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Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola
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Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  314 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Mark Thomas—a legendarily seditious comedian and human rights activist—is a recovering Coca-Cola addict, a self-described “middle-aged fat dad with asthma” who decides to trek around the globe investigating the stories and people Coca-Cola’s iconic advertising campaigns don’t mention: child laborers in the sugarcane fields of El Salvador, Indian workers exposed to toxic ch ...more
Paperback, 364 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Nation Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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MJ Nicholls
There seems to be a trend now for our favourite tooth-rotting products to be made by duplicitous irresponsible prickheads—the happy world of Haribo (child labour, quelle surprise), our old favourite Nestlé, and Coca-Cola, the sugariest sickliest dentist’s favourite. So, from this excellent book, ten reasons to boycott Coca-Cola. 1) They are lying hucksters who hide behind lawyers, every inch the cartoon criminal multinational. 2) They contract out to people who use child labour on their sugar pl ...more
Heather Cawte
Written with Mark Thomas' trademark sarcasm and crusading zeal, this is an account of his lengthy investigation into working practices at Coca-Cola worldwide, and it's not a pretty tale. Water stealing, suppression of trade unions, human rights abuses and even turning a blind eye to murders - if this doesn't shock you then i don't know what will.
What a gem to find this in Whitehaven library. I read Thomas' other book a few years ago whilst on holiday in Poland and remember laughing out loud on a train and garnering sharp looks from the other commuters.

I saw Mark's 'Killer Coke' gig which was mainly about the Columbian killings of Trade Unionists and was afraid there would not be a huge amount of new material in the book. I was wrong,

This is a broad investigation into Coke's power as a multinational. The humour works for me too. It was a
Mark Thomas likes Coca Cola, hates Pepsi.

It is too easy to see him as a knee jerk rejecter of all the products of multi-national corporations and think "Yadda, yadda, yadda" about his somewhat bizarre brand of 'comedy' but he won me over with those opening frank statements of his personal feelings. I am right with him on the choice between Coke and Pepsi. Faced with Pepsi as the only option I may well choose to go thirsty (and have), not so Coca Cola. I generally prefer water but that often cos
While I was reading this book I took a few moments to try and remember the last time I drank a cola of any kind, much less Coca-Cola itself. I really couldn't remember when it was, so I'm guessing that it was probably in excess of 5 years ago.

So in some ways this book wasn't aimed at someone like me. Its target audience is more the current coke drinkers. And if I had read it when I'd been a coke drinker (I was only ever an occassional customer) then this would have seen me stopping in much the s
Interestingly, though billed as comedy and written by a comedian, this book is not at all funny. The writing is kind of awful and the punctuation follows no rules I can discern. Still, it is painful and informative and angering and worth reading. But definitely not funny.

If you drink Coke (or any of their products) you may want to know that the U.S. company has been responsible for union-busting all over the world, throwing otherwise fine employees into poverty and fear for their lives. Individ
You think you're holding a simple can of Coca-Cola in your hand. To hear the workers of TCCC (The Coca-Cola Company)stories, though, is to enter the deceitful, unscrupoulous world of a multinational company focused solely on their profit margin or so it seems likely. Mark Thomas does a beautiful job of sharing his research about the company while deftly weaving satire and humor into a engaging and appalling story of human rights issues. Be forewarned there is some cursing used as emphasis every ...more
Terry Clague
I've been putting off reading this book since it was released. I've long admitted that it's Coca-Cola's branding which makes us want to drink it - the taste is certainly nothing to write home about. What they do so spectacularly well is to get a hook into people's emotions: buying a coke often is all about half-forgotten memories of childhood rather than anything else.

Reading this book has confirmed my worries about them as an operation. Anyone who spends so many dollars on branding sugary flav
Dec 02, 2009 Edina rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: activists that want to get angry about something
Shelves: not-quite-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As we all move towards globalism I thought it would behoove me to read about how companies are moving within this realm. Coke is a huge brand and when I saw this book it caught my eye.

