Booklist, October 1, 2010
“This tale of capitalist rivalry mixed with Quaker values makes for a very sweet journey.”
“This is a delicious book, seductive as a tray of bonbons, a Fancy Box in every way.”
The New Yorker Book Bench
“For chocolate lovers and Roald Dahl fans, some heartening news: Willy Wonka’s factory – or at least something that sounds very much like it – was a real place... Though Cadbury begins with teasingly enviable childhood recollections... the story she tells is really about Quakers, and one family’s continuous struggle to reconcile religious values – pacifism, austerity, sobriety – with the indulgent nature of their product and the ruthlessly competitive capitalism of the world in which they made their fortune... It’s hard not to root for these guys and the story is all the more bittersweet because we know how it ends.”
The Daily Telegraph
“Engaging and scholarly, confident and compassionate, Chocolate Wars is less a family biography than an impressively thought provoking parable for our times... A vibrant history.”
“Fascinating...Chocolate Wars presents narrative history at its most absorbing, peopled by colourful characters: the true story of the chocolate pioneers, the visions and ideals that inspired them and the mouth-watering concoctions they created... Deborah gives readers an insider look, fleshing out the stories around her family with her familiar competence as a bestselling historian and award winning documentary maker.”
“A fine pocket history of corporate confectionery... Cadbury has a knack for capturing the driven personalities who launched these [chocolate] empires.”
Philadelphia Inquirer, November 28, 2010
“The inside story of the 150-year rivalry among Cadbury, Hershey, Nestlé, and Mars is a fascinating and luscious tale. Deborah Cadbury, great-great-great-granddaughter of 19th-century chocolate maker John Cadbury, tells it eloquently in Chocolate Wars, drawing the reader into her epic of family and industry with clear love for her subject.”
Christian Science Monitor, December 1, 2010
“[Chocolate Wars] pits idealism against capitalism, religious piety against the forces of greed and cutthroat competition. Though, like great fiction, it defies belief, it’s the true story of our favorite guilty pleasure. Cadbury’s book, like her namesake’s famous sampler, is full of surprises and delights.”
Bnreview.com, December 2010
“This engaging history of the 150-year rivalry among the world's greatest chocolate makers—the English firms Fry, Rowntree, and Cadbury (to which the author, Deborah Cadbury, is an heiress), their European competitors Lindt and Nestlé, and the American upstarts Hershey and Mars—is delightful, especially for its fascinating portrait of the 19th-century success of Quaker capitalism, built quite remuneratively on the ideal that wealth creation entails responsibilities beyond personal gain.”
Boston Globe, November 14, 2010
“Deborah Cadbury begins with a brief description of Quaker aims and humane business practices before moving on through the history of the family business. This takes in the truly exciting race to put Cadbury’s chocolate candy in every mouth, to the exclusion of that made by rival English Quaker firms, Rowntree and Fry, to say nothing of the Swiss Lindt and Nestlé. Her many faceted account takes in technology, distribution, and industrial espionage, advertising and packaging, labor relations and model housing for workers, the role of the firm and its owners in wartime and international expansion.”
Gulfnews.com, November 26, 2010
“Engaging and scholarly, Chocolate Wars is less a family biography than an impressively thought-provoking parable for our times.”
Los Angeles Times, November 28, 2010
“Fascinating…Read this excellent book.”
“Although written by proud Cadbury kin, the narrative is balanced and fair. This is a well written and well researched look at chocolate and the Quaker business tradition that any food or history buff will enjoy.”
“Chocolate Wars – clear, readable and richly detailed – is at least as much about Quakers as it is about chocolate... enjoyable.”
Financial Times, November 15, 2010
“Deborah Cadbury’s branch of the Cadbury family wasn’t involved in the chocolate business but she garnered a deep impression from a childhood visit to her cousins’ company and the reader of Chocolate Wars feels they are getting an insider’s view. Her own background as a historian and TV documentary maker means that this book communicates in an episodic and visual style, making what risks being a dull subject gripping as it flips back and forth around the world documenting parallel events in the emergence of the chocolate industry.”
Examiner.com, November 14, 2010
“The 150-year rivalry among the world’s greatest chocolate making families, is told by a descendant of one of the families. Just think what sweetness came out of these families' rivalries, depicted deliciously in this new book.”
Deborah Cadbury…has done a wonderful job conjuring up visions of the Victorian age…This is a delicious book, seductive as a tray of bonbons, a Fancy Box in every way.
The Washington Post
Cadbury (Space Race: The Battle To Rule the Heavens), a descendant of the Cadbury family, here traces the development—via her famous family and world events, ending with Kraft's 2010 Cadbury acquisition—of the international chocolate industry from its humble beginning with a fatty and gritty drink in the early 1800s to the milk chocolate confections we know today. In addition to providing a history of chocolate, she also stresses the importance of the Cadburys' Quaker religion in their lives and businesses practices. In the Quaker tradition, the Cadbury family was very concerned with social welfare and righting social wrongs, including poverty and slavery. Although written by proud Cadbury kin, the narrative is balanced and fair. VERDICT Overall, this is a well-written and well-researched look at chocolate and the Quaker business tradition that any food or history buff will enjoy.—Lisa A. Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.
The tale of the surprisingly cutthroat world of corporate chocolate-making, influenced by religion, science, slavery and globalization.
In early 2010, Kraft Foods acquired Cadbury, the longtime independent British chocolate maker. Deborah Cadbury (Space Race: The Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space, 2006, etc.), a descendant of the family that had run what was once the world's largest confectioner, laments the ownership change, and makes her anti-Kraft bias clear in the opening and closing pages of the book. The narrative isn't solely focused on Cadbury, however, and the author gives ample space to the many firms that have fought to dominate the market since the mid-1800s. At that time, Cadbury was one of a handful of Quaker-owned British confectioners that eschewed advertising and redirected profits to charity.But the firms weren't especially talented at making very good chocolate, and they struggled to produce a tasty and sturdy chocolate bar. As American and Swiss firms like Hershey and Nestlé began to perfect that bar, Cadbury and others hastened to keep up. The author entertainingly captures the spirit of innovation—and occasional lobbying and corporate espionage—that pulled Cadbury from the brink of disaster. The family's influx of profits, along with its do-gooder instincts, prompted it to construct Bournville, a corporate campus for workers away from the Birmingham slums, and to halt the slave-labor practices in São Tomé and Príncipe, where much of its cocoa was grown. Through the 20th century, the British companies were challenged not just by European companies but American juggernauts like Hershey and Mars, and Cadbury has a knack for capturing the driven personalities who launched these empires. Corporate growth has its downside, though, and some of the book's personality is bled from the later chapters, as globalization begins to hold sway and the narrative focuses more heavily on merger negotiations. By the end, a better chocolate bar has been built, but Cadbury's storytelling has faded as much as the company's old Quaker-capitalist morals.
A fine pocket history of corporate confectionery, though there's still room for a less Cadbury-focused entry.