Reviews Book

Smoke: A Global History of Smoking

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 03 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:313
  1. Michael Neve, medical historian

    This remarkable collection of over 30 essays makes its first impact for two reasons. Firstly, it is beautifully produced and profusely illustrated, while being marketed at a reasonable price. The publishers deserve praise for this increasingly rare event in hardback publishing. Secondly—and one must take this to be an editorial decision—the focus of the collection is the history, not of tobacco or opium, but of smoke and smoking. This simple manoeuvre opens up what can only be called a cultural universe, one with its origins in the earliest known history of humankind and which takes us right up to current debates about very modern objects and their uses: the cigarette and its alleged dangers or the recent fashion for smoking rocks of cocaine, now of course called “crack.”

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    Eds Sander L Gilman, Zhou Xun

    Reaktion, …

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