The author explains the structure of Coke, how it works internally and with it's suppliers and distributors. The company has published corporate policies and the author set about to explore whether these were being held to throughout the chain. He travels to Central America, India, and exotic Delaware to view and d
Mark Thomas is a British comedian who also does journalism, investigating abuses by corporations and the impacts of global capitalism on the world's poor and working classes. This book focuses on the Coca Cola Corporation, about which Thomas has spent years investigating and reporting.

There is good reporting and research here. We learn how Coca Cola benefits from child labor in its supply line while keeping itself at just enough of a legal distance. We learn of horrific union busting, up to and
I loved this book - it is well written and researched. The author went to great lengths and distances to get an entire picture of what is occurring. The conclusions that he comes to are a terrible indictment of what a profit company will do to remain profitable. The injustice and disregard to the poor, legal systems, third world countries and the planets water resources is breath taking. I will never ever buy a product owned by the Coke Cola company.
Summary: Mark Thomas has a vendetta. A vendetta against Coca Cola. He travels the world finding out about their horrible labor practices and the uselessness of their product: though, he concedes their great marketing and their clear duping of the world public.

Review: I got, about, 3 chapters into this book until I decided that I couldn't take it anymore. I cannot speak dispassionately about how much I hated this book anymore than Mark Thomas can speak dispassionately about how much he hates cok
I enjoyed this book but then I suspected I a great many i have concerns over the hijacking of international cultures under the banner of globilisation so it was interesting to get a view point of what lies behind a brand.
In the case of Coca Cola Mark Thomas unearths Union breaking,intimidation,depleting resources,toxicity in places such as Mexico,India,Columbia ,el Salvador and Ireland.
To be fair many of the practices don't lie at Coca Cola's feet alone most multi nationals would be
Carmilla Voiez
I like Mark Thomas Presents a lot. I dislike Coca-Cola, so the two things combined in a book was pretty exciting. It was an interesting read and Mark Thomas' humour does come through strongly at times, but it was a less engaging read than I expected. I felt things were skimmed over at times and the anecdotes weren't as memorable or personal as I hoped for. I finished feeling right in my choice to avoid Coke products but with not much else to take away. 3.5 stars.
Rob Saunders
A quite startling show of what Coca-Cola get up to. Another thing to add to the list of products I no longer want to buy because of how the company carry on. A very entertaining read as well as eye opening.
It would have had the fifth star but it was let down by astonishingly bad proofreading. I'm fairly sure you can't buy t-shirts in US Airports saying 'I ? Our Troops' and I doubt Coca-Cola sell merchandise saying 'I ? Coca-Cola' were among my favourites

Vikas Datta
Humorously written but ultimately disturbing book about how big businesses - how benign and well-meaning they may seek to present themselves as - do actually on the ground they operate on create enormous problems and even havoc for the local populace, resources and environment. The ultimately question is one which goes far beyond what this particular country has done or will do is what Mr Thomas points out in the beginning - is a large number of consumers as people have increasing become a good ...more
Xan Holbrook
I knew that Mark Thomas was a man worth listening to when his routines were censored during Diana Week (see Christopher Hitchens' documentary "Diana: The Mourning After" for the comprehensive story), but this book really demonstrates Thomas' polemical talent and wry, deadpan comic skill.
Jose Quevedo-martinez
super funny, enlightening. will make you decrease cola consumption by half.
I prefer the book without the picture of author Mark Thomas on it, only bc he looks like an shmuck.
Nic Margett
Apr 19, 2013 Nic Margett rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Conscientious consumers with an interest in trade unions
Shelves: non-fiction
I kind of wish i'd never read this book now, i don't think i'll ever be able to drink a Coca Cola product again without feeling guilty.
I've been a fan of Mark Thomas for a while now, i've watched him on TV for years and i've seen one of his live shows about extreme rambling in Israel (another of his books i would like to read), so when i saw this in a charity shop i had to buy it. Mark's tale is littered with horror stories of TCCC's treatment of some of the worlds poorest people, and their comp
I'd like to have read more of this but it is the book that finally broke the back of my ability to take Mark Thomas' distinctly leftfield approach. Yes it is relatively novel to read a politics book that has a sense of non-conformity to it but it has far too much self-awareness, even smugness, throughout this book that no matter how much you want to get to the bottom of something, it just ends up getting annoying having to sit through his "whacky" approach.

