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(Object Lessons)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

The burger, long the All-American meal, is undergoing an identity crisis. From its shifting place in popular culture to the efforts, by investors like Bill Gates, to seek to find the non-animal burger that can feed the world, the burger's identity has become as malleab
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 8th 2018 by Bloomsbury Academic
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Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
Burger by Carol J. Adams is a look at perhaps the most American sandwich. Adams is a feminist-vegan advocate, activist, and independent scholar and the author of numerous books including her pathbreaking The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, now in a Bloomsbury Revelations edition celebrating its 25th anniversary. She is the co-editor of several important anthologies, including most recently Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth (with ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
OBJECT LESSONS is a book series that looks at an everyday idea or product, and explores it more in-depth. And there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to the ordinary hamburger, posits author Carol J. Adams.

I appreciated the lens through which burger culture, advertising, history and future was appraised. Adams is both a feminist and a vegan, and I think that she could take a more clear-eyed, critical look at the burger than could an author who does not identify in these ways. In sho
Marie Andrews
Burger by Carol J. Adams is a short book which tells the history of the burger, from it's origins and definitions, to the huge rise in consumerism with companies such as McDonalds. It also looked at what the future will hold for this food and the rise in plant-based diets and what this means for a food that is such a staple for many diets across the world.
It was interesting to read about the culture and consumerism which surrounds the burger and it's clear that this book was very well researche
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
(Note: I received an advanced electronic copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley)

I admittedly opened up “Burger” expecting a work that was going to be first and foremost a history, with very quick snippets about various cultural aspects sprinkled throughout. Suffice to say, my assumptions did not match up to reality. The history is only one part of a very in-depth overview, which covered everything from the environmental effects of burger consumption, to the themes of sexual objectification that
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've defined this series on multiple occasions in the past as discursive, academic, autobiographical tomes that look at things you'd never consider being worthy of a book to themselves, the bookshelf being one such instance (and one instance of the series being completely successful and enjoyable). There have been countless volumes about the burger, however - yet this one is a prime cut among the reconstituted pink shit. You need cattle ferried to the US by the Spanish invaders, and land stolen ...more
Diane Hernandez
Mar 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
Everything (plus more) that anyone wants or needs to know about burgers.

Burger is part of a Bloomsbury Academic series of object lessons. Each brief book takes a noun and writes an interesting essay about it. Each is written by a different author. I really enjoyed Souvenir (, which I gave 4 stars. It was chock full of relevant and not-well-known information about the history and reason for souvenirs.

Burger fails, at least to me, to meet the interesting r
Martin Rowe
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I've published many of Carol Adams' books at Lantern Books (, and I'm a vegan—so I'm predisposed to like this author and her perspectives. Adams' supple, syncretic, and always interesting thought processes are on full display here. What may surprise readers of her other books is the relaxed, amused, and often playful tone in which she has written this monograph. BURGER notes that this quintessential American food product is quintessentially American in that its ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it liked it
A Burger is in the Eye of the Beholder

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for allusions to violence against women, and actual violence against nonhuman animals.)

Toward the end of a very long evening in which Harold and Kumar overcome a variety of obstacles in their pursuit of a White Castle hamburger, Kumar makes a speech about the meaning of immigration to the United States. In his telling, hamburgers form the heart of being a citizen
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting exposé of burgers and all the things related to this deliciousness. The book was very well researched.
John Plowright
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
As the author of ‘The Sexual Politics of Meat’ and ‘The Pornography of Meat’, Carol J. Adams is very well placed to write a book on the cultural history of the burger for Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series. In her slim volume this cheap single-portion edible protein source is carefully considered from multiple perspectives, including interspecies history, environmental history, national history and gender politics.

The elements you’d expect to see – the McDonald Brothers and Ray Kroc, Burger King
This book is a part of the Object Lessons book series "...about the hidden lives of ordinary things." In this book, Carol J. Adams tackles the burger, often framed as the "All-American food" despite having a violent history that's been glossed over (beef is a direct result of colonialism) and continues to have a violent present, which also continues to be heavily romanticized (the "humane and ethical meat" narrative despite the human, animal, and environmental devastation caused by animal agricu ...more
Carianne Carleo-Evangelist
I didn't know that the author was a vegan prior to reading this book but you learned that quickly. I think she was paid per use of "cow flesh" although I lost track of how many times she did. I'd be curious to see how a vegan or stronger feminist took her book.

Still, I enjoyed her take on the burger's role through American political, social and physical history. It's kind of crazy the paths a simple food item has taken. While many books cover Ray Kroc, fewer look into White Castle, Carl's/Hardee
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I admit I had a hard time getting into this one initially, I think as a result of the series format. I felt a bit like I had mental whiplash, because there is so much information to be had on the history of the burger and it had to be done so succinctly. It is a bit like playing hopscotch. That being said, after a short while I adapted to the format and found myself learning new things. Some of the stuff I knew, but I supposed it doesn't hurt to be reminded of the atrocities associated with meat ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this over the course of three work trips, eating burgers in hotel restaurants alone (that's why it took me so long to read – I don't often eat burgers or in hotel restaurants, but it seemed appropriate). I did find this interesting, and it was a great balance of factual historical detail and sociological analysis. However, at times the author's opinions on whether we should or shouldn't eat meat (she very clearly thinks we shouldn't) affected the otherwise quite fairly-balanced text. I do ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another interesting little book from the Object Lessons series. I particularly enjoyed this one as it is one of the more straightforward ones – some of them tend to be a bit airy-fairy and esoteric and I like facts! Here we have an account of the history, development, definition and future of the humble – or perhaps not-so-humble – burger. The author explores its cultural and societal significance, and even manages to bring in gender politics. Who’d have thought there was so much to say about th ...more
Rhonda Lomazow
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Burger the all American favorite.Another wonderful entry in this unique series of different objects.The Burger from the Boca Burger that the Clintons introduced to us a vegetarian burger that tasted almost as good as the real thing to Macdonalds and on to an overview of burgers sellers & consumers.Behind the scene fun& scandals highly recode day .Thanks to NetGalley &Bloomsbury academic for advance readers copy for honest review
Margaret Sankey
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Another great entry in the series on everyday objects, Adams offers a kaleidoscopic cultural history--the domestication of cows, Boca burgers, the founding of McDonalds, slaughterhouses, Hamburger Hill, Hardee's lewd advertising campaigns, mad cow disease and Harold and Kumar.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Burger by Carol J. Adams is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early March.

Adams speaks in a blatant, unabashed, and slightly put-upon narrative about the origin of burgers, alternatives to them, and their place in pop culture, while also fetishizing and anthropomorphizing them.
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Nov 11, 2017 marked it as to-start-soon
A digitized ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Carol J. Adams is a feminist-vegetarian theorist and author of books on eco-feminism and the links between species oppression and gender oppression.

Other books in the series

Object Lessons (1 - 10 of 45 books)
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  • Phone Booth
  • Train
  • Refrigerator
  • Questionnaire
  • Bread
  • Hood
  • Traffic
  • Earth
  • Dust
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