Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams

Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams

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by Michael D'Antonio
     
 

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The name Hershey evokes many things: chocolate bars, the company town in Pennsylvania, one of America's most recognizable brands. But who was the man behind the name? In this compelling biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael D'Antonio gives us the real-life rags-to-riches story of Milton S. Hershey, a largely uneducated businessman whose idealistic sense

Overview

The name Hershey evokes many things: chocolate bars, the company town in Pennsylvania, one of America's most recognizable brands. But who was the man behind the name? In this compelling biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael D'Antonio gives us the real-life rags-to-riches story of Milton S. Hershey, a largely uneducated businessman whose idealistic sense of purpose created an immense financial empire, a town, and a legacy that lasts to this day.

Hershey, the son of a minister's daughter and an irresponsible father who deserted the family, began his career inauspiciously when the two candy shops he opened both went bankrupt. Undeterred, he started the Lancaster Caramel Company, which brought him success at last. Eventually he sold his caramel operation and went on to perfect the production process of chocolate to create a stable, consistent bar with a long shelf life...and an American icon was born.

Hershey was more than a successful businessman -- he was a progressive thinker who believed in capitalism as a means to higher goals. He built the world's largest chocolate factory and a utopian village for his workers on a large tract of land in rural Pennsylvania, and used his own fortune to keep his workers employed during the Great Depression. In addition, he secretly willed his fortune to a boys' school and orphanage, both of which now control a vast endowment.

Extensively researched and vividly written, Hershey is the fascinating story of this uniquely American visionary.