Kind of like the original Russell Brand
I am not anti-capitalist and I try not to be prejudiced about big corporations but this book from Mark Thomas obviously weights in the balance... and not in favour of the giant Coca-Cola Company! A very good field research with a lot of hard facts. I don't drink Coke as a personal taste but after reading this book I would definitely quit if I did. The writing is very informal and easy to understand. I did not stop laughing for a minute; Thomas' humour and irony make it a pleasant journey into th ...more
I became a fan of Mark Thomas when in the mid-nineties I watched the Comedy Product on Channel four. It's interesting to see that he has lost none of his motivation and thankfully, none of his humour either. After reading this book, I can say that I will never drink Coca-Cola again. I was shocked at their union-busting tactics and the lengths that they will go to in order to achieve total marketplace dominance. Just like Coke itself, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth and corrupts your err mora ...more
Warning: may contain heavy Brit sarcasm....otherwise an interesting read to the very end. Coca Cola antics reflect how accountability is a different ball game to responsibility. Since the organisation is worth just fizzy pop and a lot of branding, its attempts to muzzle and discredit gapingly obvious human rights and environmental violations from sub-suppliers under its wing shows the length at which a backward organisation will go to save a brand that is doomed to decline (in my opinion).....
Daniel Pitcher
I've always been an admirer of Mister Thomas' work, since the days of his television show, The Mark Thomas Project, so was really looking forward to reading this.

I wasn't disappointed. Corporations are heartless and bad, we all know that, but Coca Cola are something else. I'm not going to say any more than that in this review as I haven't got as good a lawyer as Mark Thomas. But, if you're after a well researched & documented expose about the Coca Cola company, then this it.
Mark Nunn
An interesting and entertaining read. Although it's not as easy to get worked up about the evils of a corporation like Coca-Cola as it is about the arms trade there are some very disturbing and thought provoking facts here.

Some points are a little over laboured, and the book would definitely have benefited from a little more proof reading (think there are more typos than in any book I have ever read) but it is a worthwhile read.
Weird formatting in the book - lots of paragraphs for no apparent reason. Made reading it a bit weird...but formatting aside, I really wanted to like this...and I did, in parts. Maybe my expections were too high - Mark is known for his 'agitating' and yet this was more of a straight forward report of what Coke do rather than how Mark took them on...too much to expect from one person? Probably, but there you go...
I tried and tried and wanted to love this, but just couldn't sink my teeth into it. The subject matter is close to my heart (on again-off again Diet Coke lover), as our the human rights violations and atrocities committed by big-name corporations, but it reached a point where it all ran together and was too repetitive for my taste.
Waffles on at points about the same thing time and time again but still quite fascinating. I'd like to say I boycotted Coke and Coke products after reading this but alas I have not. Then again if I boycotted every company that is grosely unethical I'd be living under the underpass with one or two new hobo friends.
Tim Bold
Intelligent, witty, funny, disrespectful - but with a genuine feeling of warmth and respect for those that TCCC has wronged over teh years.

Is this picking on an easy target? Yes, but TCCC should work on making themselves less of an easy target rather than complaining.
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Mark Clifford Thomas (born 11 April 1963) is an English comedian, presenter, political activist and reporter from south London. He first became known as a guest comic on the BBC Radio 1 comedy show The Mary Whitehouse Experience in the late 1980s. He is best known for political stunts on his show, The Mark Thomas Comedy Product on Channel 4. Thomas describes himself as a "libertarian anarchist."
More about Mark Thomas...
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