• Tobacco

  • A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization
  • By: Iain Gately
  • Narrated by: Christopher Grove
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (244 ratings)

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Tobacco  By  cover art

Tobacco

By: Iain Gately
Narrated by: Christopher Grove
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Publisher's Summary

Tobacco was first cultivated and enjoyed by the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas, who used it for medicinal, religious, and social purposes long before the arrival of Columbus. 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 our victory in the American Revolution. Informed and erudite, Tobacco is a vivid and provocative look into the complex history of this precious plant.

©2001 Iain Gately. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2014 Audible Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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What listeners say about Tobacco

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting until a pro-smoking ending

This book, which is well narrated, covers a few thousand years of tobacco's history. I learned many interesting facts and have a better understanding how we've ended up where we are today. 85% of the book is interesting and enjoyable. That said, the last 1-2 chapters are surprisingly pro-smoking. As another reviewer noted, the author does not mention the tobacco industry's cover up about how much it knew about smoking's effects on health. However, I was more surprised that the author openly questions smoking's health effects. In fact, his claims were so strong that I decided to read the studies on smoking's health effects (conclusion: yes, smoking is bad for your health). He also makes a claim that that smoking is not bad for society since it is cost neutral given that the cost of caring for those who smoke are offset by the fact that smokers die "on average, sixteen years earlier", which allows society to save on pension and later in life medical costs. Assuming the financial claim is factually correct, it is a narrow (and callous) way to justify smoking.

So overall, a decent book, but be aware that the perspective is biased.

6 people found this helpful

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Comprehensive, entertaining and informative.

This presentation was fun to listen. The author displayed nice organization and the narrator did a fine job.

4 people found this helpful

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interesting

I've never had much interest in cigarettes or tobacco until listening to this book. The history of this plant is beyond anything I would have thought of. a must read. narrated very well.

4 people found this helpful

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Baseball, Apple Pie and Tobacco

Where does Tobacco rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Tobacco ranks as high as any history book I have ever listened to on Audible. I usually listen to anything by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, among others.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Tobacco?

The author does a fascinating job of explaining how the American economy has been interwoven with tobacco from the start.

Which scene was your favorite?

It was interesting to learn about Native American traditions involving tobacco.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This book is very detailed and should be enjoyed in intervals.

Any additional comments?

A lot of research must have gone into this historical account, and it is a great lesson in history, as well as entertaining. The narrator did a wonderful job, as well. The book is a pleasure to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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Your gonna know something about Tobacco!

This a quality history book on the topic of tobacco.

It covers the original use to Pre Columbian American people. How the plant became popular and then a valuable product.

The laws and economic impact of tobacco are fascinating and this book will entertain a history reader, it entertained me for sure

Quality work

1 person found this helpful

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Informative

Although I'm not a smoker, I do know a lot of smokers who would appreciate this book for different reasons than I would. In general, this audiobook explores the addiction to tobacco in all its varieties and its use in the past in rituals and as hallucinogenics. Overall an interesting read, but do not give it to your smoker friends if you want them to quit.

1 person found this helpful

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Very good!

Very good audio book. I liked that the producers chose a British voice talent to do the reading. It gives the book an air of sophistication. Highly recommend.

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wow

this book was engaging from start to finish and I enjoyed it a lot. very informative and I learned so much.

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Amazing history of Tobacco direct and captivating

As an pipe smoker and dipper I found the history to be more complex than I would have imagined. I'm glad modern weed smokers don't get molten lead poured down their throats like many Tobacco smokers did.

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How Wonderful.

Quite an interesting and thorough exploration of the topic. rather well written and well read.