Editorial Reviews

Was there ever a more unlikely tycoon than Milton Hershey (1857-1945)? Before he achieved worldwide chocolate fame, this eccentric, self-assured son of a strict Reform Mennonite had run several confection enterprises into the ground, despite his mother's financial help. In 1903, he terrified friends with his new plans to build the world's largest chocolate factory and a complete utopian village on a remote tract of land far from any source of labor. Against every expectation, Hershey not only succeeded but prospered. This first-ever major biography of this weirdly compacted mogul is an apt choice for fans of Morgan, Titan, and The Power Broker.
Benjamin Cheever
"If it's a rule that behind every great fortune lies a great crime, M. S. Hershey was the exception," Michael D'Antonio writes in this thorough and highly readable biography of the candy magnate. "He was the good millionaire."
— The New York Times
Jonathan Yardley
D'Antonio's biography is thorough and fair. He's a better reporter than writer, but there's nothing unusual about that. Hershey is a valuable addition to the literature of American business and philanthropy.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Keeping his prose blessedly free of "sweet" wordplay, D'Antonio offers a balanced and genial look at the man who brought America the five-cent chocolate bar and founded a utopian village. Milton S. Hershey (1857-1945) was hardly the only Progressive-era tycoon to envision an idyllic company town, but he alone made it work. He set out to create "a self-perpetuating little utopia of capitalism and charity," and that's exactly what Hershey, Pa., was and is. D'Antonio (The State Boys Rebellion, etc.) describes his subject's childhood and early failures, the company's investments and dealings, and the intricacies of candy making. He includes bad stuff on Hershey: the egotism expected of a business mogul, some capricious firings, a tendency toward heavy-handed paternalism and a childless marriage to a woman who, the author concludes, suffered from and died of syphilis. He also explains why Hershey's astonishing generosity toward a school for underprivileged boys resulted in decades of corporate stagnation and, in the last few years, a bitter battle over the company's future. All in all, D'Antonio solidifies his subject's reputation as "a kindly type of industrialist" who brought the nation "happiness in a wrapper." Not a massive social history with grand pretensions-indeed, it's a relief to pick up a corporate titan's biography that weighs less than eight pounds-this volume will satisfy all but the most voracious readers. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The Hershey chocolate bar is a ubiquitous symbol of America. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist D'Antonio (The State Boys Rebellion) here offers the first full-length study of its creator, Milton Hershey, taking a balanced look at the man, his struggles, his credos, and his legend. His record as a businessman was poor at first, but then a British importer placed a huge order with his Lancaster Caramel Company in Pennsylvania. He thought next that mass producing affordable milk chocolate would be a huge success and experimented for years until he got the process just right. The rest, as they say, is history. Although driven by philanthropic ideals, Hershey was not beyond corporate espionage, union breaking, and having employees work long hours under dangerous conditions for low wages. As D'Antonio reveals, he did not like his power or ideas challenged. Yet his story is one of great achievement. Relying heavily on the Hershey Community Archives, D'Antonio does a good job of placing his subject's life within the context of the Gilded Age and its social movements. Charles Castner's One of a Kind: Milton Snavely Hershey, 1857-1945 is more of a celebration of the man, with lots of pictures and a large format. Recommended for all libraries.-Robert Flatley, Kutztown Univ., PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Snack-loving teens may be well disposed toward this entertaining book before opening it, since its subject is the inventor of the first popular and inexpensive milk chocolate bar in the United States. The story of the man's success is one of determination, innovation, and perseverance despite repeated failures, all encompassed in a personality unique among the tycoons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A curious mix of capitalist ruthlessness and utopian idealism, Hershey pursued riches but believed deeply in social responsibility. His devotion to the latter created a legacy that exists to this day in his school for at-risk children and, in Hershey, PA, the charming company town that was one of the few American communities virtually unaffected by the Great Depression. Fascinating details about candy production and Hershey's personal life abound, and the balanced viewpoint, smooth writing, and succinct treatment make this biography a good choice for assignments related to leadership, business, or U.S. social history.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Pulitzer Prize-winner D'Antonio (The State Boys' Rebellion, 2004, etc.) provides a solid biography of the man whose name lives on through his eponymous chocolate bar. And unlike his near-contemporaries, those evil robber barons, the name of Milton S. Hershey (1857-1945) remains fairly sweet upon the tongue. General consensus paints the candy maker as a Santa-like tycoon, a manufacturer of great wealth who was pleased to bestow his largesse-as long as you did things his way. In the mold of a Horatio Alger tale, his biography chronicles the rise of a poor maker of caramels to benevolent ruler of his own fiefdom. From stern Mennonite stock, he married a working-class Irish-Catholic woman with an ebullient personality and a shadowy past; their happy union was cut short by her premature death from syphilis. In business, Hershey was a trendsetter who through dogged experiment formulated confections that conquered the American market. Even before he was quite sure how to prepare milk chocolate (a mixture, basically, of oil and water), he confidently built a factory on his home turf, creating his very own town in the Pennsylvania countryside. He countenanced no cussing on the corner of Cocoa and Chocolate Avenues, maintained with the sales of nickel chocolate bars, individually gift-wrapped Kisses and crunchy Mr. Goodbars. The childless magnate's favored eleemosynary object was the Hershey Industrial School for selected orphan boys-no slow learners, antisocial types or bedwetters. In his time, in his town, Mr. Hershey could be difficult. Quick to give with remarkable generosity, he was also quick to give sudden notice to employees who displeased. Wide-ranging social history underpins a well-told,balanced account of the candy man, his business and his milieu.
From the Publisher
"Thorough and fair...Hershey is a valuable addition to the literature of American business and philanthropy."
— Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

"A richly detailed biography of the founder and an absorbing history of the Hershey company."
— Hardy Green, BusinessWeek

"[C]aptivating...unfolds much like a good novel."
— Jonathan Potts, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"A charming and absorbing account of one of American capitalism's eccentric visionaries."
— Anthony Day, Los Angeles Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743282369
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
01/10/2006
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
246,518
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Hershey

Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams
By Michael D'Antonio

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2007 Michael D'Antonio
All right reserved.



Introduction

Tourists who travel by car -- and more than four million come every year -- often start at the landmark Hotel Hershey, which occupies a ridge that rises more than a hundred feet above the Lebanon Valley in central Pennsylvania. It's a Moorish-style fortress with ornamental towers and a green tile roof. The view from its veranda is the best one available. To the south a scene that looks like a model railroad display comes to life. Cars speed along smooth asphalt highways. Lush cornfields give way to a color-splashed amusement park with ten roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, and a snaking monorail. Beyond the neon and flapping pennants stand old factory buildings, church spires, and houses. Every once in a while a freight train will snake its way along the tracks that slice through the valley.

