Nick Naylor likes his job. In the neo-puritanical nineties, it's a challenge to defend the rights of smokers and a privilege to promote their liberty. Sure, it hurts a little when you're compared to Nazi war criminals, but Nick says he's just doing what it takes to pay the mortgage and put his son through Washington's elite private school St. Euthanasius. He can handle the pressure from the antismoking zealots, but he is less certain about his new boss, BR, who questions whether Nick is worth $150,000 a year to fight a losing war. Under pressure to produce results, Nick goes on a PR offensive. But his heightened notoriety makes him a target for someone who wants to prove just how hazardous smoking can be. If Nick isn't careful, he's going to be stubbed out.
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"Nick Naylor had been called many things since becoming chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies. But until now no one had actually compared him to Satan." They might as well have, though. "Gucci Goebbels," "yuppie Mephistopheles," and "death merchant" are just a few endearments Naylor has earned himself as the tobacco lobby's premier spin doctor. The hero of Thank You for Smoking does of course have his fans. His arguments against the neo-puritanical antismoking trends of the '90s have made him a repeat guest on Larry King, and the granddaddy of Winston-Salem wants him to be the anointed heir. Still, his newfound notoriety has unleashed a deluge of death threats.
Christopher Buckley's satirical gift shines in this hilarious look at the ironies of "personal freedom" and the unbearable smugness of political correctness. Bracing in its cynicism, Thank You for Smoking is a delightful meander off the beaten path of mainstream American ethics. And despite his hypertension-inducing, slander-splattered, morally bankrupt behavior--which leads one Larry King listener to describe him as "lower than whale crap"--you'll find yourself rooting for smoking's mass enabler. --Rebekah WarrenAbout the Author:
Christopher Buckley is a novelist and editor of Forbes FYI magazine. His books include Thank You for Smoking, Wry Martins, andGod Is My Broker. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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