The Candy Men

Eileen Reynolds reviews Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World’s Greatest Chocolate Makers, by Deborah Cadbury:

The story she tells is really about Quakers, and about one family’s continuous struggle to reconcile religious valuespacifism, austerity, sobrietywith the indulgent nature of their product and the ruthlessly competitive capitalism of the world in which they made their fortune.

John Cadbury, who founded a tea-and-coffee shop in Birmingham in 1824, practiced a brand of “Quaker capitalism” that valued hard work and “wealth creation for the benefit of the workers, the local community, and society at large,” rather than large profits only for the entrepreneurs themselves. Debt was seen as shameful, advertising as dishonest. His descendants came to create a thriving chocolate empirebut not without confronting challenges to their values.