A drive into town on Sand Beach Road, which becomes Park Avenue, takes you along the east flank of the park. The double-track roller coaster -- ninety feet high at its tallest point -- is so close to the road that a falling cap could land on your car. Farther along, on a quieter, shady stretch of road waits a small zoo, which is set beside a pristine little creek. Park Avenue then takes a sharp turn and climbs up and over a bridge that crosses railroad tracks. On the other side you are suddenly depositedin another place and time.

In downtown Hershey, the streetlights are shaped like giant Kisses candies. A century-old factory made of soft red brick sprouts a pair of giant smokestacks decorated with the letters H-E-R-S-H-E-Y. The emerald fairways of a golf course stretch out from the factory lawn. Across the avenue, gracious old houses, some dating from 1905, occupy carefully manicured properties.

All of Hershey, including the zoo, the antique town, the amusement park, the playful streetlights, and even the factory, is clean and neat and cheerful. Even the names of the major streets -- Chocolate Avenue and Cocoa Avenue -- bring a smile to a visitor's face. And that's before he stops, gets out of the car, and realizes that the air in this Willy Wonka place smells like sweet cocoa. Hershey always smells like this. On a humid summer day when there is no breeze it's so strong you can taste it.

In this town of 13,000 souls, business people and civic boosters promote an image of kindhearted contentment. Squabbling is bad for business, and the main businesses in little Hershey -- tourism and candy -- rack up sales in excess of $5 billion per year. For this reason, the great howl of protest that erupted in Hershey in the summer of 2002 drew reporters and TV news crews from around the world.

It all started with small groups of worried citizens meeting in living rooms and kitchens. Then townspeople noticed handmade signs tacked to light poles, staked on lawns, and taped onto shop windows. Some said, "Derail the Sale." Others warned, "Wait 'til Mr. Hershey finds out!"

The object of these protests was the Milton Hershey School Trust, which held controlling interest in the famous chocolate company for the benefit of a residential school for needy children. The stock was worth as much as $10 billion and the trust was planning to sell it to the highest bidder. Fifty-seven years earlier, when founder Milton S. Hershey died, the trust guaranteed that local residents who shared a common sense of purpose and community would run the company and protect the economy of the town. If the stock was sold, the chocolate-making firm that had represented the playful and prosperous spirit of the community for a century would pass from local control.

Worried conversations about the sale quickly led to an organized opposition. Finally, on a scorching hot Friday in August, more than five hundred citizens marched through downtown waving placards and shouting while police looked on.

This being Hershey, when the people took to the streets they were careful to dress nicely and walk with care, avoiding damage to private lawns and public gardens. Younger protesters kept a kind eye on the elderly marchers to make sure they didn't suffer in the heat. Nobody cursed. Nobody threw a punch, a bottle, or a scrap of litter.

But as mild mannered as the demonstration was, it was also a sign of deeply felt worry. Never in the town's history had such a varied group united behind a single cause. The opposition included many retired Hershey company executives, including the silver-haired former chairman of the board, Richard Zimmerman, who stood to earn a fortune on his stock if the sale went forward. The retired executives were joined by union workers who stood with alumni of the Milton Hershey School. Men who once designed ad campaigns for Hershey bars developed antisale propaganda. Schoolchildren marched beside doctors, lawyers, and local politicians.

At a rally, alumni leader Ric Fouad shouted, "We're not here to mourn, we're here to mobilize!" Onlookers waved placards that read, "Power to the People!" and "Save Our Town!"

The idea of selling the Hershey company was born of good intentions. Board members of the Milton Hershey School Trust, which held a controlling interest in what was formally called the Hershey Foods Corporation, had decided that the charity's dependence on the firm's stock was unwise. American securities markets were in the middle of a long steep decline. Some major companies -- WorldCom, Enron, etc. -- were collapsing in scandal and leaving investors with pennies on the dollar. Looking at the perilous markets, the board members secretly decided to sell the trust's stake in Hershey and invest the windfall in a more diverse portfolio.

