Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris
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Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  96 ratings  ·  14 reviews
No book before this one has rendered the story of cigarettes -- mankind's most common self-destructive instrument and its most profitable consumer product -- with such sweep and enlivening detail.

Here for the first time, in a story full of the complexities and contradictions of human nature, all the strands of the historical process -- financial, social, psychological, med...more
ebook, 832 pages
Published May 26th 2010 by Vintage (first published 1996)
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Jan 29, 2012 Colleen rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Colleen by: found it at library
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I wish I could have finished this book. It was just so dry and way too in depth. I picked this up wanting to get a better understanding of just how shady the tobacco industry is. I didn't need it to explain how the body metabolizes nicotine or the myriad of other chemical reactions that takes place and while an overview of the history of is to be expected I didn't really need to know it's history in detail from the time of the fricken bronze age. By the time I got to the meat and potatoes of the...more
Incredible depiction of how the tobacco industry manipulated policymakers and the public to distort the debate about the health risks and regulation of tobacco. The lessons the industry learned have been adopted by the NRA and the food industry, with the former closely replicating the biggest successes of cigarette manufacturers (preemption and libertarian rhetoric) and the latter realizing they need to figure out a strategy to reign in the damage of sugar and fat content before the government t...more
Didn't think it was possible for me to think less of cigarette manufacturers but this book made that happen. To know what they have known for so long and to continue to peddle cigarettes in the way that they have is just incredible. This exhausting story of the history of the cigarette industry is fascinating in the way that the industry has manipulated so many in the quest of dollars. I use examples from this book in my economics courses--you can't make up better examples of predatory pricing a...more
Kevin Ng
I like the book, and it gave me a lot of history and background about cigarette companies.definitely worth reading!
Fascinating. It was a bit slow to start, but by the end (warning: it's almost 900 pages of pretty dense history) I had a much better grasp of the history, science, and politics of the tobacco industry - both in America and internationally - than I had ever had before. He writes with various people, companies, and interest groups as protagonists, like a sprawling Latin American family epic, and is remarkably even-handed at the same time as he recognizes the indisputable medical/moral aspects of s...more
Jewell Anderson
Aug 21, 2007 Jewell Anderson rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: societal pundits/ social historians
V. interesting, Pulitzer winning treatise on this most pernicious industry. And, while the author does manage to successfully imbue the characters with enough, well, character to keep readers engaged I found the pace a bit dulling. This is another "by read I mean didn't finish" (see also: Bury The Chains); however I may get back to this one...
For the most part, a fascinating history of tobacco and tobacco companies that answers many questions you may have had about cigarette branding & advertising. Just who was Philip Morris anyway? Later, it becomes a polemic as the author gleefully chronicles the lawsuit era.
Bridget Reed
Really incredible detail and revealed a lot of things that I was completely in the dark about. Difficult to read due to the sheer depth of information that makes it difficult to keep the companies and characters in order.
Adam Schweigert
Sooooo looong. That said, if you're really interested in public health and corporations' ability to thwart government action then this is a worthwhile read. Just know that it's very dry and goes into excruciating detail.
For those who is (or was) working in cigarette/tobacco company, this book is deserved to read. A pullitzer-price winner, a bit dense and tiring with a lot of fact, but anyway an eye-opener of this industry.
3.5 stars

This book alternates between being extremely fascinating and extremely tedious. I only wish it were a little newer, and thus more relevant.
Yawn. Terribly dry and unexciting. It's been a while since I read it, but I remember trying to like it.
Big book but interesting history of cigarette industry.
Alexander widrow
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Richard Kluger (b. 1934) worked as a journalist before becoming an accomplished Pulitzer Prize-winning author and book publisher.

Kluger has written books of fiction and social history. He is the author of six novels (and two others with his wife, Phyllis). Two of his books are National Book Award finalists, Simple Justice and The Paper (a history of the Herald Tribune). Moreover, his historical st...more
More about Richard Kluger...
Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek: A Tragic Clash Between White and Native America The Sheriff of Nottingham The Paper: The life and death of the New York Herald Tribune Seizing Destiny: How America Grew from Sea to Shining Sea

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