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Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola
     

Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola

3.0 2
by Mark Thomas
 

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Mark Thomas—a legendarily seditious comedian and human rights activist—is a recovering Coca-Cola addict, a self-described “middle-aged fat dad with asthma” who decides to trek around the globe investigating the stories and people Coca-Cola's iconic advertising campaigns don't mention: child laborers in the sugarcane fields of El Salvador,

Overview

Mark Thomas—a legendarily seditious comedian and human rights activist—is a recovering Coca-Cola addict, a self-described “middle-aged fat dad with asthma” who decides to trek around the globe investigating the stories and people Coca-Cola's iconic advertising campaigns don't mention: child laborers in the sugarcane fields of El Salvador, Indian workers exposed to toxic chemicals, Columbian labor union leaders in Coke bottling plants falsely accused of terrorism and jailed alongside the paramilitaries who want to kill them.

At once hilarious and disturbing, Thomas builds a very detailed and damning case against the world's most ubiquitous drink.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
How can a book about a behemoth multinational company, with a string of environmental and labor violation allegations leveled against it, be entertaining? British TV presenter, comedian, and human rights activist Thomas somehow manages to make it so. Coca-Cola's PR double-speak in response to his persistent questions provides much of the fodder for his humor. (Full disclosure: this reviewer finds soft drinks basically devoid of nutrition and consumes none of them.) Thomas travels around the world, looking into allegations of union harassment by Coca-Cola bottlers in Colombia and Turkey. He investigates water-use issues in India and obesity rates in Mexico. He searches for evidence of child labor in the sugar fields of El Salvador. He corners the head of Coca-Cola's Global Workplace Rights at an annual shareholders' meeting in Delaware. He witnesses a Mayan ceremony where worshipers use the burping effect of Coke to "belch" out evil spirits (hence the title). VERDICT This is not a travel journey that any sane person would want to replicate. However, the author's findings do make one think of the global consequences of such an innocuous product as "fizzy pop." Recommended for both general readers and students who enjoy investigative memoirs or business studies.—Lee Arnold, Historical Soc. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Kirkus Reviews
Coke adds life, says British comedian Thomas, except in all the places where it brings death. The author, a pop-culture presence across the pond-when he started, he writes, "you didn't have to fuck a footballer or eat kangaroo penis on a reality show to appear on TV"-offers plenty of witty, humorous lines, but his purpose is serious. Wearing his left-journalist hat, he writes about his obsession with Coke during his 20s and 30s and his gradual discovery of ever more disturbing things about the product. Defenders would doubtless say that the company is simply practicing good business, but as Thomas travels around the world from bottling plant to union meeting to community-organizing session, he finds plenty of provocative things to write about. One is the company's apparent decentralization. Most of the bottlers are franchisees under the "Coca-Cola system," dependent on headquarters in Atlanta largely for Coke's sine qua non-concentrated syrup. But if you've had a Coke in nearly any part of the world today, adds the author, chances are that the syrup was made in Ireland, for complex reasons of economic preference, local labor conditions and laws, transportation and other aspects of globalism. All these are sticky subjects about which Thomas occasionally grows shticky, but you may never drink a Fanta again after learning of its origins in the Third Reich, nor take the pause that refreshes without awareness of child labor, union-busting, assassinations and other goings-on in the developing world, where Coke is, of course, a symbol of capitalist ascension. Interesting and well-written, in fine muckraking tradition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786747566
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
06/02/2009
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Mark Thomas is an English comedian, presenter, political activist, and reporter from south London. He is best known for political stunts on his show, The Mark Thomas Comedy Product, which have caused huge controversy for exposing political and corporate crime. He is listed in the Guinness World Records 2009 for staging the most political protests in one day. He lives in London U.K.

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Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very funny and informative. Thomas's style may well rub some people up the wrong way - but I was laughing, enlightened and socked in equal turn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago