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For God, Country and Coca-Colaby Mark Pendergrast
Synopses & Reviews
From its invention as a cocaine-laced patent medicine in the Gilded Age to its globe-drenching ubiquity as the definitive symbol of consumer capitalism in the twenty-first century, Coca-Colas dramatic history unfolds as the ultimate business saga. In this revised edition of For God, Country and Coca-Cola, Mark Pendergrast looks at Americas cultural, social, and economic history through the bottom of a green glass Coke bottle and tells the captivating story of the worlds most recognizable consumer product. The tale begins with John Pemberton, a morphine-addicted Atlanta pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola as a hangover cure and treatment for neurasthenia” in 1886, and ends with a company unchallenged in its global dominance, its role strengthened by a successful turnaround after years of mismanagement. In between, a colorful cast of fathers and sons, hustlers and bankers, accountants and would-be movie moguls steered Coca-Cola to its present position, through ups (the introduction of Diet Coke) and downs (the introduction of New Coke). The revised edition covers the many challenges the company has faced in the 21st century, including everything from questions over sodas role in the obesity crisis to accusations that the company had union employees murdered in South America. Pendergrast also explores how Americas love of the soda has also evolved into a kind of consumer religion, as evidenced by the Holy of Holies-like Vault” at the World of Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta, where for a $16 ticket tourists can have their photo taken in front of the safe that holds the sacred and mysterious original formula for Coke. And of course, the book still contains that original formula, now with an additional version from the notes of Frank M. Robinson, the man who named and first marketed Coca-Cola.
Book News Annotation:
A scholar and journalist investigating popular vices—incest and coffee previously—Pendergrast here chronicles the US soft drink from its invention as a cocaine-laced patent medicine in the Gilded Age to its global ubiquity as a symbol of consumer capitalism. To the 1996 edition he has added the original secret formula, 30 early company management lessons, and other tidbits that have been published since.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Now fully updated, the classic account of how a bottle of sweetened caramel-colored soda water became synonymous with American capitalism
From its invention as a cocaine-laced patent medicine in the Gilded Age to its globe-drenching ubiquity as the ultimate symbol of consumer capitalism in the twenty-first century, Coca-Colas dramatic history unfolds as the ultimate business saga. In this fully revised and expanded edition of For God, Country and Coca-Cola, Mark Pendergrast looks at Americas cultural, social, and economic history through the bottom of a green glass Coke bottle and tells the captivating story of the worlds most recognizable consumer product.
For God, Country and Coca-Cola is the unauthorized history of the great American soft drink and the company that makes it. From its origins as a patent medicine in Reconstruction Atlanta through its rise as the dominant consumer beverage of the American century, the story of Coke is as unique, tasty, and effervescent as the drink itself. With vivid portraits of the entrepreneurs who founded the company—and of the colorful cast of hustlers, swindlers, ad men, and con men who have made Coca-Cola the most recognized trademark in the world—this is business history at its best: in fact, The Real Thing.”
Includes bibliographical references (p. 583-595) and index.
About the Author
Mark Pendergrast was born in Atlanta and is a graduate of Harvard University. A business journalist, he has published articles and reviews in a number of magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, the Sunday Times (London), and Financial Analyst.
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