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Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition [Format Kindle]

Robert N. Proctor

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

The cigarette is the deadliest artifact in the history of human civilization. It is also one of the most beguiling, thanks to more than a century of manipulation at the hands of tobacco industry chemists. In Golden Holocaust, Robert N. Proctor draws on reams of formerly-secret industry documents to explore how the cigarette came to be the most widely-used drug on the planet, with six trillion sticks sold per year. He paints a harrowing picture of tobacco manufacturers conspiring to block the recognition of tobacco-cancer hazards, even as they ensnare legions of scientists and politicians in a web of denial. Proctor tells heretofore untold stories of fraud and subterfuge, and he makes the strongest case to date for a simple yet ambitious remedy: a ban on the manufacture and sale of cigarettes.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 4233 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 776 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : B009CPQVHA
  • Editeur : University of California Press; Édition : 1 (28 février 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B007FD2RJM
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5  27 commentaires
55 internautes sur 58 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A truly important book, appropriately horrifying 20 janvier 2012
Par John R Mashey - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I have read Allan Brandt's The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America, David Michaels'Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health, Proctor's earlier Cancer Wars: How Politics Shapes What We Know And Don't Know About Cancer and Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance, among others. I have also spent many dozens of hours rummaging in the UCSF tobacco archives.

Still, I am learning a great deal from this meticulously-documented book, which articulates the pervasive history of an industry that survives only by addicting children while their brains are developing. I thought I was reasonably familiar with the tactics and the people involved. I was wrong - almost every page reveals more examples. It is especially upsetting to read of the vast number of well-known people who have cooperated with the tobacco industry, even in recent years.

I repeat just one of many horribly-fascinating quotes (p.114), from Bob Herbert's interview with David Goerlitz, the "Winston Man."
'Goerlitz then asked whether any of the company's executives smoke and got this answer: "Are you kidding? We reserve that right for the poor, the young, the black and the stupid."

Tobacco marketeers seem the best in the world, terrifically inventive, but not in a good way. Pitting their skills against the judgement of children seems an unfair match. I'm learning they have been far more inventive than I thought. Adults can do as they wish, but very few adults start smoking and keep doing it. The typical age when adult smokers first started has moved down from the late teens to early teens. Proctor traces the various marketing campaigns that accomplished that goal (pp.71-83).

Proctor also discusses an odd connection of tobacco and climate change (pp.516-518). Tobacco production, distribution and use has a surprisingly high CO2 footprint, starting with cutting trees not just to grow tobacco but to cure it. Perhaps worse, tobacco pioneered many of the disinformation and doubt-creating tactics found pervasively today around environmental issues, as per Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Many of the main thinktanks involved in such activities turn out to have long histories of getting money from tobacco companies to help them. (Thank you, tobacco archives. It is a wonderful resource, as Proctor notes.)

The book's blurbs are from real experts, so I can add little, but to say this is very important book.
It will upset people ... and people should be upset.
30 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Scholarship pointing to a solution 1 février 2012
Par Stephen Hamann - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I am pleased to say I have read and greatly enjoyed this book. As others have already stated, the tobacco industry and various of its co-conspirators are exposed in Proctor's Golden Holocaust. This includes a history of lies, fraud, conspiracy to defraud and misrepresent, illegal actions, and entwining politicians, academics, public relations experts and media reporters, and many others in deceiving the public, various government authorities and health officials in believing a manufactured history of the tobacco industry and its products. For tobacco companies, perception is reality, and they are like magicians who use influence, distraction, diversion and timing to free themselves from the chains of their unethical and fatal entrapments. Yet hundreds of millions of their customers are freed only by an early death.

If this was the only message of this book, then it would just be another, very in-depth indictment of an industry already found guilty through the RICO, organized crime law in the US. The US government decision against the tobacco companies runs 1,700 pages and also documents the nefarious history of the industry. What is important to me, in addition to the scholarship in tracing the web of deceit and fraud of the industry, is the fact that the author provides some recommendations for action against the industry. There are 20 recommendations; ten the author calls obvious solutions, mostly designed to reduce demand, and ten that are less obvious, but in my mind more important. History is a teacher that we ignore at our peril, so it is important to see the kinds of supply-side measures and proposals that the author suggests. In the end, the author suggests that manufactured tobacco products be abolished as a fitting realization of our neglect of the reality of tobacco's brutal consequences as a consumer product. His many recommendations are important possibilities for immediate action to get to that final resolution.

