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The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars Paperback – January 4, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 Reprint edition (January 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767904575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767904575
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The chocolate wars between industry giants Hershey and Mars are anything but sweet. In The Emperors of Chocolate, Joel Glenn Brenner reveals the bitter legal and marketing fights, palace intrigue, and personality clashes that dominate Hershey and Mars--and the candy industry as a whole. A talented writer and dogged researcher, Brenner concludes that after decades of competition between the two companies, the drama still is unfolding. Will Mars--privately held and publicity shy--be the ultimate winner with its global game plan? Or will it be Hershey--publicly traded and philanthropy-minded--with its aggressive strategy of growth by acquisition?

Brenner, a former Washington Post financial reporter, tells the stories of how Forrest Mars Sr. and Milton S. Hershey turned their two companies from small mom-and-pop operations into international forces over the last century. While they may have started small, their products--Mars's Snickers and M&M's and Hershey's milk-chocolate bars and Kisses--are ubiquitous. Hershey was a benevolent philanthropist who spent hundreds of millions to create a town and orphanage to fulfill his altruistic dreams. Mars was a short-tempered perfectionist who yelled at anyone who failed to meet his standards. "What made Forrest's blood rush was the thrill of mastering new opportunities and taming uncharted worlds," the author writes. "Like Milton Hershey, he was driven by his visions; but where Milton Hershey saw utopia, Forrest Mars saw conquest." Nine years in the making, The Emperors of Chocolate is a satisfying read about the two titans of the chocolate world and how they capitalized on our love of sweets. --Dan Ring --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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The book is full of interesting facts and stories.
"insidios"
The Emperors of Chocolate tells the story of how Milton Hershey and Forrest Mars battled for the stomachs of chocolate consumers all over the world.
.
The insights into an industry that everyone knows but knows little about are enough to keep you from putting the book down.
J. Green

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Overall, a well-written and insightful portrayl of how two very different approaches can build business empires. However, the author's account of Hershey leans toward the historical, and pales somewhat next to her dramatic ancedotal account of the Mars family. In the same token, the book provides a deeper understanding of how the Mars family thinks; the Hershey mindset is a little lacking (but which may be the point). Nevertheless, this book is great reference material for a case study as well as an exciting read.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Cottrell on March 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
After visiting Hershey, PA last fall and learning a little about the history of chocolate I was very interested in learning more about the industry. This book seemed to be the perfect place to start since I enjoy both Hershey and M&M/Mars chocolate. What an eye-opener! After reading the book I still felt like I had just caught a glimpse of how the chocolate empires are run but what a glimpse it was! To see two totally different approaches to product selling and corporate expansion and the results was fascinating. I now know why I can eat an entire one pound bag of M&Ms in a day (I feel so manipulated.)
After I put the book down, though, I was struck by the thought that even after building chocolate empires and amassing wealth and power, at the end of their lives both Hershey and Forrest Mars, Sr. had so very little. Hershey died a lonely man in a room he rarely left and Mars died an anonymous death in Florida leaving three very messed up children to run his business.
Great read! Highly recommended!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kim E. Larsen on March 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Anyone who likes candy will love this book. It is a fascinating look at the development of chocolate in the U.S. and the wars between the two giants in the business. Mr. Hershey comes across as a grandfatherly person who shows great concern for orphans. I had no idea until I read this book that he built a wonderful orphanage near his factory and provided the orphans with all that they needed and helped them achieve success in the world. Mr. Mars, on the other hand, comes across as a mean and uncaring person. Both men achieved great success in the chocolate business, but their lives ended in loneliness, showing that material success does not necessarily bring happiness. Included in the book are short discussions of other candy companies and their products. The author was able to penetrate a lot of the secrecy that surrounded Mr. Hershey, Mr. Mars, and their factories and business practices. Brenner is an ace reporter.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading this book is addictive and sweet as chocolate itself. A truly amazing story of Mr. Hershey and Mr. Mars, as well as their companies' histories, and the inside story of the candy industry. Chocolate lovers and business people alike will be fascinated with this book. It's contagious too. As I was reading it I made comments out like "Really!, I didn't know that!" "Listen to this." My husband heard me and took a taste of the book and had to read it too. We both give it 5 stars. Don't know why it's not on the Best Seller list.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brady Buchanan on February 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A grand view of the creation of two enterprises that are as different to each other as night and day, yet similar because of the product they have. A story of two tycoons that create a dynasty where the events change the character of each company drastically, but continue the brutal competition up to this day. A compassionate rendering of a fine story by a talented author. You also find out a bit about the makeup of chocolate.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on June 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103) When most folks think about Hersheys and Mars they no doubt think chocolates and sweets. Joel Glenn Brenner's book: "The Emperors of Chocolate : Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars" demonstrates that they are so much more than chocolate companies.
This is an extremely readable, entertaining book. The histories of these two companies are fascinating...from the utopian dream of Hershey's early days to the cloak and dagger intrigues during the Gulf War...this stuff is fascinating.
Brenner's look into how Mars functions as a veritable family run empire was particularly thought provoking to me. I found the reasoning behind the Mars company's dislike for Peanut Butter very humorous (basically-the brothers don't like Peanut Butter-so they don't like selling it).
The reality of these companies makes Dahl's legend: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" look dull in comparison. The layout of the book and the photos add wonderful atmosphere to the story.
I recommend this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dalelife@ih2000.net on November 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In 1997, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association estimated the per capita consumption of chocolate in America to be approximately 12 pounds. Author Brenner (former Washington Post reporter) presents the results of her eight year investigation of the worldwide candy business, building on her prize-winning 1992 Washington Post Magazine story on Mars, Inc., in this impressive, behind-the-scenes analysis of the two giants of the American candy business: Mars and Hershey. As mysterious and filled with intrigue as "Mr. Wonka's" chocolate factory, the Mars and Hershey family way of making chocolate are thoroughly detailed in this marvelous, taste-tempting delight sure to whet reader appetite for chocolate. Brenner reveals the vision of the two founding patriarchs, Milton Hershey's dream of industrial paradise realized in Hershey, PA (formerly Hersheycoco, PA), the Howard Hughes-like reclusiveness of the Mars family, willful candy spying as serious as Cold War monitoring, and other insights into this multibillion sweet tooth business dominated by these two corporate leviathans. With unprecedented access to members of both families and many former and existing high ranking executives, she presents an extensive background on this industry, and the result is an eye-opening understanding of this fascinating business. Go ahead and get that chocolate bar. You're going to want one when you read this. Highly recommended, especially for chocoholics.
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