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Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola

Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola [Kindle Edition]

Mark Thomas
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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This is great comedy, great travel writing, and great reporting --The Times (27/09/2008)

By far the most entertaining left-wing polemicist currently operating, as well as one of the smartest and most effective --The Times (27/09/2008)

A compelling investigation --Financial Times (02/11/2008)


'By far the most entertaining left-wing polemicist currently operating, as well as one of the smartest and most effective' - Times

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not all sweetness and sugar 11 Oct 2008
By A. Webb
Reading any of Mark Thomas's books, articles, or even watching an episode of the television series that preceeded them always leaves me feeling angry, depressed and with a real frustration that I am doing little to make the world a better place. So it was with some trepidation that I finally picked up Belching Out The Devil. I was also concerned that as a conscientious consumer who already avoids Coca-Cola that the book would merely be preaching to the converted (me).

Belching Out The Devil brings you on a journey around the world, tackling the many issues that blacken the Coca-Cola brand; the infringement on workers rights, the environmental impact and drought caused by the bottling plants and the pure disregard that The Coca-Cola Company has for the communities it inhabits. It is an easy read packed with hard hitting facts, humour and pop culture references which help you connect with the author, meaning that he becomes a character in his own book rather than assuming the role of preacher. It is well researched and leaves no hole for Coca-Cola to wiggle through. At all times Coca-Cola are asked to respond to Mark Thomas's allegations and at all times his questions are greeted with frustrating PR spiel, there is a hope that if Coca-Cola learn anything from this book it would be to stop making excuses and actually commit themselves fully to the corporate social responsibility they espouse.

There is no call to action in Belching Out The Devil but it does leave you with the sensation of needing to do something, weather it be a boycott or just awareness raising amongst those you know. Some of the stories contained within are reassuring proof that it is possible for one person to make a difference.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We need more men Like Mark Thomas 16 Nov 2008
By M. Lee
No one else seems to have the cohones of this man, I applaud him, for both his tenacity, but also for his humor in the face of so much global misery, having recently seen his live show as well I have even more admiration for him, buy this book and admire the man that dares to go up against big business and Governments.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A spoonful of medicine to help the sugar go down 20 Jan 2009
Once a political stand up, Mark Thomas has taken his unusual research methodology from the arms trade to the world of "sparkling beverages" in this, his second full length book.

Those, who are expecting to read about political hi-jinx in the style of his mass lone demonstrations or pretending to be a PR firm for arms dealers, will find that the style of attack has become far more direct. Thomas takes the fight directly to The Coca Cola Company, and does not try to disguise it.

The mood is fairly bleak, and it remains that way throughout the book. There are funny passages describing his experiences of airport terminals and strange rituals, but this is not a book to laugh at.

This is a book that documents injustices handed out to workers in Colombia, India and El Salvador, and sees how Coca Cola has even managed to become part of a religion.

Whilst you'd expect the anti-Coke message to power through, this is a far more measured appraisal, compared to the pure hatred levelled at arms dealers. The Coke PR Machine occasionally has the answers, but they are often far from satisfactory.

If I were to level one criticism at this book - the spelling and grammar were all over the place. Did I get a duff copy, has anyone else noticed there are errors in every chapter?

That said, this is a a must read for those who want to know what the "sparkling beverage" industry is really responsible for.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad corporation 2 Nov 2008
This is an educational and and enjoyable read even though the story is about the blighted lives of people on different continents at the hands of coke.
Mark exposes the staunch anti union attitudes of the company, the damage they cause to the environment and the lies they tell when fingers are pointed at them, not to mention the bully-boy tactics when their grasp on the market is threatened.
It's only sugary water after all.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A view into the dark side of the sweet stuff 29 Sep 2008
When Mark Thomas digs his teeth into something, it's rarely a comfortable experience, but always an enlightening one. In his search for the story behind one of the world's largest brands, Mark talks to farmers whose wells have dried up, workers sacked for daring to belong to a union, and many other people who have suffered because of Coca Cola and its subsidiaries.

A well researched, well written book that should be on the top of everyone's list. Particularly if, like me, you actually quite like Coke.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I've always liked Mark Thomas' brand of protest politics, investigative journalism and stand-up comedy, so I was interested to see he has taken on the mighty Coca Cola empire.

My first impressions of this particular book though, are two-fold: firstly, that's a terrible name. Secondly, it's a terrible cover. Still, it's the writing inside that counts, and all is well on that front.

`Belching out the devil' chronicles a series of journeys to various parts of the world to meet those who have experienced `the Coke side of life'. There are Indian farmers with empty wells, Colombian trade unionists with collections of death threats, hassled Mexican shopkeepers who committed the unforgivable sin of stocking rival brand `Big Cola' in their fridges. Thomas does a great job of portraying these characters, giving them faces and names and vividly describing their communities, interspersing their stories with his own amusing travel writing.

Coca Cola get the right to reply, and a pattern rapidly emerges: because Coca Cola operate a franchise system, their back is always covered. "The Coca Cola Company does not own or operate any bottling plants in Colombia" has always, famously, been their answer to accusations of union busting, even to the point where 7 union organisers were killed at one bottling plant. They are able to say the same of the bottlers in India who are lowering the water table, or the ones employing children in El Salvador.

As Thomas says, "no matter where the human rights abuses occurred, if it's your name on the label then you're responsible for sorting it out." Unfortunately this could be said of almost every major corporation, from oil companies to high street fashion houses. Brands should not be allowed to hide behind middle men.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Thomas rules!
Mark Thomas is my favourite stand-up comedian anyway.

This book is a serious attempt by Thomas, a self-confessed Coca-Cola lover, to look at the workings of the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Miki J
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value
Great book, great value! Its a really interesting read, reccommended to me by a friend, I wasnt disappointed and would ask anyone to take a look!
Published on 14 Sep 2011 by Elizabeth Hibbett
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Business - stripped bare!
Mark Thomas does a very thorough task of uncovering the global rampage performed by what everybody assumes is a responsible American business. Read more
Published on 22 Feb 2011 by Mr. William Oxley
4.0 out of 5 stars Coca Cola, sit up, listen and 'do the right thing.'
This book really does make you think on how some big businesses actually behave in reality in todays global world. Read more
Published on 8 Feb 2011 by M. Ahmed
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp and shocking
After a worrying start in which Mark Thomas appears momentarily to have gone soft, I'm happy to report that Mark Thomas is still at the cutting edge of investigative journalism and... Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2010 by Mr. Stuart Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars Coca colas' true colours!
This is an amazing book written by Mark Thomas, it will make you sad, happy, angry and give you an accasional hysterical laugh. Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2009 by Mr. A. Said
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for the author, 0 stars for the publisher
Everything you would expect from the formidable Mr. Thomas. Well researched, rational writing on the despicable treatment of anybody not part of the company by Coca-Cola. Read more
Published on 26 May 2009 by J. Driscoll
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and weep
I read this book while on holiday in India and it made for some very interesting discussions with my husband. Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2009 by Rabbit Face
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