Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization

Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization

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by Iain Gately
     
 

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Tobacco was first cultivated and enjoyed by the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas, who used it for medicinal, religious, and social purposes long before the arrival of Columbus. But when Europeans began to colonize the American continents, it became something else entirely -- a cultural touchstone of pleasure and success, and a coveted commodity that would

Overview

Tobacco was first cultivated and enjoyed by the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas, who used it for medicinal, religious, and social purposes long before the arrival of Columbus. But when Europeans began to colonize the American continents, it became something else entirely -- a cultural touchstone of pleasure and success, and a coveted commodity that would transform the world economy forever. Iain Gately's Tobacco tells the epic story of an unusual plant and its unique relationship with the history of humanity, from its obscure ancient beginnings, through its rise to global prominence, to its current embattled state today. In a lively narrative, Gately makes the case for the tobacco trade being the driving force behind the growth of the American colonies, the foundation of Dutch trading empire, the underpinning cause of the African slave trade, and the financial basis for our victory in the American Revolution. Informed and erudite, Tobacco is a vivid and provocative look into the complex history of this precious plant. "A rich, complex history ... Deeply engaging and witty." -- Carmela Ciuraru, Los Angeles Times "Ambitious ... informative and perceptive ... Gately is an amusing writer, which is a blessing." -- Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post "[Gately] documents the resourcefulness with which human beings of every class, religion, race, and continent have pursued the lethal leaf." -- John Leland, The New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
What may begin as a reference source for a school project will turn into a full-blown read for some YAs. Tobacco looks at "the evil weed" from an historical perspective that begins 18,000 years ago in the Andes Mountains and spreads to the four corners of the earth. It provides a great deal of interesting information on the role tobacco has played in religion, economics, medicine, war, and many other aspects of society throughout the ages. The reader will find almost 400 pages of black print virtually devoid of illustrations and readability levels that range from tenth grade to college sophomore. The high readability is due, in large part, to long sentences rather than unfamiliar technical vocabulary. The author's conversational writing style does a great deal to counteract the relatively high readability levels. The text is well written, educational, and targeted to the general audience. It might even evoke a gasp of surprise or a chuckle. The reader will also find many interesting items that will perk up any report and spark further reading (e.g., why Adolph Hitler hated smoking; the use of tobacco as a cancer cure). KLIATT Codes: A—Recommended for advanced students and adults. 2001, Grove/Atlantic, 403p. illus. notes. index., Boyd

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802198488
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
12/01/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Iain Gately is the author of the novel The Assessor.

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Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book covers the history of tobacco with praises of those that love the weed, and curses of those who loathe it. Additionally, the book is well cited to the references that the author relied upon. Even if you are opposed to the weed, check out the book, you will find it an interesting read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago