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on December 2, 2012
I love this new journalism format. A buck ninety nine to sit absorbed in the unfiltered, seemingly unedited words of the author. I am a gigantic John Wells fan, and only partially because I'm a gigantic Alex Berenson fan. And I most like to read them via audiobook, where I can feel as though the storyteller is speaking directly to me. Well, that's pretty much how Kindle Singles work -- guy's got something to say and he says it.

Here the topic is the sad and lonely life of a world class screw-up. August Busch IV is like King Midas in reverse -- everything he touches turns to crap. In the hands of a lesser writer I would have found myself hating Busch IV, who'd been handed everything and threw it all away, unraveling an iconic American brand and the employer of 30,000 in the process. But Berenson manages to extract some empathy even for this boorish rake. Busch's struggle to win the approbation of an aloof and demanding father will be recognizable even to those whose fathers didn't happen to run the biggest brewery in the world. It doesn't absolve baby Busch for the two women whose death he at least had an ignoble role in hastening, if not outright causing. But I feel for the guy.

As I finished reading this, the Pink Floyd song "Comfortably Numb" came on my ipod. Fitting.
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on November 28, 2012
I don't drink much beer, don't care for celebrity bios, really hate celebrity expos, but I greatly admire author Alex Berenson's prose, so when I saw this profile article, I immediately downloaded it & read it, start to finish in 1 sitting. (That's just 1 of the benefits of a Kindle single.) This fascinating review of August Busch IV, heir to the Anheuser-Busch beer brewing empire, is a dynamic but sad story of someone who has never emerged from his father's long shadow to make his own positive mark in his family, much less in the world his ancestors so affected.

You wouldn't think a bio of a beer brewer in St. Louis would have the drama & chaos of, say, a Manhattan insider trader or a Paris couture maven, but Berenson's observations & insights draw us into this tragic story. Busch IV never experienced his father's love, never demonstrated the ability to run the A-B empire, never gave his love to another, & thus never found peace & happiness. Two of his female companions died in his presence, at least partly because of the spill-over of his self-destructive ways. But these are only the most glaring examples of his failures, failures despite his family's legacy, fortune, & interventions to keep him out of trouble. Now in his late 50s, Busch IV is marking time w/his millions -- no job, no philanthropies, no friends. Even his family, Berenson points out, left him in CO while they holidayed in HA recently.

Without Berenson's deft touch, this would be a completely depressing story. But as w/any of his best-selling suspense novels, this story reminds us that the story is not yet over, & the losses of yesterday still have the potential to point toward tomorrow. I didn't care about Busch IV before I began reading this profile. I do now. I hope Berenson will revisit this man in future & that the landscape will not be so bleak.
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on November 28, 2012
basically, "the prince of beers" is a history book. facts are presented, interviews conducted and insights are gleaned, in this case about august busch iv, heir to the anheuser busch brewing company. in another writer's hands such a tale might be nothing more than a sensationalist morality tale better served on cable television than the written page. however, in the hands of alex berenson, a writer who is both a journalist and compelling mystery/thriller writer (see the john wells series of books, of which "the night ranger" is due out next), the story takes on a life of its own even as it dissects the lives of busch iv and the women who tragically got too close to him. august busch iv was a party boy with an age-old tale to tell, he wanted his father's respect. he lived a life of privilege and excess. berenson touches upon some of that life here. there are things left out, but this is written as a kindle single, and there is enough for us to get the point. berenson somehow takes this unsympathetic, spoiled, rich boy and imbibes him (yes, it's a drinking pun) with just enough pathos to leave him more tragic and less insipid than i previously thought. i have some history with the anheuser busch company, some firsthand knowledge of its business practices and some previous knowledge of "four" (as he was known), but here in "the prince of beers" (whether it was intentional by berenson or not), i have learned that he might have deserved less hatred and more sympathy for his life choices.
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on November 28, 2012
I found this 30 minute read to be quite informative and entertaining about a public figure that I almost knew nothing about. While reading "The Prince of Beers," I kept wanting more of the family history. I know the single centered on just August Busch IV and his "sad" relationship with his father, but I was anticipating more of the background history on the Busch family. But that was my expectations and nothing against Berenson as a writer. I eagerly anticipate his next single, as I do the same for the next John Wells novel.
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on January 8, 2013
I didn't know much about the Bush family but I live in stl so I've always seen the headlines. This book was filled with facts & stories of a rich lonely man who was extremely over privileged to the point where he has absolutely no personal responsibility. He killed 2 women and paid his way to freedom. His desperate need for daddy's approval is sickening.....Aside from jumping around on the dates, I found this novel to be well written, accurate, and intriguing
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VINE VOICEon February 20, 2013
The seminal story on August Busch IV ("The Fourth") can be found in Julie MacIntosh's stellar book, Dethroning the King: The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon. Compared to that fascinating, in-depth reporting, Alex Berenson's tale serves as no more than an digestif (were that digestif made from hops and barley).

