Tobacco Blowback: How Colonial Trade Turned a Sacred Plant into a Toxic Threat

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Source Publication

Literary Review of Canada


Smoke Signals: The Native Takeback of North America’s Tobacco Industry is one of those rare labours of love, rich in materials, insights and wisdom and yet most likely to be ignored by “scholars.” It is the irony of contemporary academia that some works that are the products of practical experience and sweeping insights suffer benign neglect on the basis that they lack the form and framework of “academic rigour.” This paradox may explain why author Jim Poling Sr. himself pre-emptively avows that “Smoke Signals is not in any way an academic study.” Despite this disclaimer, Smoke Signals is a serious piece of work, and, in some material respects, a tour de force.


Book Review: Jim Poling, Sr., Smoke Signals: The Native Take-back of North America’s Tobacco Industry

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