By Eric Burns
Eric Burns, who chronicled the social heritage of alcohol in "The Spirits of the USA" turns to tobacco in "The Smoke of the Gods". starting from precedent days to the current day, "The Smoke of the Gods" is a full of life historical past of tobacco, in particular within the usa. even though tobacco use is arguable within the U.S. this present day, Burns reminds us that this used to be no longer continually the case. for hundreds of years tobacco was once normally inspiration to have medicinal or even non secular price. many of the signers of the assertion of Independence have been tobacco clients or growers, or either. in accordance with Burns, tobacco replaced the very process U.S. background, simply because its discovery brought on the British to aid Jamestown, its suffering New international colony. An interesting and informative examine a subject matter that makes day-by-day information headlines, "The Smoke of the Gods" is a historical past that's, good, particularly addictive.
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Extra info for The Smoke of the Gods: A Social History of Tobacco
His skin was swarthier than theirs, almost as if he had New World kin, and his face stood out all the more because of a sharp nose and dark, pointed beard. As for the hair on his head, it was long and curled and sometimes perfumed. He could be menacing if he wanted to. Those who did not know him well were advised to stay alert in his presence. But he did not look menacing. Rather, he appeared every inch the dandy. “His customary cartwheel ruff was his most extravagant gesture to foppishness,” writes the historian Giles Milton, “spreading peacocklike from his neck in dentilated lace.
As for the hair on his head, it was long and curled and sometimes perfumed. He could be menacing if he wanted to. Those who did not know him well were advised to stay alert in his presence. But he did not look menacing. Rather, he appeared every inch the dandy. “His customary cartwheel ruff was his most extravagant gesture to foppishness,” writes the historian Giles Milton, “spreading peacocklike from his neck in dentilated lace. ” He was impossible to miss in a crowd of any size, of any constituency.
Tobacco, of course, was regarded by many as the latter. Actually, several nations developed myths about tobacco, although no one can quite describe how they came about. The stories always seemed to be there, just as features in the landscape always seemed to be there. Each myth was different from the others, but most had a few plot elements in common. Usually a man, possibly a holy man, chanced upon a god or an animal with the gift of speech. The two talked for a while, then an argument broke out, often followed by a violent action of some sort that inadvertently led to tobacco’s taking root, in both the soil and the society.