"A Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola...is actually a serious and measured chronology of the storied history of these human beverages, accessible to readers of all ages A sober, serious, yet eminently readable examination of thorny social issues surrounding everyday beverages, A Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola is highly recommended.
--Midwest Book Review
"If you have ever wondered about the coca in Coca-Cola, the caffeine in coffee, or the irrational pharmacological prejudices in our drug laws, this charmingly eccentric combination of detailed historical research and child-friendly drawings is worth your attention. [A Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola] is easily digested and full of interesting details about how psychoactive substance come to be accepted or rejected."
“Cortes' presentation is not the typical dense, non-fiction work, but a highly illustrated one, where emotions and impact are present in brief graphical terms, dancing with the harder history, and with a meticulous bibliography.”
--North Adams Transcript
“It’s impressive how much information Cortés is able to include . . . His illustrations are beautiful, detail-rich colored pencil and pen drawings, and his hand-lettering of typed documents is fantastic.”
“Cortes' latest, A Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola, uses a combination of gritty, mural-like illustrations and painstaking investigative research to explore the relationship between three of the most famous stimulants of all time: coffee, coca leaves (from which cocaine is an alkaloid derivative) and Coca-Cola.”
"Cortés gained popular stature last year with his sweetly counterpoint art in satiric Go the F**k to Sleep. That’s part of his genius: giving the eye important information barely hinted at in the text...[T]he paintings themselves delve more deeply into the facts that the nonfiction text addresses."
--School Library Journal blog
"This book is an incredible work of artistic journalism. Armed with color pencils and an eye for detail, Cortés has produced a beautiful and subversive history of how that bottle of Coke ended up in your fridge. Cortés weaves his people's history with meticulously and gorgeously crafted drawings--many of them recreations of the primary documents he uses to tell his story. The end product is a damning, epic tale of hypocrisy: while the US government leads the charge to criminalize the 10 million people who chew coca, it has simultaneously conspired with a multinational beverage giant to ensure an endless supply of coca to fuel its profits."
--Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
"Ricardo Cortés has unearthed documentation of the astonishingly cozy historical relationship between Coca-Cola executives and antidrug czars, along with coverage of the expensive and unwinnable war on drugs."
--Mark Pendergrast, author of For God, Country & Coca-Cola and Uncommon Grounds
"As works of art, Cortés's illustrations are stunning and intricate. As reportage, the book is obsessive in all the right ways, nailing down hidden facts to reveal a truth I never would have expected. It is rare to find serious reportage that reads like a novel; Cortés has pulled off the mind-boggling trick of making it read like a children's book."
--Tracie McMillan, author of The American Way of Eating
"A nicely illustrated bit of history about three plants and the fascinating story of people's relationships with them."
--Dr. Andrew Weil, author of From Chocolate to Morphine and The Natural Mind