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The Prince of Beers (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Length: 31 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Fourth was no Third, and he knew it. August Busch IV, the coked up, reckless son of August III, was a man-child whose love of expensive toys, drugs, and women helped drag down the family empire, Anheuser-Busch. Alex Berenson's aggressively reported story--part murder mystery, part Shakespearean tragedy--catches up with August the Fourth two years after his doomed 18-month reign as CEO of his family's company, which ended in 2008 when the 150-year-old family business fell into the hands of its Brazilian rival, InBev. Berenson, spy novelist, former New York Times reporter, and author of the Kindle Single Lost in Kandahar, dutifully cites the works of those who've covered similar ground, but focuses primarily on a girlfriend's mysterious death, revealing how hubris, hard living, and greed led to the foreign takeover of America's beer. Ultimately, The Prince of Beers is a father and son story. The Fourth's father was Anheuser-Busch's greatest modern leader, the brains behind Bud Light and the man responsible for making Budweiser a powerhouse. Like all the Busches, August III championed a chest-thumping family culture that valued competition, guns and fishing, and women and drinking--all of which, over the years, resulted in messy divorces, squandered millions, and shattered families. Maybe it was inevitable that one Busch would go too far. Two years after losing control of the company, The Fourth was worth $100 million but was jobless, struggling to shoulder the burden of losing the family business. He indulged in expensive cars, guns, drugs, and women, one of whom died at his mansion in 2010. Berenson uses the investigation of Adrienne Martin's death to profile a flawed and doomed son, his too-tough father, and the dethroning of the King of Beers. --Neal Thompson

About the Author

Alex Berenson is a former New York Times reporter whose work led to federal indictments and billions of dollars in corporate fines. His bestselling, Edgar Award-winning John Wells spy novels have sold more than a million copies.

Product Details

  • File Size: 191 KB
  • Print Length: 31 pages
  • Publication Date: November 25, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ADIF978
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,211 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this new journalism format. A buck ninety nine to sit absorbed in the unfiltered, seemingly unedited words of the author. I am a gigantic John Wells fan, and only partially because I'm a gigantic Alex Berenson fan. And I most like to read them via audiobook, where I can feel as though the storyteller is speaking directly to me. Well, that's pretty much how Kindle Singles work -- guy's got something to say and he says it.

Here the topic is the sad and lonely life of a world class screw-up. August Busch IV is like King Midas in reverse -- everything he touches turns to crap. In the hands of a lesser writer I would have found myself hating Busch IV, who'd been handed everything and threw it all away, unraveling an iconic American brand and the employer of 30,000 in the process. But Berenson manages to extract some empathy even for this boorish rake. Busch's struggle to win the approbation of an aloof and demanding father will be recognizable even to those whose fathers didn't happen to run the biggest brewery in the world. It doesn't absolve baby Busch for the two women whose death he at least had an ignoble role in hastening, if not outright causing. But I feel for the guy.

As I finished reading this, the Pink Floyd song "Comfortably Numb" came on my ipod. Fitting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't drink much beer, don't care for celebrity bios, really hate celebrity expos, but I greatly admire author Alex Berenson's prose, so when I saw this profile article, I immediately downloaded it & read it, start to finish in 1 sitting. (That's just 1 of the benefits of a Kindle single.) This fascinating review of August Busch IV, heir to the Anheuser-Busch beer brewing empire, is a dynamic but sad story of someone who has never emerged from his father's long shadow to make his own positive mark in his family, much less in the world his ancestors so affected.

You wouldn't think a bio of a beer brewer in St. Louis would have the drama & chaos of, say, a Manhattan insider trader or a Paris couture maven, but Berenson's observations & insights draw us into this tragic story. Busch IV never experienced his father's love, never demonstrated the ability to run the A-B empire, never gave his love to another, & thus never found peace & happiness. Two of his female companions died in his presence, at least partly because of the spill-over of his self-destructive ways. But these are only the most glaring examples of his failures, failures despite his family's legacy, fortune, & interventions to keep him out of trouble. Now in his late 50s, Busch IV is marking time w/his millions -- no job, no philanthropies, no friends. Even his family, Berenson points out, left him in CO while they holidayed in HA recently.

Without Berenson's deft touch, this would be a completely depressing story. But as w/any of his best-selling suspense novels, this story reminds us that the story is not yet over, & the losses of yesterday still have the potential to point toward tomorrow. I didn't care about Busch IV before I began reading this profile. I do now. I hope Berenson will revisit this man in future & that the landscape will not be so bleak.
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basically, "the prince of beers" is a history book. facts are presented, interviews conducted and insights are gleaned, in this case about august busch iv, heir to the anheuser busch brewing company. in another writer's hands such a tale might be nothing more than a sensationalist morality tale better served on cable television than the written page. however, in the hands of alex berenson, a writer who is both a journalist and compelling mystery/thriller writer (see the john wells series of books, of which "the night ranger" is due out next), the story takes on a life of its own even as it dissects the lives of busch iv and the women who tragically got too close to him. august busch iv was a party boy with an age-old tale to tell, he wanted his father's respect. he lived a life of privilege and excess. berenson touches upon some of that life here. there are things left out, but this is written as a kindle single, and there is enough for us to get the point. berenson somehow takes this unsympathetic, spoiled, rich boy and imbibes him (yes, it's a drinking pun) with just enough pathos to leave him more tragic and less insipid than i previously thought. i have some history with the anheuser busch company, some firsthand knowledge of its business practices and some previous knowledge of "four" (as he was known), but here in "the prince of beers" (whether it was intentional by berenson or not), i have learned that he might have deserved less hatred and more sympathy for his life choices.
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I found this 30 minute read to be quite informative and entertaining about a public figure that I almost knew nothing about. While reading "The Prince of Beers," I kept wanting more of the family history. I know the single centered on just August Busch IV and his "sad" relationship with his father, but I was anticipating more of the background history on the Busch family. But that was my expectations and nothing against Berenson as a writer. I eagerly anticipate his next single, as I do the same for the next John Wells novel.
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