I recommend this and other historical books, for example, The Cigarette Century and the free online, Inherently Bad, and Bad Only, which shed light on tobacco control history and how pervasively the tobacco industry has insinuated itself and its products into the consumer culture. The take away message from this book for me is that history should be a motivator to fundamental change of a broken corporate and consumer system which continues to allow the `free trade' of the deadliest, most costly product of all time.
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Incredibly important, eminently readable 9 mars 2012
Par Harry Lando - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I will not comment in detail because the prior reviews have done an excellent job of summarizing key points of this outstanding resource. What I found unusual in addition to the very impressive scholarship and documentation is how engaging the writing is even when addressing such complex issues as causation and chemical constituents of tobacco smoke. There are many points that are both fascinating and horrifying. Perhaps what surprised me the most is how much I did not know previously despite my many years in this field. I have been actively promoting the book to all those who are concerned about the tobacco epidemic and how this epidemic might be addressed despite the power of the tobacco industry. Golden Holocaust will fascinate scholars and lay readers alike and will be a major reference for many years to come. Even very knowledgeable readers will be surprised by many of the revelations in this book.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The cigarette catastrophe 25 avril 2012
Par Norbert Hirschhorn - Publié sur
Historian Robert Proctor has provided comprehensive answers to the necessary questions first made famous by the Watergate scandal: What did the tobacco industry know about their death-dealing product, and when did they know it? As Proctor illustrates by examination of internal company documents (made available through successive law suits), industry scientists and executives knew at least by mid-20th century, and long before anyone else, that cigarettes caused cancer and death. A third question posed is what they did with that knowledge. Proctor presents exhaustive evidence that the companies conspired to hide the truth for over fifty years, secretly recruiting and suborning scientists, academics, journalists, historians and others in the process of the cover-up. Federal Judge Gladys Kessler in United States v. Philip Morris, et al (2006) ruled that the US tobacco industry was guilty of racketeering: it had falsely denied marketing to youth; falsely disclaimed it had manipulated cigarette design; misrepresented that `light' and low tar cigarettes were somehow less dangerous; denied the ill-effects of second hand smoke; and, finally suppressed the evidence of its malfeasance. This 737-page book (including more than 150 pages of necessary notes, index and appendices) is meant to stand as a powerful evidentiary testimonial; no wonder the tobacco industry challenges its use in courts. Proctor provides details new even to this reviewer who has also researched industry documents (and whose work is acknowledged by the author).

The book comprises four fact-laden sections: Part One illustrates how the cigarette became the scourge of the 20th century, responsible for some 100 million deaths, the product eventually killing half of those who use it as intended. First came the way the tobacco leaf was cured: slowly, over charcoal (`flue-curing') that produced a smoke one could inhale. Air-cured tobacco, like that in cigars, was too strong. Then came the automated machinery that could turn out millions of sticks in a short time (trillions are produced and smoked each year). World Wars I and II provided the companies with soldier-customers given smokes cheaply or for free, and who then returned home addicted. The tobacco industry invented modern advertising and marketing, the most seductive and accomplished to date to make smoking seem normal, social, athletic and glamorous. Even though there were early movements to ban cigarettes as dangerous products, governments decided that the tax revenues from tobacco were too easy a source of income to surrender. Finally, and perhaps most crucial, certain additives such as ammonia (or its derivatives) and sugars made nicotine quickly available to the brain, inducing an addiction harder to overcome than even heroin and cocaine, as documented by the US Surgeon General. `Ammonia Technology' made Marlboro the most sought after brand in the world. Numerous surveys show that three-fourths or more of smokers wish they'd never begun or would like to quit.

Part Two illustrates the first evidence that tobacco caused cancer and premature death, with credible hints coming as early as the end of the nineteenth century. Certainly by mid-twentieth century the evidence was robust enough to alarm the tobacco companies into a defensive reaction. Part Three is the heart of the book, piling fact on fact obtained from internal company documents to show how the industry conspired to deny both the disease and addiction-causing properties of cigarettes. Worse, Proctor demonstrates how the industry engineered the cigarette to assure addiction; and how firms introduced filter tips and `light' cigarettes knowingly to give false assurance of `safer' smokes to consumers concerned about cancer. Part Four tells us `what's actually in your cigarette': cyanide, carbon monoxide, dozens of cancer causing agents - including radioactive polonium 210 - and substances to make the poison go down more easily.

After hundreds of pages there may have been no more capacity to show except in summary how the multinational tobacco companies have expanded into developing countries whose citizens will soon suffer the greater proportion of mortality. It may be useful at some point for the author and publisher to issue for the lay reader a thin digest of all the revelations.

`What must be done?' Proctor asks. He usefully supplies a roster of anti-tobacco measures, which include many already undertaken such as higher taxes, bans on public smoking, bans on many kinds of advertising and promotion, etc., as well as some novel ideas. These, however, are only temporary measures against an industry infinitely adroit and shape-shifting. What if tobacco were a poisonous strain of spinach, wouldn't it been banned outright long ago, asks Proctor? Banning the production, sale and use of tobacco (at least in its combustible form) is the necessary step to prevent hundreds of millions of more deaths in the coming decades. It is a brave pronouncement.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Awesome! A powerful weapon to bring down the tobacco criminals. 28 mars 2013
Par Wild Dove - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
When we know that cigarettes kill by the hundreds of millions, why do we give licenses and corporate charters instead of prison sentences to these people? I have not finished reading this big book but have not read anything as comprehensive or as well-written in my year and a half of research into what the tobacco "industry" is doing to smokers. Of special interest to me in my Stop Kids Smoking video project is Proctor's documentation of the ever-present scheming of Big Tobacco, I call them the International Tobacco Crime Family, to lure children and youth into addiction. I write this from Argentina where the Ministry of Health reports that 50% of children between 12-17 years are already addicted! A billlion people will die from tobacco in this century unless we stop this holocaust unleashed by the ITCF; the Black Plague "only" killed 75 million. Golden Holocaust is a great contribution to the rescue of humanity from a fate worse than death.
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