Merchants of Doubt

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

4.18 (5,551 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , By (author) 

List price: US$19.00

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


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.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 24mm | 376g
  • Bloomsbury Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • B B&W
  • 1608193942
  • 9781608193943
  • 18,820

Review quote

"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
show more

About Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes is a professor of the history of science and affiliated professor of Earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University. Her study "Beyond the Ivory Tower," published in Science in 2004, was a milestone in the fight against global warming denial and was cited by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth. Her books include Why Trust Science? and Science on a Mission: How Military Funding Shaped What We Do and Don't Know about the Ocean.
Erik M. Conway has published five previous books, including Atmospheric Science at NASA: A History and Exploration and Engineering: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Quest for Mars. Merchants of Doubt was their first book together. In 2014, they published The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future, and they are currently working on The Magic of the Marketplace: The True History of a False Idea.
show more

Rating details

5,551 ratings
4.18 out of 5 stars
5 43% (2,384)
4 38% (2,110)
3 15% (810)
2 3% (183)
1 1% (64)

Our customer reviews

A good historical narrative of the science and junk science surrounding the last century's most divisive science. The book explores the controversy around smoking, ozone, CFCs and climate change. The book is a pretty easy read and has a very extensive bibliography so you can read the original sources. They do a good job of not jumping to conclusions when judging the scientists responsible for most of the junk science and seek to understand why good and intelligent people do so much more
by Bernie
This is a pretty full on read about some of the 'debunking' of science that has been going on over the decades - the fabrication of 'debates'. It offers some reasons as to why people would bother arguing against agreed science. I sometimes wondered if the authors didn't do quite a good enough job of reigning in their own bias, but overall, an interesting read - although its taken me a long time!show more
by Freya
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X