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Summary

The delicious true story of the early chocolate pioneers, by the award-winning writer and direct descendant of the famous chocolate dynasty, Deborah Cadbury.

In Chocolate Wars best-selling historian and award-winning documentary maker Deborah Cadbury takes a journey into her own family history to uncover the rivalries that have driven 250 years of chocolate empire-building. Beginning with an account of John Cadbury, who founded the first Cadbury's coffee and chocolate shop in Birmingham in 1824, Chocolate Wars goes on to chart the astonishing transformation of the company's fortunes under his grandson George. But while the Cadbury dynasty is the fulcrum of the narrative, this is also the story of their Quaker rivals, the Frys and Rowntrees, and their European competitors, the Nestles, Suchards and Lindts. These rivalries drove the formation of the huge chocolate conglomerates that still straddle the corporate world today, and have first call on our collective sweet tooth.

This is narrative history at its most absorbing, peopled by wonderfully colourful characters - the true story of the chocolate pioneers, the visions and ideals that inspired them and the mouth-watering concoctions they created.

©2010 Deborah Cadbury (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"A wonderful writer who keeps you turning the pages as if her book was a thriller." ( The Times)
"Absolutely stupendous. This is history as it should be. It is stunningly written. I could not put it down." ( Alison Weir)
"Beautifully structured and sympathetically narrated… successfully brings together science, suspense and sentiment. Something for everyone." ( Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times)
"A stylish writer [who] describes the splendours and miseries of these wonders in their true colours and with understanding of the ethics and aspirations of their times." ( New Scientist)
"Fascinating… heroes, villains and victims populate this gripping story." ( Daily Telegraph)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Heike
  • Heidelberg, Germany
  • 20-11-13

Hisotry of Chocolates and Quakers

Having lived close to Bournville the book title caught my attention. To be honest I didn't expect too much from the book but was pleasantly surprised. Deborah Cadbury is a diligent reasearcher with a gift for prose and I abolutely loved the book. It taught me a lot about early processing and developing (drinking) chocolate and I will definitely listen to more of the author. I found the book both interessting and educational. The narrator is perfect for the book and it was a pleasure to listen to her. I would recommend this book to anybody who has an interesst in history and/or wants to know what they put in their shopping basket.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Chocolate review

I purchased this book simply because I knew a little of the history. I have worked in three Quaker businesses and for Mars. I was aware of the links between them but this wonderful book has given me more insight into this great British business. Such a shame that it is no longer British owned. A really really good listen with beautiful detail and heart warming tales of how man should care for his fellows, of how businesses should care for their staff. Simply excellent.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An exciting and often mind blowing story

Would you listen to Chocolate Wars again? Why?

Probably not; I rarely relisten, but I've been totally engrossed in every detail n this audio, rewinding from time to time to ensure I've followed everything that's happening.

Who was your favorite character and why?

It's non fiction, so the characters are real and include Cadbury, Fry, Rowntree, Hershey, Mars, Lindt...the list is endless and I never realised the inextricable links.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many

Any additional comments?

I listen to and read a lot of non fiction. This account rates in my top best ever in over 50 years. It's a truly astonishing account of not only the Cadbury family, it social history including slavery, philanthropy, industrial espionage, religious principles, model villages. I was totally engrossed from start to finish and learned a great deal.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kieran
  • BristolUnited Kingdom
  • 03-05-11

Know who supplies your food

At first I though this audio book would be more genealogy and family folk tales. I is to some extent, but as the book progresses, it becomes about politics and big business. By the end I was questioning my shopping habits and feel I have a better idea about the food I place in my shopping cart, not just chocolate. Probably the best book I've downloaded from Audible for some time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Principled capitalism with chocolate

So much more than the chocolate wars, this book is full of great ingredients for entrepreneurial inspiration, of trial and error and resilience and of course secret chocolate recipes . Lots here as well for business students on ethics, CSR , creating shared value and principled capitalism and all applied to what was a great family business.
Excellently narrated and with a tragic ending.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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I've enjoyed this book

Great overview and storytelling from the early beginnings of the Cadbury Quakers until the very corporate driven business in present-day.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

this made me proud and then sad to be British

Coming from a family of past Cadbury workers I just had to download this book, It did not disapoint giving an insight into not just Cadburys but many other Great British companies from an erea when Britian was great right up to to present day when profit is king at the expense of all else. I enjoyed the narration finding Deborah's voice easy on the ear would be happy to reccomend

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Remarkable Story, well told

Glad to have listened to this, and has some fascinating reflections on slavery, socialism, and capitalism seen through the eyes of Chocolate making.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Choco delights

As a card carrying chocoholic I found this book to be a really enjoyable story of the Cadbury family and, to a lesser extent, the early Quaker dominance of chocolate manufacture in England. I almost felt it a patriotic duty to buy Cadbury's after listening.

There is a certain quality of Finty Williams' voice that makes her the perfect narrator for this book. Her voice by turns has the soft snap and the velvety smoothness of the finest chocolate. She reads like she's enjoying it too. Superb.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Who'd have thought?

I was surprised at how very interesting this book was, especially the pre-war bit. I was very bored by the last hour and a half about markets and shares etc, but that's just me. The narrator of this story has a lovely, velvety voice that is very easy to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Petter
  • Petter
  • 17-09-11

The problem with this book

This is supposed to be a great book. The story of one of the greatest chocolate factories in the world. The problem is the author. You will not find anything negative about Cadbury. It's all about everybody elses mistakes. Because the Cadbury founders were quakers. And they were only thinking about what was best for the community. In the beginning I loved it. In the end I was so borred.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Heather Hinton
  • Heather Hinton
  • 16-12-10

For the love all all things chocolate!

I really enjoyed this story. Beautifully written and perfectly narrated.
As a bit of a choc-o-holic there is so much more to one of our favourit foods. It was also a wonderful insite into such remarkable visionaries that were the Quakers who worked so hard and risked so much to make the world a better place. Highly recommended story.