THE CIGARETTE PAPERS
By Stanton A. Glantz, John Slade, Lisa A Bero, Peter Hanauer
and Deborah E. Barnes
539 pages, University of California Press, $29.95
ASHES TO ASHES
America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, The Public Health and the
Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris By Richard Kluger
807 pages, Knopf, $35
IN THE WORLD of anti-smoking activists, Stanton Glantz's name
has been familiar for years. This book is quite likely to make the
University of California health researcher well-known to a much
In 1994, Glantz received a surprise shipment from an anonymous
source. As he opened the box, he saw thousands of pages of internal
tobacco industry documents. Many of those documents provided
evidence to bolster what anti-smoking activists had been saying all
along: Tobacco company executives have known for decades that
smoking is a deadly addiction.
Reading the words of the tobacco company executives is more
convincing than generalized accusations from the activists
predisposed to be shrill. Though there is nothing shockingly new in
the documents reproduced and analyzed by Glantz and his
multidisciplinary fellow authors, perhaps a crude comparison will
help explain why this book is so oddly compelling: It is one thing
to suspect your spouse is having an extramarital affair. It is
another thing to actually catch your spouse in bed with a lover.
The second is certainly more compelling than the first.
The Glantz team has caught tobacco industry executives in bed
with the devil nicotine, so to speak. They deserve praise for their
readable analys is of the documents. The University of California
Press deserves praise for publishing a book despite the likelihood
of litigation, a book that many major New York publishers were
afraid to touch.
Richard Kluger's book is an excellent complement to "The
Cigarette Papers." Rather than a selective compilation of leaked
documents, it is an old-fashioned (in the best sense) history of
The subtitle describes the scope of the book well. Kluger
indeed goes back 100 years, and further, as he tells his saga more
or less chronologically. Kluger indeed discusses the health aspects
of smoking at length, touching on that controversy in every one of
his 20 chapters.
The third part of the subtitle is more problematic. Kluger
indeed devotes many pages to the largest contemporary tobacco
company, Philip Morris. But he devotes many pages to its
competitors, too, undermining his suggestion that Philip Morris is
the strong thread that keeps the book from unraveling. Furthermore,
many readers are likely to quarrel with the adjective "unabashed"
in front of "triumph." If triumph refers to market share of
cigarettes sold, Philip Morris qualifies for the adjective. …