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Drive-Thru Dreams

A Journey Through the Heart of America's Fast-Food Kingdom

Adam Chandler



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Flatiron Books
28 September 2021
Most any honest person, no matter how refined the palate or how anointed the social status, can own up to harboring at least one fast-food guilty pleasure. One item against which their resistance is useless and their fealty is set.

We tend to think of fast food as corporate and impersonal. And for good reason. But, in unexpected ways, fast food is also deeply personal. After all, the only inherited rite in America might just be mainlining French fries beneath the comforting fluorescence of an anonymous fast-food dining room. Drive-Thru Dreams by Adam Chandler tells the personal and contemporary story of America, its innovations and failures, its international charisma, and its regional identities through its beloved roadside fare. Fast food's menus, mass appeal, and blue-collar roots, offer a reflection of a century of national life explained by American habits, desires, economic realities, and political identities.

We are all too familiar with the dark underbelly of the fast-food kingdom, but it is also symbolic of what we mean to be: democratic, efficient, and accessible to the masses. A sharp contrast to Super Size Me and Fast Food Nation, Chandler's insightful and hilarious cultural study with Drive-Thru Dreams shows that the fast-food industry, though imperfect, reflects much of what makes us Americans.
Imprint:   Flatiron Books
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 203mm,  Width: 128mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   247g
ISBN:   9781250090744
ISBN 10:   1250090741
Pages:   288
Publication Date:  
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Adam Chandler is a writer and journalist based in Brooklyn. A former staff writer at The Atlantic and Tablet Magazine, his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Texas Monthly, New York Magazine, Slate, Esquire, and elsewhere.

Reviews for Drive-Thru Dreams: A Journey Through the Heart of America's Fast-Food Kingdom

A Publishers Weekly Book of the Week This is a book to savor, especially if you're a fast-food fan. --Bookpage This fun, argumentative, and frequently surprising pop history of American fast food will thrill and educate food lovers of all speeds. --Publishers Weekly Eminently readable, smart, and fascinating, Drive-Thru Dreams is, belying its subject matter, a full meal. --Entertainment Weekly An entertaining treatise on how fast food has changed American culture, and been changed by it, Adam Chandler traces its history from the beginnings of White Castle to today. --Business Insider Before anyone casts judgment upon fast food, Chandler asks readers to take a much closer look at all the outcomes and influences of this industry, how these businesses both provide employment and act as equalizing venues of social interaction.... In Chandler's version of the narrative, these corporate behemoths are still made up of people. He shares a host of anecdotes about some ever-fascinating individuals, from servers to CEO's. --Booklist, starred review This book will completely change the way even the fiercest health advocate thinks about our nutritional landscape. There is no road to reform without understanding the ways fast food is woven into American history and culture, which Adam Chandler articulates brilliantly. --James Hamblin, M.D., author of If Our Bodies Could Talk Driven by relentless curiosity, a sharp mind, and an honest affection for America's fast food, Drive-Thru Dreams splits the difference between structural analysis and charming storytelling, and makes a compelling case that to understand fast food is to understand America. Whether chronicling the industry's birth among rags-to-riches pioneers or tracing the startling symbiosis between social media and fast food sales, Chandler brings our understanding of fast food into the twenty-first century. --Tracie McMillan, author of The American Way of Eating Drive-Thru Dreams creatively and playfully explores how fast food has shaped--and continues to shape--America, daring to posit that perhaps the relationship between Americans and its franchised food establishments has been mutually beneficial. We see how fast food can be both a great equalizer in American society and a source of strife and class differentiation. I couldn't help but be inspired by Chandler's thoughtful account of this uniquely American phenomenon. --Jeffrey Yoskowitz, co-author of The Gefilte Manifesto Drive-Thru Dreams is a key text to understanding the American love affair with fast food and the culture around it, including its economic impact and fandoms. This spicy and humorous narrative feels personal while writing the necessary chapter of what may be, for good or ill, some of America's most consumed chow. Brilliant and necessary. --Michael Twitty, James Beard Award winning author of The Cooking Gene On the page, terrific writers know how to have their cake (or their Big Mac) and eat it, too. Adam Chandler is such a writer, and Drive-Thru Dreams, his account of the wild and inalienable wonderland of American fast food, gives us not just insight and history but a pleasure that is downright gustatory. -- Vijay Seshadri, Pulitzer Prize winning author of 3 Sections Adam Chandler puts the country on a griddle with his juicy defense of that much-maligned national obsession, fast food. It's a delicious full-item, be-pickled feast of high calorie Americana--including dad jokes. What a book! I'm hungry! --Nicholas Dawidoff, author of The Catcher Was a Spy and The Crowd Sounds Happy

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