SOCIAL SCIENCES

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

Flatiron: Macmillan. Jun. 2019. 288p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781250090720. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250090737. SOC SCI
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According to a 2013 Gallup poll, Americans visit fast food restaurants at least once a month, making them one of the most popular destinations in daily life. While some may shake their heads at this fact, former Atlantic staff writer Chandler embraces it. The author has covered food, culture, and politics for the New York Times, Slate, and the Wall Street Journal. His first book examines American culture and its global spread over the past century through our relationship with food, specifically fast food. Tracing the history of and socioeconomic factors around this type of eating, Chandler discusses ways in which these restaurants become integrated into their communities, providing physical spaces for customers as well as reflecting local tastes. The author draws on personal reflections, as well as interviews with various people, from a McDonald’s employee in small-town Iowa to food writer Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food). The conversational tone is supported with a hearty notes section.

VERDICT Recommended for popular culture and behavioral economics readers.

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