For decades America took its beloved ground-beef-patty sandwich pretty much for granted, the only controversy concerning whether it should have a slice of cheese melted atop the meat. Thanks to the ubiquity granted it by America’s mobile culture, the hamburger’s hegemony is now threatened on both nutritional and economic fronts. Ozersky traces the well-documented history of the hamburger, debunking many of the myths surrounding its nineteenth-century origins. He gives special attention to the origins of the White Castle chain of burger drive-ins, showing how it anticipated many of the innovations most people ascribe to McDonald’s. Ozersky finds the hard-driving Ray Kroc, author of McDonald’s success, a contradictory character, at once valuing conformity yet gathering around himself creative minds to ensure McDonald’s marketplace dominance. Ozersky’s analysis of Burger King’s and Wendy’s differing strategies to make their burgers somehow distinctive within the American fast-food market makes for great reading. --Mark Knoblauch
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"'This entertaining and informative book, which traces the burger's evolution from working man's snack during the Depression to symbol of American corporatism, is nothing less than a brief history of America in the 20th century.' The Economist 'The book is more than an overview of the sandwich; it is an impassioned argument for its significance in American culture and a celebration of its power.' New York Magazine 'A sexy little volume on the history of the patty from its 18th-century beginnings to its postwar boom thanks to White Castle.' Rachel Wharton, New York Daily News"