Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pg. 99: Bryant Simon's "Everything but the Coffee"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Everything But the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks by Bryant Simon.

About the book, from the publisher:
Everything but the Coffee casts a fresh eye on the world's most famous coffee company, looking beyond baristas, movie cameos, and Paul McCartney CDs to understand what Starbucks can tell us about America. Bryant Simon visited hundreds of Starbucks around the world to ask, Why did Starbucks take hold so quickly with consumers? What did it seem to provide over and above a decent cup of coffee? Why at the moment of Starbucks' profit-generating peak did the company lose its way, leaving observers baffled about how it might regain its customers and its cultural significance? Everything but the Coffee probes the company's psychological, emotional, political, and sociological power to discover how Starbucks' explosive success and rapid deflation exemplify American culture at this historical moment. Most importantly, it shows that Starbucks speaks to a deeply felt American need for predictability and class standing, community and authenticity, revealing that Starbucks' appeal lies not in the product it sells but in the easily consumed identity it offers.
Preview Everything but the Coffee, and learn more about the book at the University of California Press website.

Bryant Simon is Professor of History and the Director of American Studies at Temple University and the author of Boardwalk Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America and other scholarly works.

Writers Read: Bryant Simon.

The Page 99 Test: Everything But the Coffee.

--Marshal Zeringue