For God, Country & Coca-Cola is a cultural, social, and economic history of America as seen through the green glass of a Coke bottle. And what a quintessentially American tale it is. Coca-Cola began humbly as a patent medicine amid the fervor and chaos of Reconstruction Atlanta. A shrewd marketeer saw its value as a beverage, and it rapidly grew through the Gilded Age to become the dominant consumer product of the American Century.
The key to Coca-Cola’s success was ubiquitous advertising, as the Company’s master myth-makers first created and then quenched the thirst of a nation. And when World War II carried American troops overseas, the soft drink went as well, laying the foundation for an enduring and lucrative presence.
Drawing on previously untapped archival sources, For God, Country & Coca-Cola paints vivid portraits of the entrepreneurs who led the Company: pious Methodist Asa Candler, who nourished the fledgling enterprise across the threshold of a century; cigar-chomping Robert Woodruff, who hosted presidents at his Georgia plantation; the aristocratic Roberto Goizueta, whose cosmopolitan background gave him the vision to reach global markets; aggressive Doug Ivester, the self-styled “wolf” who declared war on other soft drinks; and now Doug Daft, the Australian CEO who has turned the company on its head by laying off 20% of the workforce.
All have left indelible imprints on Coca-Cola. Here, too, is a colorful supporting cast of hustlers, ad men, zealots, and capitalist missionaries who have made the soft drink the most recognizable trademark in the world. Despite its occasionally tarnished image, the Company has marched zealously forward with its cherished product — and its global conquest.
Provocative, controversial, and always entertaining, For God, Country & Coca-Cola reveals how Coke has irrevocably transformed our world. As family saga, cultural history, and, finally, the complete story of an American icon, this book is “the Real Thing.”