"Pushing Cool" Named Best Book of 2022 So Far by The New Yorker

November 08, 2022
Keith Wailoo with his book Pushing Cool

The New Yorker named Keith Wailoo's latest book Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold History of the Menthol Cigarette to their Best Books of 2022 So Far list. The list is updated every Wednesday with new fiction and nonfiction recommendations.

Pushing Cool by Keith Wailoo:

Tracking the evolution of a century’s worth of targeted marketing, this history documents the sinister engineering of a Black consumer preference for menthol cigarettes. Wailoo details how Big Tobacco placed billboards in inner-city neighborhoods, strategically funded Black enterprises, and marshalled a vast network of influencers—from Ebony to the N.A.A.C.P.—to yoke ideas of Black authenticity to smoking menthols. His case study concludes with reflections on the resonant presence of menthol cigarettes in the deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd, linking the dire plea “I can’t breathe” to tobacco’s long-term assault on Black lives.