By Mark Pendergrast
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Additional resources for For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It
Schwab did, later becoming my maternal grandfather. If Woodruff had married her, perhaps I would be a wealthy man today—or I might not be here at all, since Woodruff, who directed Coca-Cola’s fortunes from 1923 until his death in 1985, had no children. It’s just as well that things worked out the way they did, though, since I’ve enjoyed taking a more objective view of the Company and its entertaining role in world history. I hope you will, too. —Mark Pendergrast Prologue: A Parable (January 1, 1985) The boss was a very old man, near death.
Outside the window, a slight rain fell on the first day of the new year. Woodruff’s eyes slowly brimmed; the cigar trembled. In the silence, a grandfather clock ticked off fat, slow seconds. Finally, the Boss sighed. “Do it,” he rasped, and his eyes overflowed. Goizueta smiled. Woodruff had always liked him, had picked him as a successor. The two men used to lunch together; they had a special understanding, a bond. It was important that the Boss give his approval. People said the old man hated change, but Goizueta knew he just needed things explained in their simplest terms.
I hope you will, too. —Mark Pendergrast Prologue: A Parable (January 1, 1985) The boss was a very old man, near death. Though his mind still ticked over a lifetime of executive decisions, it was trapped in a decaying body. All of his senses were shutting down. He could see only dimly, and his cigar, a trademark for most of his life, hung unlit from a slack mouth. His hearing, too, had nearly failed, and he seldom spoke in more than a monosyllable. Robert Woodruff was ninety-five years old, four years younger than the soft drink he had made the world’s most well-known, cherished product.
For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It by Mark Pendergrast