My dirty truth is that I have a collection of Coke bottles from around the world: one from Mexico, one with Arabic script, one covered in unrecognizable lettering and filled with Yugoslavian beach glass, and so on. I was a teenager when I amassed them and totally oblivious to the implications behind this international menagerie of emptied glass. This drink was everywhere, tailored slightly through variations in local water and variations in bottle size, but ultimately the same. I loved that I could find it anywhere.
Michael Blanding’s book, The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink aims to tell the real story behind that happy global picture of people who speak different languages, have different skin color, but happily drink Coke. His story begins in 1886, with Coke’s origin as a snake oil tonic, and extends all the way up to its present incarnation as a multinational beverage corporation. Read more