Although other charities held big stakes in corporations, the situation in Hershey was unusual. For one thing, the trust was devoted to a single enterprise: an eleven-hundred-pupil residential school for needy children. For another, the value of the trust was enormous. Estimated at $5 billion, it was already eight times larger than the endowment of Phillips Exeter Academy, the nation's next-richest school. Indeed, only six universities held larger endowments, which meant that the Milton Hershey School was richer than Cornell, Columbia, or the University of Pennsylvania.

But as big as it was, the trust was unusually vulnerable because a crash in one company's stock price would do enormous damage to its portfolio. The diversification that a sale would make possible would reduce this risk. It could also produce a onetime windfall. Bidders would recognize that Hershey's many brands, which included Reese's, York, and Jolly Ranchers candies, had been underexploited. Properly managed, which might mean breaking the company into pieces, the whole lot might be worth not $5 billion but closer to $10 billion.

From a fiduciary standpoint, selling the company was in the interest of the trust and the Milton Hershey School. And the timing was right. The big global companies that dominated the candy business -- Nestlé, Cadbury-Schweppes, Kraft -- were in a buying mood. If the trust board didn't consider selling, it would fail to meet its duty to the institution and its students.

As much as the residents of Hershey cared about the needy children at the school, they had a hard time believing that a sale was necessary. Even without maximizing its investment, the trust's income far exceeded the board's ability to spend it every year. Not that they didn't try. They had built lavish facilities, expanded enrollment, and hired top-notch staff. With the cost of building maintenance factored in, they spent about $100,000 per year per child. And still the excess revenues piled up. How much more could the school need?

With the trust already rich, opponents of the sale thought the board was asking the community to make an unnecessary sacrifice. Roughly six thousand people held jobs in the company, including about three thousand unionized factory workers. A new owner was likely to see that bigger profits could be had if manufacturing were consolidated in other places, where wages, taxes, and other costs were lower. If the factories were moved, the jobs would be very difficult to replace. The change would also affect tourism and the very identity of the community. What's a chocolate town without a chocolate plant?

The town of Hershey had been created first in the imagination of the chocolate industrialist Milton S. Hershey, who then made it real in a place where there had been little more than a few farmhouses and acres of corn. The chocolate factory, the school, and the town were supposed to make up a self-perpetuating little utopia of capitalism and charity, and all three had thrived for ninety-nine years by adhering to his vision.

The idealism of Milton S. Hershey was cited over and over again by those who tried to stop the sale. With no real authority in the matter -- private trusts are not required to answer to the public -- they appealed to state officials and the court of public opinion. To do this, they put together a story that described the trustees as greedy and heartless outsiders who didn't understand the destruction they would visit on the town. They then welcomed the national media.

The reporters who came to Hershey saw a tableau of small-town America that was as appealing as the dream M.S., as he was known, held in his mind when he created his factory and his community. And like so many visitors before them, they agreed with the writer who, in the midst of the Great Depression, observed the town of Hershey's stubborn prosperity and isolation and declared it "a 10,000 acre world of its own."

Not one journalist missed the opportunity to flavor the story with references to the town's peculiarities and charming asides about chocolate. By the time the press was through, the entire nation would understand that a uniquely benevolent and impossibly cute village, which called itself "the Sweetest Place on Earth," was being bullied out of its dreamy existence by coldhearted money managers.

"They're threatening to tear the soul out of this community," one community leader told The Washington Post.

In the months-long struggle that took place after the Hershey Trust board acknowledged its plans to sell control of the company, most of the talk was focused on the future. Those who worried about the Hershey School and the children it served noted that other charities had recently lost billions of dollars as their stock holdings declined during the end of the bull market. The enormous David and Lucille Packard Foundation had seen half its money disappear as the price of Hewlett-Packard company shares fell. The Ford Foundation lost one-fifth of its value, and the Annie E. Casey trust fell 13 percent in the same bad market.

