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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not all sweetness and sugar
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...
Published on 11 Oct 2008 by A. Webb

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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The dark side of Coke
Before I review, it is probably appropriate that I position myself in regard to Coke. I've grown up on the stuff, at one stage, during a hot summer day I could easily drink five or six cans. No surprise then that in my mid forties I developed diabetes so I now consume vast quantities of Coke Zero. So I am a Coke fan, I knew what was in it and I made the personal choice...
Published on 2 Oct 2008 by Nick Brett


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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 - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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 "Squid" (Slough) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and weep, 16 Feb 2009
I read this book while on holiday in India and it made for some very interesting discussions with my husband. Now I've always been pretty socially aware and try to be a conscious consumer, so the list of banned items on our shopping list is already pretty extensive. Cola is not a regular item that I buy or consume, so from a personal point of view the revelations about The Coca Cola Company don't change my shopping habits. They do, however, make me very aware of how prevalant the brand is wherever in the world I travel. That Mark has taken so much trouble to tackle the accusations made against TCCC and they have responded so poorly is hardly shocking, but that they deny it all and carry on as before is. It's worth reading this book just to find out how shameless and corrupt big business can be right under the noses of those who should be defending and protecting the rights of workers and individuals. Murder of trade unionists and wilfully poisoning water supplies on a scale that would make a war criminal wince are told from a human perspective and without haranguing the reader. Let's face it if you have picked up the book you're hardly going to be a total numpty and expecting this to be a happy tale of a friendly local firm making some fizzy pop and helping orphans are you ?

My only small gripe was with the publishers of the edition I read which was really poorly proof read. There are masses of spelling and grammatical errors later on in the book which just looked shoddy.
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8 of 8 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
By 
A. Marczak "mazzarak" (Mordor) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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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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
By 
Ms. Clair E. Mcmullen (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
4.0 out of 5 stars An expose of globalisation, as much as a book about Coke, 4 Nov 2008
By 
Jeremy Williams (Luton) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.

In the end,`Belching out the devil' is really an expose of branding, of globalisation and its winners and losers, using Coca Cola as a case study. As such, despite the title and the cover, it's rather good.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars problems of sugary caramel water, 3 Oct 2008
By 
Ms. A. Francis "Amers x" (In a box.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola

The author offers a honest and unbiased account of a journey across the globe to find the truth behind coca-cola. The writing style is warm and entertaining packed with interesting facts which bring you to really question what else you could have with your whisky. Belching out the devil offers a clear and concise account of the sociological, economical and political problems coca-cola brings to communities when it sets up business. I will never drink coca-cola ever again, and I hope you wont either.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Business - stripped bare!, 22 Feb 2011
By 
Mr. William Oxley "oxenblocks" (Farnham, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola (Paperback)
Mark Thomas does a very thorough task of uncovering the global rampage performed by what everybody assumes is a responsible American business.

Coca-Cola comes out of this smelly really bad, and calling them the devil seems to be the polite terminology as we discover their partnership with criminals, their raping of the poor's water resources, and their total lack of social responsibility as they go looking for profit at any cost. The story of how Coca-Cola goes into a community and leaves behind a trail of devastation is beyond criminal.

Read this book and you will not watch those Coca-Cola adverts again in the same light, and you may be tempted never to sip the devils brew again. The whole concept of Coca-Cola comes over as one big marketing exercise as they seek to protect their brand to maximise money. Thinking of drinking Coca-Cola - just say no.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coca Cola, sit up, listen and 'do the right thing.', 8 Feb 2011
By 
M. Ahmed "Mubbisher Ahmed" (Swindon, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola (Paperback)
This book really does make you think on how some big businesses actually behave in reality in todays global world. The buzzword, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and associated spin, spun by Coca Cola made me think really hard about a company that I held in high respect, prior to reading this book.

I just hope that Coca Cola learns from the exploits of Mark Thomas, absorbs the feedback and 'does the right thing' for the future of not only its employees but the people and communities, it touches.
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Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola
Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola by Mark Thomas (Paperback - 2 July 2009)
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