For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It

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Overview


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-Cola’s dramatic history unfolds as the ultimate business saga. In this fully revised and expanded edition of For God, Country & Coca-Cola, Mark Pendergrast looks at America’s cultural, social, and economic history through the bottom of a green glass Coke bottle and tells the captivating story ...
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Overview


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-Cola’s dramatic history unfolds as the ultimate business saga. In this fully revised and expanded edition of For God, Country & Coca-Cola, Mark Pendergrast looks at America’s cultural, social, and economic history through the bottom of a green glass Coke bottle and tells the captivating story of the world’s most recognizable consumer product.

The unauthorized history of the great American soft drink and the company that makes it. Pendergrast tells the full story of why Coke--more than 99% sweetened water--is the quintessential American product and how it changed the course of American capitalism. Also reveals high jinks, family dramas, and shady deals behind the scenes. Three 8-page photo inserts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A NEW YORK TIMES “NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR”

“A ripping good story of more than a soft drink or a company, this book is about the whole of America. It may be the greatest American story ever.”
—New York Observer

“Marvelously entertaining history.”
—Los Angeles Times

“In For God, Country & Coca-Cola, Mark Pendergrast has written an encyclopedic history of Coke and its subculture, and used Coca-Cola as a metaphor for the growth of modern capitalism itself. His research and storytelling skills are prodigious.”
—Washington Post

“Behind the glitz and fanfare, the bubbly brown beverage has had a tortured and controversy-filled history. It is meticulously chronicled in For God, Country & Coca-Cola.”
—Wall Street Journal

“A meticulously researched history.... [Pendergrast] aggressively sets the record straight about the birth of Coke, shattering company myths.”
—New York Times Book Review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Unauthorized'' it may be, but freelance business journalist Pendergrast, granted access to Coca-Cola company files, has produced an entertaining, fair-minded history without much scandal. He traces the roots of ``the world's most widely distributed product'' as a patent medicine, describes the development of the unique ``Hobbleskirt'' bottle and depicts the canny use of advertising, which enabled Coke to ``permeate every aspect of American life.'' He also covers the work of legendary company leader Robert Woodruff, Coke's quasi-military expansion during WW II, the growing competition from Pepsi and the company's ill-fated mid-1980s reformulation of the Coke recipe. If the book doesn't always make for smooth reading, it has many amusing details: lists of the names of Coke imitators (``Revive-ola,'' ``Toka-tona''); the antics of a biology professor who, acting as a Coca-Cola defense witness, ingested bugs marinated in the drink; a hilarious glimpse of football star Mean Joe Greene filming a commercial for which he chugged down 18 Cokes, even though he vomited after the sixth. Photos not seen by PW. Reader's Digest Condensed Books selection. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Coca-Cola is one of the most celebrated products of this century. The trials and successes of Coke and its manufacturer, ranging from its invention to the wars with Pepsi, unfold in a historical narrative that keeps the reader focused and interested. Pendergrast, a business journalist, displays an impressive array of research from several collections and interviews with former company employees. The premise that Coca-Cola has religious undertones is somewhat far-fetched, but the author does an able job of proving that Coke is an American phenomenon. The last chapter, however, would have benefited from editing to make the transition from third to first person flow more smoothly. Recommended for general collections.-- Rebecca A. Smith, Harvard Business Sch. Lib.
Booknews
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465029174
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 260,848
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Pendergrast
Mark Pendergrast is a freelance journalist and the author of six works of non-fiction, most recently Japan’s Tipping Point: Crucial Choices in the Post-Fukushima World.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Notes on the Text
Foreword
Preface
Prologue: A Parable (January 1, 1985) 1
Pt. I In the Beginning (1886-1899) 5
1 Time Capsule: The Golden Age of Quackery 9
2 What Sigmund Freud, Pope Leo, and John Pemberton Had in Common 19
3 The Tangled Chain of Title 37
4 Asa Candler: His Triumphs and Headaches 50
5 Bottle It: The World's Stupidest, Smartest Contract 72
Pt. II Heretics and True Believers (1900-1922) 85
6 Success Under Siege 89
7 Dr. Wiley Weighs In 109
8 The Sinister Syndicate 125
9 Coca-Cola's Civil War 137
Pt. III The Golden Age (1923-1949) 151
10 Robert W. Woodruff: The Boss Takes the Helm 155
11 A Euphoric Depression and Pepsi's Push 176
12 The $4,000 Bottle: Coca-Cola Goes to War 199
13 Coca-Cola Uber Alles 218
Pt. IV Trouble in the Promised Land (1950-1979) 233
14 Coca-Colonization and the Communists 237
15 Breaking the Commandments 252
16 Paul Austin's Turbulent Sixties 277
17 Big Red's Uneasy Slumber 299
Pt. V The Corporate Era (1980-1989) 329
18 Roberto Goizueta's Bottom Line 333
19 The Marketing Blunder of the Century 354
20 Global Fizz 372
21 World Without End? 398
Epilogue: The Nineties Erupt (1990-1992) 411
Appendix: The Sacred Formula 421
Notes 426
Bibliography 522
Index 535
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a really interesting book. I was most interested in lear

    This is a really interesting book. I was most interested in learning that Coca-Cola started out as a cocaine infused product. Five stars for author Mark Pendergrast.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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