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Cover for Merchants of Doubt

Merchants of Doubt

How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change

Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway


List Price: 19.00*
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Featuring a new Foreword by former Vice President Al Gore

Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

"Important and timely. We ignore this message at our peril."—Elizabeth Kolbert

Merchants of Doubt has been praised—and attacked—around the world, for reasons easy to understand. This book tells, with “brutal clarity” (Huffington Post), the disquieting story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. The same individuals who claim the science of global warming is “not settled” have also denied the truth about studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. “Doubt is our product,” wrote one tobacco executive. These “experts” supplied it. Merchants of Doubt rolls back the rug on this dark corner of American science. Now with a new Foreword by former Vice President Al Gore, and with a new Postscript by the authors.

Praise For Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change

“Anyone concerned about the state of democracy in America should read this book” —Al Gore

“A fascinating account of a very thorny problem” —Bill McKibben

Merchants of Doubt should finally put to rest the question of whether the science of climate change is settled. It is, and we ignore this message at our peril” —Elizabeth Kolbert

"If you read just one book on climate change this year, read Merchants of Doubt. And if you have time to read two, reread Merchants of Doubt." - Grist

"Brilliantly reported and written with brutal clarity . . . Oreskes and Conway do a great public service." - The Huffington Post

"A powerful dissection of how right wing think tanks and private corporations sow doubt on scientific consensus to block action on critical climate and public health issues." - Tom Steyer, via Twitter

"An important book . . . The next time a friend or Fox News commentator or political candidate assaults you with the claim that 'climate change isn't happening' or 'isn't caused by human activities,' you will recognize the source of their colossal misunderstanding." - Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul)

"It is tempting to require that all those engaged in the business of conveying scientific information to the general public should read it." - Science

Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781608193943, 368pp.

Publication Date: May 31, 2011

About the Author

Naomi Oreskes is Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University and the author of nearly 200 scholarly papers and popular articles. Her opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Times (London), and many others. Her TED talk, "Why We Should Trust Scientists" was viewed more than a million times. She is an active participant in the World Economic Forum in Davos. She lives in Carlisle, Massachusetts.

Erik Conway is a historian of science and technology and works for the California Institute of Technology. He is the author of seven books and dozens of articles and essays. He lives in Pasadena, California.