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Colonel Sanders and the American Dream (Discovering America (University of Texas Press)) Hardcover – April 15, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

From the book: "The youthful public, polled in 2010, were woefully ignorant in thinking that Colonel Sanders was not a real person. Had he not been, the contrast between his identity and his image, his violent temper and hotblooded fits of anger, and the cool, dispassionate, and reckless way he and the company he founded were treated by the corporations for so many years would not be so poignant. The Colonel, whose ambition knew no bounds and whose stubborn, ineradicable sense of self survived even his own apotheosis, did, in fact live the American Dream. He transcended his own limitations and the conditions of his birth. But in retrospect, it was his greatest triumph, and his best legacy, that he didn't transcend them completely. He continues to represent a very real time, place, product, and person, and his icon is hollow without the man behind it." Review: "Food writer, Josh Ozersky has written a very good business book. He profiles the many colossal failures of the Kentucky Fried Chicken founder, Harlan Sanders, and the success he had at 65 creating KFC. It is a true life Death of a Salesman as Sanders works tirelessly to build something - anything that will raise him from his humble beginnings." - Julia McMichael, San Francisco Book Review

About the Author

Josh Ozersky is a James Beard Award–winning food writer and cultural historian, the author most recently of The Hamburger: A History. He writes on society and food for Time magazine and has written frequently for New York Magazine, the New York Times, Saveur, and numerous other publications. Among his other books are Archie Bunker's America: TV in an Era of Change, 1968–1978 and Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to Manhattan.
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Product Details

  • Series: Discovering America (University of Texas Press) (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 156 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (April 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292723822
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292723825
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #466,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Guy on September 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This isn't really a book, it's more of a long form magazine article and not a very good one. Basically, you walk away understanding that Ozersky really likes fried chicken and has a great affinity for KFC. There's a loose biography here, but most of the book seems to focus on the mistreatment of KFC and Col. Sanders' legacy by various corporate interests.

This book is simply not worth the time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed Josh Ozersky's "The Hamburger," and I love fried chicken too, so I thought I'd give this book a whirl. The "American Dream" theme applies mostly to the first half of the book, which details Colonel Sanders' roots, his rise as a businessman, and the establishment of the KFC empire, owing greatly in part to the Colonel's "handshake" style of doing business.

The second half of the book deals with the succession of corporate takeovers of KFC and their hapless efforts to grow/transform the already successful business, which resulted in frequent clashes with the franchisees and the Colonel's vision for what KFC ought to be. The end of the book descends into a diatribe that has Ozersky channeling the cranky Colonel himself as he lambasts the current corporate owners for plunging quality, expunging the words "Fried Chicken" from the brand name, and cheapening the Colonel's image by turning him into a cartoon mascot meant to appeal to kids afflicted with the latest Pokemon craze.

The latter half of the book may have been improved had Ozersky's argument been better developed (I personally never had any problem with the cartoon Sanders either, I thought he was funny!). Yet he does make a good case that all the faceless corporate restructuring failed to respect the heart of the product. Fried chicken is arguably the most "sit down" meal of all fast foods, and it lends itself much better to feelings of familial warmth than, say, Taco Bell or Burger King. The book ends on somewhat of a sour note, but it at least made me want to add a pilgrimage to the original Sanders Cafe to my "bucket" list :D

In essence, at the heart of the book is a love for the product and a love for the grandfatherly gentleman who made it all happen. I love fried chicken. I love you now too, Colonel Sanders. God bless umer'ca
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not a biography of The Colonel, but it is still a fine read. It's really a novella length essay about the complications of striving and success in America. You'll learn a good deal about Harlan Sanders, but also what happens when a small regional franchise operation goes global. Very well written, intelligent, and thoughtful.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is thoughtful, witty, and a compelling read. i didn't know much about colonel sanders and I didn't really think much about him besides him being a famous man in a funny suit. Ozersky's book told me not just about the Colonel but also about many other things that helped me understand the colonel, like chicken in southern culture, pressure cookers, corporate branding, and so much more. But the main thing is that it's written so well and so intelligently that I enjoyed reading about things I didn't think I would care about. I am going to read his other book about hamburgers next.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enjoyed reading and learned a few things was unaware of. However, having worked with the Colonel found book wanting in many areas of his involvement with the sale to Jack Massey and John Y. Brown and subsequent sale to Hueblin. Feel it failed to truly capture the real strength of the Colonel as an individual and battles with Corporate clones he had to deal with.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is interesting in two ways: the life story of Col. Sanders and insight into how large corporations and franchises work. While the topics are worth reading the book for, the book itself seriously needs an editor. The level of the writing varies from chapter to chapter and at times I had to make charts and check timelines on line to keep track of where KFC was going.
Harland Sanders was an irascible entrepreneur who wasn't willing to rest on his laurels after the success of KFC. He was not cut out for the giant corporate world and it didn't know how to handle him or his chicken.
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By Richard on December 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a present for my autistic son, he told me he loved the story of the Colonel and how he worked hard to make his business successful.
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