“According to the New England Journal of Medicine, deaths from coronary heart disease in adults ages 25-84 living in the U.S., dropped from 542.9-266.8 per 100,000 from 1980-2000. Smoking, among other factors, contributes to coronary heart disease. According to the American Cancer Society, there was a 16% decrease in lung cancer deaths among men from 1991-2003. There was a 10% cancer rise in women simply because rates of women who smoked dropped more recently than those of men.” — smokingstatistics.org
Glenn Morgan would be pleased. Back in 1988, Glenn and his friends, all creations of author Arthur L. Hoffman, engaged in what could only be called a conspiracy — a conspiracy to commit a healthier world.
They lived in a country and a culture where certain behavior was considered illegal. They were convinced that the particular behaviors in which they engaged would save or at least prolong the lives of people. Their convictions led them to commit acts that their society deemed illegal.
I recently read a novel in which the protagonist was an elite professional assassin. The assassin was convinced that every time the trigger was pulled, a good deed was performed. Justice was served. The shooter justified this behavior by saying, “you must be convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the ends we bring about will justify the terrible means.” Morgan et al, moved by a significant emotional event enthusiastically crossed the line and never looked back.
Glen Morgan and Company took on “Big Tobacco” and in this emotional fantasy, unlike the tragedy of Preston Tucker, they won. Morgan’s dominoes fell just right and in the end, saved millions of lives.
Hoffman grabs the reader by the throat, shakes them awake, and makes us hope that what we are reading is not fiction. In what has been described as the “world’s first anti-smoking novel,” we experience the emotions of Hoffman’s characters, come to understand their motivations, and hope for an impossible outcome with the turn of every page.
Hoffman has created interesting characters for whom we quickly come to care — or dislike — but nonetheless have empathy. Twenty-four years later, we can still be challenged and motivated to action while yearning for a sequel.
Tail Tigerswallow and the Great Tobacco War is available both at Amazon.com and the author’s website.
Article Copyright ©2012 by Chip Etier. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and link backs to this story may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Violators will be prosecuted to the extent that the law allows.