Opponents of the sale could argue using their own examples. When Tyco International bought AMP Manufacturing of nearby Harrisburg, it quickly laid off two thousand workers and shut its headquarters facility. Looking further afield, the Hershey sale opponents saw that in town after town where lumber companies, textile plants, and steel mills were sold, communities soon suffered enormous job losses. Smaller companies that supplied goods and services went bankrupt. Downtown business districts became ghost towns with plywood-covered storefronts, property values crumbled, and public services from schools to police withered for lack of tax dollars. Perhaps the best example of this pattern was Gary, Indiana, a prosperous center for steelmaking that became a nationally known symbol of urban blight when the mills shut down.

In Hershey, the competing predictions raised by the trustees and their opponents -- one side saw disaster, the other a smooth transition -- left little middle ground and forced people to take a stand. Almost every person the opponents approached, from Milton Hershey School alumni to former company executives and even the governor of Pennsylvania, came out against the sale. Governor Mark Schweicker said that the sale would imperil the state's economy and announced that keeping the company independent was one of his top priorities.

The economic value of the candy company's presence was easy to grasp, but if one listened to what the most impassioned people on both sides had to say, other powerful concerns emerged. Time and again people spoke of the town as an idyllic, nearly perfect place where citizens felt happier, safer, and more secure than people on the outside. Beyond the issues of jobs and money, they were fighting about the concept of community, and the ultimate purpose of corporations, which, after all, are human enterprises that generate wealth through the efforts of flesh and blood people.

Bruce Hummel, business agent for the local union, spoke for many when he declared without a touch of irony that "Hershey is a utopia" worth fighting for. But the statement that was heard most often sounded an even more peculiar ring. Time and again people wondered aloud, "What would Mr. Hershey do?"

As the conflict over the town's future raged, former employee Monroe Stover, age 102, told the local paper that "Mr. Hershey would never have considered" the proposed sale.

For their part, backers of the school trust's proposed sale reminded others that M.S. had himself considered selling the business before the stock market crash of 1929. Needy children were his first concern, they argued, and he would sell if it were in their best interest. For support, they cited Hershey's will in the way that fundamentalist preachers quote Scripture, pointing to a passage that invests in the trustees "full power and authority" to manage the vast fortune that M.S. left in their hands in any way they "may consider safe."

At the height of the furor, an outsider who arrived in Hershey might have believed that M.S. Hershey, dead since 1945, had risen from the grave. The local papers published his picture on a regular basis. His name was spoken in coffee shops and in taverns, in schools and in offices. Everywhere people tried to put themselves in Milton Hershey's place, to imagine what would be in his heart and mind. Most of those who lived in the town of Hershey decided that the eccentric millionaire would favor keeping everything just as it was.

The most remarkable aspect of the great conversation that occurred around Milton Hershey's ideals was that it happened at all. In his life, which ran from before the Civil War, through the Gilded Age, the Great Depression, and World War II, Hershey's wealth, if not his fame, was exceeded by contemporaries such as Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford. Indeed, scores of men accumulated fortunes greater than Hershey's and built charities and institutions that became monuments to their achievements. But try to name a great person of Hershey's era who, in 2002, would preoccupy the imagination of an entire community, and thousands of people beyond it, as a great controversy raged. Where and when would anyone ask, "What would Andrew Carnegie (or Cornelius Vanderbilt or Henry Ford) do?"

M.S. Hershey inspired this kind of reverence because he had created not just a great business and an enormous charity, but a complete, prosperous, and self-sustaining community that reflected his idealistic attitudes about everything from commerce to education and architecture. And unlike other model towns of its era, Hershey succeeded and continued to grow long after its founder was gone. Indeed, even as they were fighting over the future, the people of Hershey were preparing to celebrate in 2003 the one hundredth anniversary of the town's founding and a full century of prosperity that was unbroken, even during the Great Depression. The plan envisioned a series of events, culminating in a parade on Milton's birthday, September 13.

The power of Hershey's legacy was plain to see in the ways that people rallied around his memory and his creations. Some people actually described the place as a little kingdom where the monarch's ideals continued to rule long after his demise. "If Milton Hershey were alive there's no way he'd want the Hershey Trust to sell the company," said Kathy Lewis, head of a local historical society. "He created a benevolent dictatorship. Selling Hershey is like selling the soul of a unique community."

