Belching Out the Devil

  • by Mark Thomas
  • Narrated by Victor Villar-Hauser
  • 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Coca-Cola and its logo are everywhere. In our homes, our workplaces, and even our schools. It is a company that sponsors the Olympics, backs U.S. presidents, and even re-brands Santa Claus. A truly universal product, it has even been served in space.
From Istanbul to Mexico City, Mark Thomas travels the globe investigating the stories and people Coca-Cola's iconic advertising campaigns don't mention, such as child labourers in the sugar cane fields of El Salvador; Indian workers exposed to toxic chemicals; Colombian union leaders falsely accused of terrorism and jailed alongside the paramilitaries who want to kill them; and many more. Provocative, funny, and stirring, Belching Out the Devil investigates the truth behind one of the planet's biggest brands.

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Audible Editor Reviews

The failure of many Western corporations to take responsibility for misdeeds carried out in their name around the world is a harsh fact of globalization and one that should shame us all. In Belching Out The Devil, Mark Thomas turns shame into anger in a comprehensive exposé of the shadier aspects of Coca-Cola’s global operations. Known to UK audiences as a stand-up comedian, here Thomson proves to be a skilled writer with a gift for giving voice to a diverse cast of witnesses, including Colombian trade unionists, Mexican shopkeepers, Turkish protestors, and New York legislators. Complicated matters of law and hair-raising descriptions of violence and child labor are presented with verve.
However, Thomas’ humor can be heavy-handed. An early visit to the Atlanta Coke Museum — also known as “The Happiness Factory” — establishes the distance between the company’s public image and darker realities, but Thomas peppers his account with all the obvious jokes involving tourists, manic company guides, and cheesy slogans. For a comedian, Thomas’ frequent joking and comic asides don’t always work; he should have more confidence in the ability of his capable writing to hold the listener’s attention without laying on the schoolboy sarcasm. What could pass as righteous anger in a short stand-up set becomes tiresome in the course of 10 hours.
The choice of Victor Villar-Hauser as a narrator is also a mixed success. His thick estuary English brings a energetic boyishness to Thomas’ tirades, but he makes some strange choices in phrasing — sentences are chopped up, he seems to lose breath in the course of long sentences, and he has a habit of pausing at odd places. (“He looks like a typical upper-management man, and I mean………that in a pejorative sense.”) It’s as if Villar-Hauser is reading the book aloud for the very first time, unsure of the next sentence. This can be distracting, though his enthusiasm arguably carries the day. —Dafydd Phillips

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What the Critics Say

"As journalism, Belching Out the Devil does for soda what Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation did for the hamburger." (The Washington Post)

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Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-02-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios