CIGARETTE WARS

THE TRIUMPH OF THE ``LITTLE WHITE SLAVER''

A brief yet detailed history of the fluctuating popularity of the cigarette in America and of the reform movements dedicated to snuffing it out. According to journalist and historian Tate, in her first book, when James B. Duke created the modern American cigarette industry in the 1880s, the cigarette was demonized as a symbol of moral degeneracy. Only decadent bohemians or unwashed immigrants smoked “coffin nails.” The stigmatized cigarette was an easy target for Progressive Era reformers. In 1899, Lucy Page Gaston founded the Anti-Cigarette League to lobby for the prohibition of smoking. An evangelical Protestant, Gaston forged strong alliances with other reformist groups, such as the YMCA and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Attacking the cigarette as a moral blight, Gaston deemed smoking a “gateway” vice that led to alcoholism, narcotics addiction, gambling, and criminality. Many industrial leaders, notably Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and John Harvey Kellogg, refused to hire smokers because “they simply could not be trusted.” Fifteen states banned the sale of cigarettes before 1917. Yet WWI changed everything. In sending troops to Europe, Congress prohibited alcohol and prostitution near army bases but allowed the “lesser evil” of cigarette smoking. Billions of cigarettes were thus shipped overseas as army rations. The cultural impact of this policy was immense, according to Tate, serving to “transform what was once a manifestation of moral weakness into a jaunty emblem of freedom, democracy, and modernity.” Throughout the postwar period and beyond, cigarettes became identified with Hollywood glamour and the loosening of traditional values, especially among women. Antismoking advocates were mocked as Puritan killjoys. The cigarette had won the battle of acceptance, but, as Tate deftly points out, the cigarette wars continue, with medicine rather than morality now leading the assault. An entertaining account of a little-known episode in American cultural history, and a keen reminder that the ever-embattled cigarette has risen from its ashes more than once. (17 b&w photos)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-19-511851-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1998

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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