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The Emperors of Chocolate


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YA-As the first and only journalist ever to gain access to the Mars company, Brenner probes its secretive practices and explores its bitter rivalry with the Hershey company, one of the most notorious in American business. She tells the stories of how Forrest Mars, Sr. and Milton S. Hershey both turned their small mom-and-pop enterprises into multibillion-dollar international operations. Similar to J. C. Louis's Cola Wars (Everest House, 1980; o.p.), the book explores the hostile legal and marketing fights between the two chocolate industry giants, including how Reese's Pieces became E.T.'s favorite candy instead of M&M's. Along with business and financial theory, this book has everything from espionage and personality clashes to dreams and failures. Reading about the paranoid Mars company and the fact that Hershey had to stop conducting factory tours in order to protect manufacturing techniques is sure to remind YAs of the candy man of their childhood, Willy Wonka.-Ginger J. Schwartz, Potomac Community Library, Woodbridge, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"The Emperors of Chocolate brilliantly chronicles the near-century-old battle for the hearts and stomachs of consumers all over the world . . . Reminiscent of Barbarians at the Gate . . . it's a fast, exciting, and even moving story about an industry that's anything but sweet." --"Providence Journal" "Espionage, deception, and obsessive secrecy--it sounds more like covert warfare . . . A remarkable new look at an enterprise that's much nuttier than you might have thought." --"People" (starred review) "A richly satisfying read . . . Brenner's fast-paced book is sprinkled with welcome detail, lively quotes, evocative descriptions of one chocolate's 'mouthfeel' vs. another's . . . Consider making a present of this appropriately flavored book." --"Washington Post Book World" "Delicious . . . a trenchant account of a fascinating industry--one that certainly has a generous sprinkling of nuts." --"Entertainment Weekly"

In 1997, the per capita consumption of chocolate in America was approximately 12 pounds. Here Brenner expands her prize-winning 1992 Washington Post Magazine story on Mars, Inc., with an impressive behind-the-scenes analysis of the two giants of the American candy business, Mars and Hershey. As mysterious as Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, the rival Mars and Hershey ways of making chocolate are thoroughly detailed in this marvelous delight, sure to whet readers' appetites for chocolate. Brenner reveals the Hershey dream of industrial paradise, the Howard Hughes-like reclusiveness of the Mars family, candy spying as serious as Cold War espionage, and other insights into the multibillion-dollar business. With unprecedented access to members of both families and many former and current executives forming an extensive background, Brenner provides an eye-opening look at this fascinating industry. Highly recommended.‘Dale Farris, Groves, TX

Forrest Mars and Milton Hershey effortlessly hold center stage in this superb study of their competing candy companies. Although both men got rich on chocolate, Mars and Hershey are such markedly different characters that Brenner's book is a riot of dramatic contrasts. Mars is irascible, empire obsessed and insanely tightfisted (his three children never tasted a single M&M during their childhoods because he told them he couldn't spare any). Hershey was generous to a fault, a utopian dreamer who planned and built Hershey, Pa., as a home for his company and its workers. He founded an orphanage for disadvantaged children and, in 1918, almost 30 years before his death, donated his entire estate to the Hershey Trust for the benefit of the orphanage. To her credit, former Washington Post hand Brenner goes beyond these two titans and portrays the entire candy industry. Her prodigious research reveals how the personal style of each candy patriarch continues to influence the current structure and strategy of the company he led. By fully exploiting the many differences between the two companies (Mars is privately held and family-run; Hershey is a publicly held company administered by a management team responsible to the Hershey Trust), Brenner has produced a stellar work of corporate history. Photos. Agent, Flip Wrophy at Sterling Lord; author tour. (Jan.)

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