Histories of smoking and tobacco and of the places we like to smoke all over the world.
This is an excellent book for understanding the extent to which a particularly commodity, in this case tobacco, shaped American history. With a focus on the twentieth century it traces the story of the rise and fall of smoking, from a curiosity, to socially acceptability, to the war on smoking in the United States.
Jordan Goodman, Tobacco in History: The Cultures of Dependence (1993)
Tobacco in History has more of a global reach, exploring the international dynamics of the production, exchange and consumption of tobacco. It give a wide sweep of how this one commodity shaped global history from its New World origins to its conquering of global tastes.
Ralph Hattox, Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East (1985)
Hattox’s Coffee and Coffeehouses is a classic, which provides a fabulous overview of the introduction of coffee into global consumer cultures. Specifically he traces the role and historical implications of the coffeehouse institution from its Near Eastern origins to their European incarnations.
Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants (1992)
Schivelbusch’s Tastes of Paradise, provides a thought-provoking look at the history of tobacco, coffee, and other intoxicants, with a focus on Early Modern Europe. He makes provocative arguments about the success of particular geographic regions, namely Northeastern Europe, based on shifts in consumer culture and intoxicant preferences and habits.
Relli Shechter, Smoking, Culture and Economy in the Middle East: The Egyptian Tobacco Market 1850-2000 (2006)
Shechter’s highly original Smoking, Culture and Economy in the Middle East is one of the best context specific books on the tobacco industry and smoking that I have encountered. With a focus on modern Egypt, this book shows the kinds of unexpected impacts that a commodity can have in a distinctly colonial context.