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Citizen Coke by Bartow J. Elmore
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Citizen Coke

The Making of Coca-Cola Capitalism

$17.96 USD

Retail price (USD): $19.95

Discount: 10%

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Narrator William Hughes
Length 11 hours 22 minutes
Language English
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Coke's insatiable thirst for resources shapes the company and reshapes the globe in this absorbing history.

Coca-Cola's success in building a global empire out of sugary water drew on more than a secret formula and brilliant advertising. The real secret to Coke's success was its strategy, from the beginning, to offload production costs and risks onto suppliers and franchisees. Outsourcing and a trim corporate profile enabled Coke to scale up production of a low-price beverage and realize huge profits.

But the costs shed by Coke have fallen on the public at large. Coke now uses an annual 79 billion gallons of water, an increasingly precious global resource, and its reliance on corn syrup has helped fuel our obesity crisis. Bartow J. Elmore explores Coke through its ingredients, showing how the company secured massive quantities of coca leaf, caffeine, sugar, and other inputs. Citizen Coke became a giant in a world of abundance; in a world of scarcity, it is a strain on resources and all who depend on them.

Bartow J. Elmore, an Atlanta native, grew up drinking Coke. He now teaches history at the University of Alabama.

William Hughes is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. A professor of political science at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, he received his doctorate in American politics from the University of California at Davis. He has done voice-over work for radio and film and is also an accomplished jazz guitarist.

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Reviews

Citizen Coke began as a dissertation, and its points are lucid and logically presented; the language is accessible, and punchy chapter endings propel the story.”

“A riveting look at an iconic American company and the long-range implications of its practices.”

“An eye-opening account…deeply informed…A superb, quietly devastating environmental and business history.”

“Founded in 1866 by a ‘cash-strapped morphine addict operating out of a small pharmaceutical shop,’ Coca-Cola didn’t have the most auspicious beginnings. However, as historian Elmore shows in this detailed profile, the company’s success can be traced to an ingenious strategy: supply only the syrup and let suppliers and franchises bear the costs of bottling and distribution, while utilizing the public water supply…A well-researched and accessible history of one of the world’s most iconic brands.”

Citizen Coke is a brilliant analysis of Coke’s empire in ecological, economic, and social terms. It allows us to see the contours of an economy based on partnerships between governments and corporations like Coca-Cola. It makes us conscious of the giant ecological footprint of the Real Thing, which impacts the real lives of real people. If you want a deeper understanding of our world today, read Citizen Coke.”

“A fascinating, thought-provoking approach to Coca-Cola history through the drink’s primary ingredients—water, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, coca leaf, caffeine—and the glass, plastic, and aluminum that contain them.”

“Coca-Cola is one of the most powerful economic institutions of our time, but its social and ecological impacts remain understudied. Now, in the hands of a talented young historian, corporate capitalism gets the attention it deserves in a careful dissection of the material underpinnings of the world’s most valuable brand. Citizen Coke will cause you to drink less and think more.”

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