At first the quality of Hershey, Pennsylvania's devotion to its founder can strike a visitor as strange, almost cultlike. The American ideal doesn't generally offer room to the notion of a dictatorship on U.S. soil, even if it is a happy and benevolent one. Americans are more comfortable with an ethic that emphasizes individuality and autonomy. We prefer stories of utopias that failed because we believe that human nature abhors an egoist's grand designs.

But a close examination reveals that Milton S. Hershey's creations -- the company, the town, and the school -- were more a reflection of his values than his ego. Though he possessed a strong will and could be imperious, M.S. was often shy and sentimental. Despite his great wealth he lived in relative modesty, except when traveling abroad. And he held to common values, including respect for others, fair dealing, and honest effort. These were the values that were raised by those who protested the Hershey Trust's sale of the company.

Ultimately, the most compelling aspects of the Hershey story lay not in the immediate conflict but in the history that brought people together in support of an ideal personified by a man. From a modest beginning, M.S. created a model community powered by a highly successful corporation that was devoted to the welfare of its people. Alone among the special places built in an era of big dreams, Hershey has withstood every economic, social, and political challenge. At a time when many Americans feel isolated in their communities, insecure in their jobs, and confused about the nature and purpose of wealth, the Hershey story offers answers, cautions, and inspiration.

Copyright 2006 by Michael D'Antonio



Continues...


Excerpted from Hershey by Michael D'Antonio Copyright © 2007 by Michael D'Antonio. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Michael D'Antonio is the author of many acclaimed books, including Atomic Harvest, Fall from Grace, Tin Cup Dreams, Mosquito, and The State Boys Rebellion. His work has also appeared in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Discover, and many other publications. Among his many awards is the Pulitzer Prize, which he shared with a team of reporters for Newsday.

