Under the Influence, New Edition of the Unauthorized Story of the Anheuser-Busch Dynasty
by Terry Ganey
For over a century the Busch name stood for power, wealth, influence and premium beer. The gargantuan Anheuser-Busch brewing empire survived countless public and private scandals. But in 2008 a foreign competitor swallowed Anheuser-Busch whole. Two years later a young model died from a drug overdose in the bed of August Busch IV, the last of the kings of beer. It wasn't the first time a woman died in the presence of Busch, a troubled man who constantly sought to please a domineering father.
This new edition of the best-selling "Under the Influence, the Unauthorized Story of the Anheuser-Busch Dynasty" brings readers up-to-date on the Busch family saga with all its scandals and tragedies. It also recounts how Anheuser-Busch became the victim of a hostile takeover, and how that event might have been influenced by the Busches' father-son relationship.
A New York Times best seller when it was first published, the new edition of "Under the Influence" includes disclosures which have never before been made public. These include:
--Before he became known as "Mr. Beer and Baseball" in St. Louis, August A. "Gussie" Busch Jr. was the subject of a federal investigation during World War II because of a suspected connection between a German relative and the Nazis.
--After Gussie's son, August A. Busch III, removed Gussie as head of Anheuser-Busch, Sen. Tom Eagleton offered informal legal advice on whether Gussie should try to regain company control through a suit or proxy fight.
--While a rumor has long been associated with Harry Caray's ouster as the St. Louis Cardinals' play-by-play broadcaster, the truth behind his firing can be found in a long list of complaints about his on-the-air performance that began almost from the moment he sat down behind the microphone.
Since it was first published, "Under the Influence" has been critically praised up to the present day. Dan Okrent, the author of "Last Call, the Rise and Fall of Prohibition," has said "Under the Influence" is "unquestionably the finest book on the American beer industry." Businessweek's Chris Welles said "Under the Influence" was a "Dallas-size saga of sex scandals, family feuds, and a closetful of other skeletons."
"Under the Influence" traces the rise of the empire begun by immigrant robber baron Adolphus Busch, a man who rubbed elbows with the German kaiser and American presidents. It recounts how his son August Busch Sr. kept the company alive during Prohibition only to die tragically, pulling the trigger of a revolver pointed at his heart.
The lusty full life of playboy businessman August "Gussie" Busch Jr. is recounted in intricate detail. A father of eleven children by three wives, he had everything a man could want: money, power, yachts, a railroad car and a baseball team. Yet he was haunted by the tragic death of a favorite daughter, the arrest and guilty plea of a gunwielding son who had killed a friend, and his own removal from the throne of his brewing empire by another son.
Then, there's August A. Busch III, the aggressive, relentless workaholic whose unbridled ambition forced the palace coup at Anheuser-Busch that ousted his father. He targeted the world as a beer market and ended up cashing in his family legacy for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Finally, there's August Busch IV, a tragic figure who sought his father's acceptance and approval but who was unprepared for the responsibilities of running a huge brewing empire that had been targeted for takeover. Busch must now live with the fact that two young women died accidental deaths while accompanying him.
Based on hundreds of interviews and documents, this is the astonishing story of a remarkable dynasty--with all their successes and excesses, their devastating personal tragedies, their business genius and unscrupulous dealings--in pursuit of the American dream.
- Terry Ganey, October 2012
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