3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2007
Brandt has written one of the most interesting books I've read in a long time.
From late 19th C to early 21 C, the deceptive practices of the tobacco companies around the world are outlined in all their gory (and lethal) detail. Brandt pitches the rise and 'fall' of the the cigarette in the context of the companies' astounding marketing strategies, political strategies, and more recently, legal wranglings. Their ability to quite literally change societies, cultural norms, governments, to support demand for their product is quite amazing.
Curiously, I approached this book with the aim of getting some understand of how big tobacco was 'beaten'. To my amazement, the conclusion I was left with was rather worrying. Efforts to contain the activites of the tobacco companies are far from over; whilst moderately successful in the west the rest of world is ripe for the plucking. Brandt outlines their strategies of probing deep into emerging markets and offers some projections on the number of smokers in the coming century; the figures make for some shocking conclusions.
Well written, very interesting, often morbidly amusing, well recommended.