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EXTRA - Velvet Glove, Iron Fist
23rd May 2009
Christopher Snowdon’s book is now in print.
FORCES readers are familiar with Christopher Snowdon’s excellent research which has appeared widely. Chris informs us that his book on the history of anti-smoking, Velvet Glove, Iron Fist, will be formally released on 22 June, and is now available (with free worldwide shipping and inscribed by the author on request) by advance order via his website.
We recommend Velvet Glove, Iron Fist to all FORCES readers. Two reviews here:
From Michael J. McFadden, author of Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains:
British author Christopher Snowdon has written a book that will rank in history up next to Jacob Sullum's For Your Own Good and Richard Kluger's massive Ashes to Ashes. It may even end up outshining both previous works as his combination of excellent research skills combines with an engaging writing style that makes Velvet Glove, Iron Fist both more readable and more fulfilling than either of them.
At roughly 400 pages, Snowdon doesn't present the sheer mass of information that Kluger's Pulitzer Prize winning Ashes does, but his focus on the antismoking movement (as opposed to Kluger's wider ranging examination of the tobacco industry and its battles) manages to convey far more information about this one important aspect of the subject and does it in a far more accessible manner. His exacting care for references and facts duplicates Sullum's, but although Sullum's style is readable and enjoyable I believe he has been outdone by his British counterpart.
Velvet Glove will be particularly attractive to British and European audiences as they suffer under their imported bans because, while Snowdon provides a comprehensive overview of the American antismoking movement, he pays special attention to the building and history of that movement across the sea. Far more than Sullum, he shows the international aspect of a Crusade that has clearly taken on global proportions with the UN's World Health Organization's "Framework Convention on Tobacco Control" which is becoming, almost unnoticed by the world's press and people, the first true example of a "World Law" under which nations have surrendered their sovereignty to the world body.
While not as strongly focused on Antismokers' day-to-day tricks and techniques or on the dubious scientific deceptions underlying smoking bans as my own Dissecting Antismokers' Brains, Chris Snowdon does not neglect these areas and on the contrary has done an excellent job of showing how they form an integral part of the history. His approach embodies a strong neutrality that will win him friends and enemies on both sides of the issue, but I believe that overall, that neutrality only serves to underscore the damning facts that will eventually bring judgement against what historian Jeremy Richards has called "America's Second Great Prohibition Experiment."
As Richards has pointed out, the "New Prohibition" is smarter than the old one, seeking to use the tools of propaganda, media manipulation of science, and the classic human weakness of loving to have someone to hate rather than using the simple force of law for its purposes. The "New Prohibition" may have arguably improved the health of many by reducing the prevalence of smoking, but the social and psychological costs involved are tremendous and very deliberately uncalculated.
Snowdon's work will provide some basis for that eventual calculation to be totted up, no matter how diligently the Winston Smiths of the world try to rewrite history. I am proud to go on record in giving this book a fully deserved five stars.
From FORCES editors:
Author Christopher Snowdon has given us a sneak preview of his book Velvet Glove, Iron Fist. It’s a must-read for all. Mister Snowdon’s website has in the past year offered selected chapters for viewing on the internet. These are most intriguing and we can now say that the complete manuscript meets with highest expectations. FORCES recommends Velvet Glove, Iron Fist, now available via advance order from his website, to smokers and non-smokers alike. We are, by now, all affected by the ever-expanding nanny state, internationally at this point.
This is an important book. Privately published offerings such as Michael J. McFadden’s Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains and Vincent-Riccardo Di Pierri’s Rampant Anti-smoking Signifies Grave Danger: Materialism Out of Control have previously provided crucially valuable perspectives, while Jacob Sullum’s lauded For Your Own Good: The Anti-smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health warned a wider audience of a growing menace. Snowdon’s book, coming five to ten years after these, confirms all their predictions of unceasing regulatory encroachment into the present, while providing historical perspectives on Puritanical and prohibitionist movements of the past, wrapping all into a compelling view of the “anti” hysteria afflicting our times. Popular awareness of this threat, as the burgeoning activism against it chronicled here at FORCES attests, has finally taken root, and now grows exponentially.
Historian Snowdon’s treatise can therefore be seen as a natural product of this inevitable awakening to the falseness of today’s viciously divisive prophets. However dressed – be it in the smart buckled shoes of Colonial New England, or the corseted propriety of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Carry Nation or the contemporaneous Anti-cigarette League of Lucy Page Gaston, or in the stern black jackboots of the flamingly anti-smoking Third Reich, or the dull grey flannel of Joe McCarthy and the dour House Un-American Affairs Committee, or the same as worn by a Strom Thurmond or George Wallace – however accoutered and however acclaimed, however self-assured and self-righteous, however much viewed as socially and politically correct, no matter how successful in their ideological heydays – society’s bigots, fanatics, and tyrants always and necessarily come to be recognized and reviled by the public at large. Such is the case again today as ever. The time has come for humanity at large to reassert itself and Christopher Snowdon has written a book for this time.
The narrative thrust of Velvet Glove, Iron Fist can clearly be illustrated by a rundown of its fourteen chapter titles, which follows here:
1 - ‘Joyful news from the new found world’ (1492-1880)
2 - ‘A smokeless America by 1925' (1880-1919)
3 - ‘Your body belongs to the Fuhrer’ (1919-49)
4 - ‘Some women would prefer having small babies’ (1950-1969)
5 - ‘Smokers should be eliminated’ (1970-1978)
6 - ‘Nonsmokers arise!’ (1978-1986)
7 - ‘A smoke-free America by 2000 AD’ (1986-1992)
8 - ‘This is a crusade, not a lawsuit’ (1992-1998)
9 - 'I have a comic book mentality' (1998)
10 - ‘Don't let them fool you’ (1999-2003)
11 - ‘How do you sleep at night Mr Blair?’ (2004-06)
12 - ‘Developed societies are paternalistic’ (2003-2006)
13 - ‘The next logical step’
14 - ‘The scene is set for the final curtain’
All of the chapter titles are in the form of quotations taken from each era. Our regular readers may recognize many of them at a glance. The cognoscenti will not be disappointed in the presentation of the subjects at issue. For those less familiar with the topics, prepare to learn a lot, and much in the nature of revelations, from a dedicated researcher and lucid prose stylist. In fact, there is something new for every reader, both in terms of perspective and of fact, in this treatise. Steeped as we may be in the general lore, we at FORCES were greatly pleased to learn new and fascinating things from Mister Snowdon.
The book is a feast, including as readers of these pages have come to expect from original articles by Christopher Snowdon featured here, trenchant debunking of “anti” pseudo-science. One cannot be too critical of that reeking pile. Readers will find Velvet Glove, Iron Fist highly provocative and also consistently entertaining. Snowdon’s book invites debate on numerous points while discussing all that is most relevant. Mister Snowdon’s website provides exceptional and detailed introduction, so we conclude in recommending once again, visit there if you have not done so already. Velvet Glove, Iron Fist is sure to please all FORCES readers. The book is now available by advance order at Mister Snowdon’s website.