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The Hamburger: A History (Icons of America) Paperback – May 26, 2009
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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 --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
"'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"
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Top Customer Reviews
The author starts the book by debunking most of the current myths about how and who invented the hamburger. And, the author uses pretty strict criteria for what a hamburger is and is not. He puts to rest the claims of many of the people who claim to be the originator and comes up with a plausible explanation of how the burger was actually invented.
From that point, the author looks at the social implications, as well as the corporate structure that made the hamburger what it is today. How did McD's get started and how did a lowly piece of meat create one of today's largest corporations? You'll just have to read the book to find out. What happened to the company that started it all? And, no, that would not be McD.
The book, while relatively short, is well written and very readable. I enjoyed learning about the sides of the hamburger that I never knew existed.