How much do you know about the big-name brands we live by? Virgin, BP, Land Rover, Barclays, Cadbury's, BBC and M&S. In our times the PLCs have been seen as giants, the backbone of commerce and society. Yet seen through a historical perspective they are vulnerable creatures, flowering only briefly. In fact, on the Fortune 500 - a roll-call of power if ever there was one - there's just one company, General Electric, which was on the list half a century ago. The rest have gone: broken, bankrupt, merged, raided for their parts. More like mayflies than megacorps. And getting more fragile all the time. The great corporations that now dominate our lives are treated by the law courts as if they were people. They have the same rights, but unlike us they have no emotions, morals or life histories. The only corporate biographies you find are celebratory, promotional portraits with the warts left out. So, we don't really know where most great brands came from or where they are going. This book spills the beans by telling the real life stories of some of the biggest corporate names, and finds them as dramatic, flawed and revealing as any human biography.