The Prince of Beers (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
|Length: 31 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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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.
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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