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Drive-Thru Dreams

Drive-Thru Dreams examines American culture, history, and identity through the prism of fast food. 


The book was named an NPR Favorite Book of the Year, an Amazon Best Book of the Year, and a Smithsonian Best Food Book of the Year. 



           Reviews & Euphoric Praise

Drive-Thru Dreams is a fascinating and incredibly fun read that will change the way you think about this most American of industries.” 

—AMAZON BOOK REVIEW, Best Book of the Year pick

Americans have a complicated relationship with fast food. We love to eat it; we also love to hate it. Drive-Thru Dreams balances those impulses by offering short histories of the people and companies that have changed the way this country eats. Along the way, author Adam Chandler makes the case that our love for fast food is a defining part of American culture.” 

—NPR, Favorite Book of the Year pick


“[Chandler] captures the complexities of the industry from all sides, talking to company executives, workers and consumers of fast food. This book is more likely to inspire nostalgia than disgust, presenting fast food as the great equalizer of American culture.” 

—SMITHSONIAN, Best Food Book of the Year pick

“This fun, argumentative, and frequently surprising pop history of American fast food will thrill and educate food lovers of all speed.” 

—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, Pick of the Week

“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 CEOs.

—BOOKLIST, starred review

“Eminently readable, smart, and fascinating, Drive-Thru Dreams is, belying its subject matter, a full meal.”


“As Chandler walks you through economic realities, political identities and blue-collar roots [of fast food], you might want to order some fries to go along with this page-turner.”


“Enlightening and fun to read... Based on interviews and careful research, this is a book to savor, especially if you’re a fast-food fan.” 


Drive-Thru Dreams is key to understanding the American love affair with fast food and the culture around it, including its economic impact and fandoms... Brilliant and necessary.”  

—MICHAEL TWITTY, James Beard Award-winning author of The Cooking Gene

“Driven by relentless curiosity, a sharp mind, and an honest affection for America’s fast food, Drive-Thru Dreams makes a compelling case that to understand fast food is to understand America.

—TRACIE McMILLAN, New York Times bestselling author of The American Way of Eating


“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. Whatabook! I’m hungry!

—NICHOLAS DAWIDOFF, author of The Catcher Was a Spy and The Crowd Sounds Happy


“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 SESHADRIPulitzer Prize-winning author of 3 Sections


“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


“Chandler reveals the unexpected humanity in Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and the historical forces that led to the creation of the Whopper. With a fresh, captivating perspective, Chandler articulates how fast good can be both a source of strife and a great equalizer in American society.

—JEFFREY YOSKOWITZ, co-author of The Gefilte Manifesto

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