Smoke: A Global History of Smoking

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Evening Standard
"There is an undeniable pleasure to be taken in Smoke's copious visual material."—Evening Standard
Mail on Sunday
"Exquisitely produced book . . . like a pack of cigarettes, it's something to be dipped into for smoky treats."—Mail on Sunday
The Times Higher Education Supplement - Nigel Barley
"In what is perhaps the high point of the book, Daniel Gilman offers an outstanding and subtle analysis of the way in which the question in Japan is not 'to smoke or not to smoke', but rather whether one is smoking correctly. . . The magpie reader will find many little gems here."—Nigel Barley, The Times Higher Education Supplement
The Lancet - Roger Cooter
"This is no book for the pinched-nosed policy-makers casting about for more cheap smoke-screen legislation. And it's hardly a gift for those hoping to stick to New Year's resolutions. But for others who have consigned their ashtrays to Oxfam and forgotten how Santa used to light-up a Lucky Strike after his hard night's work or who can savour the ironies of Christopher Columbus introducing Amero-Indians to church incense before loading up with weed, it's a worthy substitute to pass with the port."—Roger Cooter, The Lancet
Times Literary Supplement - Keith Miller
"Most people . . . will find plenty in it to delight them."—Times Literary Supplement
The Sydney Morning Herald - Ian Hicks
"Smoke is a skilful blend of broad scholarship and general appeal. Comprehensive and well written, it is lavishly illustrated with pages of costly colour and its production is a tribute to the modern printer's art. . . .It could hardly be bettered as a conversation piece."—Ian Hicks, The Sydney Morning Herald
The Age - Cameron Woodhead
"Whether you're a committed smoker or a zealous guardian of public health, this lush coffee-table book about the history of smoking is bound to fascinate."—Cameron Woodhead, The Age
Modern Painters
The contributors to Smoke provide some intriguing insights into the foggy history of the twentieth century's romance with tobacco."—Modern Painters
Boston Globe
"For Gilman and Zhou, smoking is an activity that helps define what it means to be human. Their book . . . confirms the idea that smoking and the theatrical go together."—Boston Globe
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861892003
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 1,300,116
  • 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).

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Table of Contents

Introduction - Sander L. Gilman and Zhou Xun
Ritual Smoking in Central America - Francis Robicsek
The Pleasures and Perils of Smoking in Early Modern England - Tanya Pollard
Smoking in Sub-Saharan Africa - Allen F. Roberts
Tobacco in Iran - Rudi Matthee
Smoking and Ayurvedic Medicine in India - P. Ram Manohar
Tobacco Culture in Japan - Barnabas Tatsuya Suzuki
Smoking in Imperial China - Timothy Brook
Tobacco in Edo Period Japan - Timon Screech
How Do We Smoke? Accessories and Utensils - Ben Rapaport
The Belle Epoque of Opium - Jos Ten Berge
The Opium Den in Victorian London - Barry Milligan
Smoking and Sociability - Matthew Hilton
Havana Cigars and the West's Imagination - Jean Stubbs
A Century of Kretek - Mark Hanusz
Ganja in Jamaica - J. Edward Chamberlin and Barry Chevannes
Smoking and All That Jazz - Stephen Cottrell
Smoking in Modern China - Zhou Xun
Smoking in Modern Japan - Daniel Gilman
Cigarettes in Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia - Ruth Mandel
The Cocaine Experience - Alberto Castoldi
Smoking & Sociability
Symbol and Image: Smoking in Art since the Seventeenth Century - Benno Tempel
The Houkah in the Harem: On Smoking and Orientalist Art - Ivan Davidson Kalmar
Smoking in Opera - Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon
In Praise of Lady Nicotine: A Bygone Era of Prose, Poetry...and Presentation - Eugene Umberger
Cinematic Smoke: From Weimar to Hollywood - Noah Isenberg
Emblems of Emptiness: Smoking as a Way of Life in Jean Eustache's La Maman et la Putain - Dawn Marlan
Smoking & Art
Jews and Smoking - Sander L. Gilman
The Commodified African American in Nineteenth-Century Tobacco Art - Dolores Mitchell
Women and Nineteenth-Century Images of Smoking - Dolores Mitchell
Toward a Queer History of Smoking - Robyn L. Schiffman
Gender & Ethnicity
Why Do We Smoke?: The Physiology of Smoking - Leslie Iverson
Smoking, Science and Medicine - John Welshman
Engineering Consumer Confidence in the Twentieth Century - Allan M. Brandt
Marlboro Man and the Stigma of Smoking - Patrick W. Corrigan
Smoking & Advertising
Select Bibliography
Photographic Acknowledgements

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  • 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

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