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review 2018-02-22 22:10
A great read, full of fascinating, curious, sad, and even horrifying stories.
A Secret History of Brands: The Dark and Twisted Beginnings of the Brand Names We Know and Love - Matt MacNabb

Thanks to Alex and the whole team at Pen & Sword for providing me with a review paperback copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

I would not class myself as particularly “brand-aware”. Although when I was younger I wanted to have the latest of everything, especially if all my friends had it (oh, the wonders of peer-pressure, even then), with time I’ve become quite skeptical about it, and I tend to avoid them if I can. (I understand the status thing, but I can’t see why I should have to pay and then, on top of that, be happy to advertise the product by making sure everybody knows what it is). Give me local craft any day! So, of course, I could not resist a book that promised to share with its readers ‘The Dark and Twisted Beginnings of the Brand Names We Know and Love’. And it delivers, for sure. I suspect if you are big authorities on the subject, you might already know a lot of the information contained in this book but if like me, you are just curious, this is a gem.

I’d never read anything by this author before, but his style is engaging and he pitches this volume at the right level for the subject: he includes the adequate amount of historical information about each one of the brands and characters (inventors, creators, public figures…) to make sure that the readers understand the context of each brand and its products, and then focuses on the more intriguing and less publicized aspects of their evolution. Some of them might be more familiar than others (I suspect a lot of readers will know about Coca-Cola and its early cocaine content), but even then, MacNabb manages to unearth elements of the story that are bizarre and less well-known (so Coca-Cola still contains extracts of coca leaves [no actual cocaine though, don’t worry!] supplied by the only lab in the US with a permit to import coca leaves).

While some of the chapters are curious and amusing (like the Coca-Cola one or the chapter on the Kellogg’s ‘war on sex’), some can be quite disturbing. There are many connections to Nazi Germany I was not aware of, like Hugo Boss’s manufacture of Nazi uniforms, Adidas & Puma’s Nazi connections (I had no idea the creators of these two brands were brothers, either), Chanel’s spying for the Germans (and the fact that the information was kept under wraps by the French government). For me, the most shocking were the chapters on Bayer (not so much the Heroin production, even if they seem to have become aware of its addicting properties quite early on, but its direct connection to slave labour and the production of Zyklon B, used in the gas chambers in the concentration camps), and Henry Ford and his anti-Semitic beliefs and writings (that seem to have inspired Hitler). The chapters on Winchester and Bakelite were intriguing (as I didn’t know anything at all about the history of the objects, other than some vague notion of the importance of the rifle) but sad, due to the personal tragedies behind the stories.

This book is a great read, a page-turner, and I suspect most readers will move on to read full accounts on some of the selected topics. Although the brands are chosen for their interesting stories, the author gives credit where credit is due and always tries to offer as balanced an account as possible of the people and the companies, making sure to emphasise how things have changed for most of them. It is a sobering thought to reflect upon the past of some of these household names, and it is important we don’t forget the lessons learned.

I recommend this book to anybody interested in brands, pop culture, history, and it will be a resource of interest to writers and researchers. (The notes contain bibliographical information for those interested in further reading). Another great addition to the publisher’s varied catalogue.


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text 2017-09-02 08:04
adidas originals shoes for men

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text 2017-01-16 09:49
Billige billige adidas fodboldstøvler online

Adidas tilføje en Red Limit MESSI 16 til deres Red Limit Collection.Get online nu og tage et kig gennem vores Billige fodboldstøvler, alle til lave priser i en række størrelser, der passer til alle.

Fra denne weekend, vil Leo Messi bære røde Limit MESSI 16, lanceret af adidas Football som en del af Red Limit Collection.

The Red Limit MESSI 16 er designet med agility i tankerne, så de passer til spillestil af de fem tid Ballon d'Or vinder. De boot funktioner AGILITYKNIT at sikre nul slid-in tid, mens en PURECUT SOCK SYSTEM og PUREAGILITY HÆL LINING kombineres for at levere en kompromisløs pasform. En SPRINTFRAME ydersål skaber balance og stabilitet ved høj hastighed retningsskift. Køb billige adidas fodboldstøvler online.

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text 2017-01-13 09:06
Cheap Scarpe da calcio con calza Adidas in vendita

Adidas calcio d'inizio 2017 con una collezione di avvio blackout - scacchi nero. Acquista Scarpe da calcio poco prezzo on-line per te adesso.

Anche se la bandiera a scacchi suggerisce normalmente alla fine, questo nuovo pacchetto di avvio segna l'inizio del 2017 per il calcio adidas, con il rilascio di un nuovo ACE 17, X 16 e 17 Copa.

La nuova collezione adidas offre una versione nera del loro stivali, con l'eccezione del dettaglio bianca dispari sul ACE e X e un ulteriore accento rosso sulla Copa.

Costruito per la precisione, potenza, stabilità e controllo della palla finale. Chiamare i colpi e di controllo principale con l'asso tutto nero 17 con un tutto nuovo superiore per un controllo ancora maggiore. Preparatevi a scatenare il vostro gioco.

Il recente rilascio di vendita al dettaglio Limite Red differiva dalla versione 'pro' del ACE 17 PureControl, ma che è cambiato con il pacchetto Bandiera a scacchi. Ora sarete in grado di acquistare il ACE17 PureControl con lo stesso alto come le stelle adidas, la costruzione collare è ora aggiornato con un ulteriore strato sulla parte superiore e un collare aggiornato. Ottieni il tuo Scarpe da calcio con calza Adidas il più presto possibile con il prezzo basso!

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text 2017-01-13 08:33
Billige Fodboldstøvler med sok Adidas til salg

Adidas kick off 2017 med et blackout boot samling - Chequered Sort. Køb Billige fodboldstøvler online for dig selv nu.

Selvom det ternede flag normalt foreslår enden, denne nye boot pack indvarsler starten af ​​2017 af adidas fodbold, med udgivelsen af ​​en ny ACE 17, X 16 og Copa 17.

Den nye adidas kollektion tilbyder op en sort udgave af deres støvler, med undtagelse af den ulige hvide detaljer på ACE og X og en ekstra rød accent på Copa.

Bygget til præcision, magt, stabilitet og ultimativ boldkontrol. Kalder skud og mester kontrol med alle sorte ACE 17 med en helt ny øvre for endnu mere kontrol. Forbered dig på at frigøre dit spil.

Den seneste Red Limit detail frigivelse adskilte sig fra den "pro version" af ACE 17 PureControl, men der er ændret med Chequered Flag Pack. Du vil nu være i stand til at købe ACE17 PureControl med samme øverste som adidas stjerner, er kraven konstruktion nu opdateret med et ekstra lag på den øverste og en opdateret krave. Få din Fodboldstøvler med sok Adidas så hurtigt som muligt med en lav pris!

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