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The Great American Cereal Book: How Breakfast Got Its Crunch Hardcover – February 1, 2012

45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

My passion for cereal inspired me to launch this project, but you don't have to be a cereal lover to enjoy The Great American Cereal Book. I was thrilled to find a publisher that shared my vision.

Cereal is fun. Eating cereal is fun. Reading cereal boxes is fun. Cereal spokescharacters are fun. Not too many morose thoughts run through one's mind when Sonny the Cuckoo Bird is proclaiming, "I'm Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!" I tried to express that sense of fun on every page and Harry Abrams followed suit. The 350 images of cereal boxes, ads and memorabilia that pepper the pages of this book make it colorful and, of course, fun.

But if not for co-author Topher Ellis and heaps of information provided by the cereal companies, this book would never have become a reality. Thanks to everyone!

And to everyone out there ... enjoy!


About the Author

Marty Gitlin is a freelance writer and the author of more than 40 books. He has won many awards for his writing, including first place for General Excellence in Journalism from the Associated Press. Gitlin lives with his wife and three children in Cleveland, Ohio. Topher Ellis is a cereal expert and editor of the cereal newsletter the Boxtop, the longest continuously running publication dedicated to breakfast cereal. He lives in Matthews, North Carolina.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams Image (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810997991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810997998
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #647,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Dworkin on January 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow, what a great book! Informative, colorful and loads of fun. Lots of guests have commented on it. It is amazing how cereal is such a big part of our culture. We've always had it and taken it for granted. This book gives you the history of all of them, from the very beginning with the small entrepreneurs to the big corporate productions of today. So many times, I'd see a cereal and say, "I remember that!" (I'm 56 years old). This book can be the definition of a coffee table book: Light and fun and a real browser. Great job.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Scofflaw on February 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I believe there are three levels of coffee table books.

On the first level is the book you put out to look like a cultured fancy pants. You really don't like the book, and the people who come to your home really don't like it either, but they go through the motions of leafing through it, as a social custom more than anything. This is the level in which you find your Frank Lloyd Wright retrospectives and your selected Georgia O'Keefe female parts flowers.

On the second level is the book that anyone will have a passing interest in. The book caught your eye in the bookstore; you flipped a few pages, found it interesting enough, and brought it home. Anyone who comes over can browse it contentedly. This level is where we find the brightly colored rainforests photography collections and various other natural phenomena.
But on the third and highest level is the book that is so great, not only will people gravitate toward it excitedly as soon as they put butt to cushion, but will shriek with joy more than once throughout your chitchatty dinner party preamble. This is the kind of book that people will connect with on a personal level. Firmly situated on level three is where you will find The Great American Cereal Book.

This tome of the most American of breakfast products charts the rise, and occasional falls, of the American cereal industry from its humble beginnings at a sanitarium in New York in the late 1800s. It is the passion product of authors Marty Gitlin and Topher Ellis, 15 years in the making.

Chock-full of facty goodness, there is something delightful on every page. Hundreds of cereals are broken down and catalogued meticulously.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robin on January 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Pop culture fans will love this. A chunky book telling you all you need to know about a few simple agri products that must have generated billions of dollars over the decades. The two authors have devised a neat fun format for the four hundred entries: eleven categories from 'Brought to you by: manufacturer'; 'First poured: cereal launch year' to 'Crunch on this: facts about the cereal'. Historically it covers cereals from 1863 to 2010.

What I liked about the book were the pack shots presented as cutouts, frequently page size. Several pages feature lists and printed ephemera from past decades. It's worth saying that only cereals made by General Mills, Kellogg's, Nabisco, Nestle, Post, Quaker Oats and Ralston are included but this surely must be most of the market.

Cereals must be a hard market to crack considering the number of failed brands. What chance would anyone give these of succeeding: Ooobopperoos (Nabisco 1972) Grins & Smiles & Giggles & Laughs (Ralston 1975) Spider-Man (Ralston 1995) Spider-Man (Kellogg's 202) Spider-Man 3 (General Mills 2007) well, they disappeared in no time. The chapter dealing with 1981 to 2010 reveals that the companies will clutch at anything, especially entertainment and celebrities to launch a new brand. Page 290 has a pack shot of HULK Limited Edition Cereal from 2003 to tie in with the Universal movie. Despite the gone in a flash brands others just keep on pouring. A hundred years or older are Nabisco Shredded Wheat, Grape-nuts, Puffed Wheat and Corn Flakes. Eighty years or older are All-bran, Post 40% Bran Flakes, Wheaties and Rice Krispies. Even Trix and Special K have been here for over fifty years.

Overall a fun read in a very nicely presented book, especially the dozens of pack shots. A very minor criticism is that the paper is rather thick preventing the book from being opened flat
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sue on January 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was a little skeptical about a book about cereal, but when a friend gave me a copy and I started leafing through it, I couldn't stop. There are tons of colorful photos of all your favorite boxes. It brings back a lot of great childhood memories especially about those sugary staples we can't live without that came out in the 60s like Lucky Charms and Froot Loops. It made me miss one of my personal favorites, Super Sugar Crisp and the Sugar Bear. The fun facts about the spokescharacters and slogans will have you waxing nostalgic about the good old days of riding your bike with the banana seat and the high handlebars. This would make a great gift for young and old alike!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book offers a lot. It's a fascinating history of the American cereal industry with geeked out facts about hundreds of cereals; When the products were on the market, the type of cereal, related brands, factoids and more. There are some very obscure cereals covered too: Dinky Donuts, Crazy Cow, Cheyenne Corn - the vastness of the number of brands to grace supermarket shelves is astounding,

The Great American Cereal Book is also a beautiful book with a ton of high quality package shots. The book layout and design are wonderful. There's a humorous approach that's appropriate for the subject matter without going overboard. The shimmering gaudiness that is the American cereal industry comes through on its own.
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