Advertising Sin and Sickness: The Politics of Alcohol and Tobacco Marketing, 1950-1990.

AuthorTerry, Ph.D. Peter
PositionBook review

Work Title: Advertising Sin and Sickness: The Politics of Alcohol and Tobacco Marketing, 1950-1990

Work Author(s): Pamela E. Pennock

Northern Illinois University Press

50 b/w photographs, 290 pages, Softcover $36.00


ISBN: 9780875803685

Reviewer: Peter Terry, Ph.D.

Americans have a long and divided history concerning legal recreational drugs. The twin vices of tobacco and alcohol, paired in the public mind, have lead to a deep cultural divide. Along the fault line created by these substances are strange alliances. The religious right, claiming moral authority and the liberal left, using scientific and medical evidence find themselves partnered in a crusade to limit the use, distribution, and marketing of alcohol and tobacco. On the other side are civil libertarians and social conservatives allied by a deep suspicion of government regulation and a regard for principles of free speech. Pamela E. Pennock, assistant professor of history at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, explores the shifting history of this divide and reveals some unexpected and illuminating truths that go beyond a mere chronology of social legislation.

Pennock brilliantly examines these social struggles around the thread of social change inherent in the growth of consumer culture over the past fifty years. The book is concerned with the role of advertising and marketing of alcohol and tobacco, and the legislation arising from attempts to regulate them. What is fascinating, and ultimately more enlightening, is her very convincing probing of major shifts in American culture over this fifty-year period. As Pennock notes in her...

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