Still, as an avid proponent of MacIntosh's work, I found "Prince of Beers" worthy of its quick read (it goes down easily in one setting). That's because MacIntosh's book reaches its climax with the successfully completed November, 2008 takeover of A-B by InBev. The subject of Berenson's book - the overdose death of Adrienne Martin at The Fourth's home in December 2010 - came as MacIntosh was concluding her work. As such, the event gets brief mention in her book's final pages. For those that loved Ms. MacIntosh's book like me and want to learn more about this event, "The Prince of Beers" is a must-read.

The Fourth, as described by Berenson, lives out a dark, depressing post-A-B life, surrounded by firearms and alcohol. The Martin death and his post-ouster stupor of a life is yet one more chapter in what MacIntosh calls a "Shakespearean family drama, I just haven't figured out which one." Indeed, the layers on complexity loaded on to the relationship between The Fourth and his hard-driving, fear-installing father ("The Third") is so redolent of the Bard's work that the challenge is figuring out which of many Shakespearean tragedies is the most fitting.
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on November 29, 2012
Alex is a master of the quick-pace genre that leaves you unable to stop reading. This story is both exciting and tragic at the same time. I'm glad he decided to write this and found it a worthy look into this sad story.
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on December 16, 2012
Alex Berenson creates a fascinating image of August Busch IV, or "The Fourth," and the wild failure of his tenure as CEO of Anheuser-Busch. The Kindle Single circles between Busch's wild party years in the lead up to CEO, his misguided leadership and sale of an American beverage institution, and his implications in the death of Adrienne Nicole Martin in 2010. All of this closely interplays with The Fourth's relationship with his disapproving father, August Busch III, and The Fourth's desire for validation. The tragedy is in The Fourth's current place in life, plagued by demons of drug addiction, without any close friends, and blaming others for events that have transpired in his life.

It's a great short read, especially since news outlets seemed to focus on the shock of selling an American institution to a foreign company instead of the dynamics playing out in the boardroom. August Busch IV is a fascinating poor-little-rich-boy whose life has been an American modern tragedy.
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on March 28, 2013
When I lived in Australia and Taiwan, Budweiser and Bud Light were American products that were synonymous with the Busch's success. Dethroning the King by Julie Macintosh depicts the business side of the Busch family excellently. In Business classes, we had to read "Under the Influence" about the Anheuser-Busch dynasty and it was fascinating to read about such a powerful lineage. I guess in our day and age, a family that has success and structure is somewhat of a miracle and most American families struggle with economic hardships, foreclosures, and rising tuition costs for family. The Busch family radiates discipline, hard work, and structure. The extreme pressure is felt by August Busch IV, and is capitalized on in this short e-book that Alex writes of from mostly his imagination...which is vivid.
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on May 1, 2015
Why would I read a book about the Busch Family? The reason is Alex Berenson! Mostly by accident I came across Berenson's "Faithful Spy." I loved the main character (John Well's) and I'm knee deep in the 9 or 10 book series. I actually started to slow down a bit so I don't run out of John Well's adventures so fast. Anyway The story of Busch and the famous company was very interesting and worth my time. I put Berenson right up there with my favorite writers including Grisham, Patterson, Flynn, Demille, Rosenfelt, Landay, MeDermid, LeHane and Connelly. Once last thing that made me really like Berenson is I emailed him after reading one of his books and although it took some time he actually wrote back. That kind of blew my mind. Alex Berenson Rocks!!
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