The Hamburger

The Hamburger : A History

3.23 (146 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

America has run on hamburgers for almost a century. This is the story of their sizzle and their symbolism, where they came from and how they conquered the world.

What do Americans think of when they think of the hamburger? A robust, succulent spheroid of fresh ground beef, the birthright of red-blooded citizens? Or a Styrofoam-shrouded Big Mac, mass-produced to industrial specifications and served by wage slaves to an obese, brainwashed population? Is it cooking or commodity? An icon of freedom or the quintessence of conformity?

This fast-paced and entertaining book unfolds the immense significance of the hamburger as an American icon. Josh Ozersky shows how the history of the burger is entwined with American business and culture and, unexpectedly, how the burger's story is in many ways the story of the country that invented (and reinvented) it.

Spanning the years from the nineteenth century with its waves of European immigrants to our own era of globalization, the book recounts how German "hamburg steak" evolved into hamburgers for the rising class of urban factory workers and how the innovations of the White Castle System and the McDonald's Corporation turned the burger into the Model T of fast food. The hamburger played an important role in America's transformation into a mobile, suburban culture, and today, America's favorite sandwich is nothing short of an irrepressible economic and cultural force. How this all happened, and why, is a remarkable story, told here with insight, humor, and gusto.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 12.7mm | 204g
  • New Haven, CT, United States
  • English
  • 15 b-w illus.
  • 030015125X
  • 9780300151251
  • 877,489

Review quote

"'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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About Josh Ozersky

An American cultural historian and recognized authority on food, Josh Ozersky is food editor/online for New York Magazine. He has written for The

New York Times, the New York Post, Saveur, and many other publications. His books include Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York and Archie Bunker's America: TV in an Era of Changing Times. He lives in New York City.
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Rating details

146 ratings
3.23 out of 5 stars
5 11% (16)
4 25% (36)
3 45% (66)
2 16% (23)
1 3% (5)
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