Four of the five chapters included are excellent. Only the essay, 'Why Do We Smoke: The Physiology of Smoking' presents a biased, anti-smoker viewpoint by referencing many overused and unproved statistics from previous anti-smoking studies and publications. The author has increased the 'annual number of premature deaths attributed to smoking', commonly referenced by anti-smoking organizations, from 400,000 to 500,000 and describes the advantages of smoking cessation aids including the anti-depressants Bupropion and Prozac. 'Smoking, Science and Medicine' and 'Engineering Consumer Confidence in the Twentieth Century' are very interesting, informative and unbiased. 'Marlboro Man and the Stigma of Smoking' explores the attitude of society toward smokers in the present day. 'Smoking & Advertising' follows the innovative marketing techniques developed by the tobacco industry. Smokers and non-smokers alike will recognize the social engineering techniques described and being used today to influence society, de-normalize smokers and spread smoking bans. These essays definitely rate five stars. 'Smoke: A Global History of Smoking' is unique, well organized and an excellent reference source. Also, among all the unique illustrations and beautiful photos, the smoking Santa Claus (Santa Smoking Lucky Strike at Christmas - 1936) is an absolute MUST SEE! Garnet Dawn Illinois Smokers Group

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)