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Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the book, Hershey: Milton S. Hershey¿s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams by Michael D¿ Antonio, the reader experiences the sweetness of Milton Hershey and captures his life beyond chocolate. He was not only a trendsetter, but also a dreamer and a businessman, doing quality work for enjoyment of the people. The Chocolate King was born in September 13, 1857 in Derry Township, Pennsylvania. He created milk chocolate, sweet caramels, and many other popular sweet treats today. Mr. Hershey also created a school for the less fortunate and orphaned children. The school provides a free world-class education and all the amenities. During his life he strrived to help people and children who were underprivileged, with his big heart and open mind he accomplished just that, and it thrives on today. The major message in this book is that when you dream big, like Milton Hershey, you can put anything you set your mind on. The theme is to strive, what you want to accomplish, is possible to be executed. Milton Hershey was a prime example, with his chocolate work, marketing ideas, and creating a school for children. He strrived to follow is dreams and he was very successful. As a reader, the positives for this book were the detail in explaining the life of Milton Hershey, and explicating them well. Unlike other biographies, this book was far from being vague. The only negative towards this novel is that for some readers, they may not grasp all of the details in Hershey¿s life and may be confused if they only skim the text. The reason for reading this book is to not only learn about the Chocolate King, but to also appreciate him. He did his actions out of kindness, not because he was obliged to, but because he aspired to make the world a sweeter place. This goal is something all people should aspire to do, kind actions shouldn¿t have to be compelled, but chosen. This book deserves an overall rating of four stars because of the details descriptions of the events throughout his life. This is the perfect book to learn all about the great Milton Hershey.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Everyone knows Mr. Hershey for chocolate. Fewer people know that he secretly gave almost his entire fortune away 35 years before his death to provide perpetual support for an orphanage. The gift unintentionally became public 4 years later. He then carefully oversaw that orphanage, which grew to 1,500 students and became the Milton Hershey School. He also established an orphanage of similar size in Cuba, where he had large investments in sugar operations. I found this book to be extremely well-researched and well-written. I have read 3 previous books and many articles on Mr. Hershey and this book covered many facets that were not previously reported. The author does an exemplary job of putting incidents in Mr. Hershey's life within a larger historical context. The author's main goal was to delve into Mr. Hershey's character and actions in a way that goes beyond the myths. In the process, he finds some faults (such as gambling and a temper), but this critical examination provides a much more refined picture of the man's greatness. As a result, we see that Mr. Hershey's accomplishments stand up to intensive scrutiny. The book describes a long rivalry between Mr. Hershey and William Wrigley. It started when Mr. Hershey thought that Wrigley had cheated him while they were gambling on an ocean liner. That spurred Mr. Hershey to enter the chewing gum business (which lost millions) and to almost buy the Philadelphia Phillies to compete with Wrigley's team. The book tells a story about an incoming student to the orphanage in the 1930s, who enrolled at age 7 after his mother died. He said Mr. Hershey 'was right there when I first arrived at the school and they were giving me my clothes. He put his arm around me and said, `From now on, we'll take care of you. You're one of my boys.' He said Mr. Hershey visited them every 2 weeks, and he remembers playing with Mr. Hershey in his car behind the steering wheel pretending to drive. The book also describes the controversy surrounding the then-proposed sale of the Hershey Company in late 2001 by the Trust that Mr. Hershey had established. The emphasis is how the local community used the heritage of Mr. Hershey to fight the sale. One item in the book that has gotten some unpleasant attention is a possibility that his wife had late stage syphilis. This discussion is only on one page out of a 300 page book. The author theorizes that the illness was without symptoms for many years after they met and was not contagious at that stage.
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JamesRKelley More than 1 year ago
This book gave me a great insight into the mind of success. Hershey made many mistakes, but followed his heart and kept trying to learn. This is a must read for anyone wanting to start a business.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a book report, and I wouldn't recommend this to anyone at all. This book gets off topic: A lot. The author talks about Milton only twice in each chapter, and the rest is stuff you don't need to know. For example in Chapter 5, do we need to know about Tom Pullman, or Jane Adams?? I don't think so because I bought this book to learn about Hershey, and not the dilly-dolly people that did not affect his life
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hershey's is synonymous with chocolate. But who was behind the chocolate bar? Having eaten a few too many hershey bars and hershey kisses I was curious to find out more about this empire of chocolate (yum!). A broad but detailed biography of a progressive bussiness man with a social conscious this was a wonderful find. D'Antonio satifies your curiosity and unveils a hidden magnate who actually also did a lot for society in his day. Milton Hershey was brilliant, eccentric and a utopist - to the extent that when he announced to friends and family he was opening a chocolate factory, his family wanted to have him committed. Ten years later Hershey was a success and had created Hershey Park, a perfectly planned factory town. Milton Hershey was not only a force to be reckoned with in business (he was originator of many of today's theories of branding, marketing and public relations) but also a pioneer in areas of corporate accountability and social responsibility. When he died he left an $8 billion trust for a foundation dedicated to children. Corporate success and a social conscious, all too rare today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael D¿Antonio has achieved a rare balance in this best-selling biography. He recounts a complex life story that it is often as vividly exciting as a good novel, but he carefully and factually grounds it as solid history. What¿s more, he balances an element of exposé with respect for his subject. D¿Antonio shares all the lurid gossip about Milton S. Hershey and outlines all of the chocolate manufacturer¿s flaws and limitations. Nevertheless, he retains a respectful tone in absorbing, readable prose. He shows how some of Hershey¿s good deeds may have included elements of self-interest, whimsy or even neurosis, but he does not dismiss their essential goodness. Finally, he explains how Hershey¿s personal qualities led to his success, and how larger social trends shaped his business. We recommend this book to those who are interested in industrial history, and to those who love chocolate and are intrigued by the man and the business behind the quintessential American candy bar.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
S&#1exual
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BOO BOO:(((
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seems cool
kelsey2465 More than 1 year ago
I had to read a book in my freshman english class over the summer about a person of my choice. I was naturally drawn to this book because of delicous, melt-in-your-mouth image on the cover. As I read the book i found myself craving chocolate from companies that don't even exist any more! Milton S. Hershey had so much other stuff going on than just inventing the Hershey chocolate bar and most people don't know that. I highly recomend this book to anyone who wants a good sit-down read. Although it is lengthy, it is very good.