- 13,99 €
“A rich, complex history . . . Deeply engaging and witty” (Los Angeles Times).
Long before Columbus arrived in the New Word, tobacco was cultivated and enjoyed by the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas, who used it for medicinal, religious, and social purposes. But when Europeans began to colonize the American continents, it became something else entirely—a cultural touchstone of pleasure and success, and a coveted commodity that would transform the world economy forever.
Iain Gately’s Tobacco tells the epic story of an unusual plant and its unique relationship with the history of humanity, from its obscure ancient beginnings, through its rise to global prominence, to its current embattled state today. In a lively narrative, Gately makes the case for the tobacco trade being the driving force behind the growth of the American colonies, the foundation of Dutch trading empire, the underpinning cause of the African slave trade, and the financial basis for victory in the American Revolution. Well-researched and wide-ranging, Tobacco is a vivid and provocative look at the surprising roles this plant has played in the culture of the world.
“Ambitious . . . informative and perceptive . . . Gately is an amusing writer, which is a blessing.” —The Washington Post
“Documents the resourcefulness with which human beings of every class, religion, race, and continent have pursued the lethal leaf.” —The New York Times Book Review
Here it is everything you ever wanted to know about tobacco, from Amerindian prehistory right up to the Clinton/Lewinsky cigar tryst. As Gately traces the role of tobacco in history's major military conflicts and cultural movements, he treats readers to a variety of brief lessons regarding Galenic vs. Chinese medicine, the colonization of the West Indies, the cultivation of tobacco by Australian aboriginals and African tribesmen, Scottish business expansion in the 17th century, the aesthetics of the "narghile" (water pipe) in Asia and much more. He examines both the familiar (peace pipes, chewing tobacco, cigars, cigarettes) and the arcane (techniques for snuffing, tobacco enemas) with appropriate thoroughness. Anyone interested in the origins of the smoking jacket, snuff horns, strike-anywhere matches, meerschaum and briar pipes, or curious about why most signers of the Declaration of Independence were tobacco farmers will not only enjoy this work, but come away with a larger understanding of why tobacco has been so important in human history. While Gately is explicit about the medical risks of tobacco, this global approach stressing the ubiquity of its use suggests it will remain part of our culture for generations to come. With irreverent wit and uncommon grace, Gately shares his enthusiasms with any reader brave enough to buy a book with the demon weed on its cover. A bonus appendix gives readers simple instructions on the cultivation of tobacco at home. Illus.