Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition

Author(s): Robert Proctor


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.


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"Draws on previously confidential industry documents and Proctor's own experience as the first historian to testify in court about [industry] lies. What lies? How deep into the pleural linings did they go? All the way."--Harper's Magazine "Lays out in head-shaking detail how a handful of companies painstakingly designed, produced, and mass-marketed the most lethal product on the planet."--Mother Jones "[A] monumental and sobering indictment."--Nature "Proctor documents a breadth and depth of the industry's duplicitous actions that is astounding."--Science (Aaas) "A nearly 800-page book that begins as the Bible of the twentieth-century cigarette industry only to end as its millennial counterblaste."--Harper's

Robert N. Proctor is Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University and author of Cancer Wars, Racial Hygiene, and The Nazi War on Cancer He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

General Fields

  • : 9780520270169
  • : University of California Press
  • : University of California Press
  • : 1.171
  • : February 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Robert Proctor
  • : Hardback
  • : English
  • : 752
  • : Illustrations