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Cultural historian Ozersky (food editor/online, New York magazine) examines the hamburger-the bellwether, and later stalwart, of the fast-food establishment in America-as a cultural signpost for American cultural and social values. He includes meaty research on the personalities (e.g., Ray Kroc, Dave Thomas) and the corporations (e.g., McDonald's, White Castle, Big Boy) that not only perfected the delivery of the assembly-line sandwich to the masses but also profited from their ability to connect to the power of the individuality, ingenuity, and ambition inherent in the American dream, even as the shape of that dream has shifted throughout the 20th century to today-where McDonaldization and gourmet Kobe beef burgers coexist. Compelling reading, this clearly written book will attract a wide range of readers, from those with an academic interest in popular culture, U.S. history, sociology, or company histories to those generally interested in the American sociocultural landscape and the origins of McDonald's. Recommended for academic and public libraries.