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Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild Westby Stephen Fried
Synopses & Reviews
The legendary life and entrepreneurial vision of Fred Harvey helped shape American culture and history for three generations—from the 1880s all the way through World War II—and still influence our lives today in surprising and fascinating ways. Now award-winning journalist Stephen Fried re-creates the life of this unlikely American hero, the founding father of the nation’s service industry, whose remarkable family business civilized the West and introduced America to Americans.
Appetite for America is the incredible real-life story of Fred Harvey—told in depth for the first time ever—as well as the story of this country’s expansion into the Wild West of Bat Masterson and Billy the Kid, of the great days of the railroad, of a time when a deal could still be made with a handshake and the United States was still uniting. As a young immigrant, Fred Harvey worked his way up from dishwasher to household name: He was Ray Kroc before McDonald’s, J. Willard Marriott before Marriott Hotels, Howard Schultz before Starbucks. His eating houses and hotels along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad (including historic lodges still in use at the Grand Canyon) were patronized by princes, presidents, and countless ordinary travelers looking for the best cup of coffee in the country. Harvey’s staff of carefully screened single young women—the celebrated Harvey Girls—were the country’s first female workforce and became genuine Americana, even inspiring an MGM musical starring Judy Garland.
With the verve and passion of Fred Harvey himself, Stephen Fried tells the story of how this visionary built his business from a single lunch counter into a family empire whose marketing and innovations we still encounter in myriad ways. Inspiring, instructive, and hugely entertaining, Appetite for America is historical biography that is as richly rewarding as a slice of fresh apple pie—and every bit as satisfying.
*With two photo inserts featuring over 75 images, and an appendix with over fifty Fred Harvey recipes, most of them never-before-published.
Traces the story of the 19th-century entrepreneur famed during his lifetime for establishing a national chain of restaurants, hotels and bookstores patronizing railroad passengers, in an account that reveals his role in shaping culture and labor.
About the Author
Stephen Fried is an award-winning investigative journalist and essayist and an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is the author of Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia (the inspiration for the Emmy-winning film Gia), Bitter Pills, The New Rabbi, and Husbandry. A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, Fried has written frequently for Vanity Fair, GQ, The Washington Post Magazine, Rolling Stone, Glamour, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Philadelphia magazine. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, author Diane Ayres.
Table of Contents
Part One: Fred discovers America (and vice versa), 1853-1901 — Pot Walloper — The last train stop in America --- A gentleman among the Bleeding Kansans — Railroad warrior — Opportunistic sponge — Savage and unnatural feeding — They'll try anything — Suited to the most exigent or epicurean taste — Cowboy victualer — Viva Las Vegas — We are in the wilds, we are not of them — Harvey girls — Like a house afire — Acute Americanitis — Transcontinental Fred — Biting the hand — The biggest catered lunch in American history — Let the boys do it — Rough ridden — The clutches of the grim monster — Part Two: Exceeding the Standard, 1901-1948 — A little journey in the wilderness — The Fred Harvey Indian Department — Tenth Legion — On the very brink of the dizzy gulf — Trainiacs — Kansas City Stars — National parking — Daring young Freddy and his flying machines — Soroptimistas — The roar of the twenties — Santa fated — A wonderful live toy to play with — Poised for takeoff — Ford Harvey has a cold — Freddy spreads his wings — Pay no attention to that crashing sound — Loaves and fishes — Heir raising — Great expectations — Tailspin — Kitty blinks — Private Pringle to the rescue — The spies at La Fonda — Big Hollywood ending — Epilogue — Appendix I: The grand tour of Fred Harvey's America — Appendix II: Meals by Fred Harvey — Apppendix III: Fred was here: a master list of Fred Harvey locations — Acknowledgments & Outshouts — Freditor's notes & sources — Bibliography — Index.
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