howard markel

How the Kellogg Brothers Transformed Breakfast and Wellness

“What’s more American than Corn Flakes?” Bing Crosby once posed that rhetorical question and would probably have enjoyed reading our new Igloo Book Buzz selection, Howard Markel’s THE KELLOGGS: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek, published by Pantheon.  

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What inspired Markel, a doctor, professor, historian, and author, to write this book?  He said, “After finding a treasure trove of papers and other archival materials documenting the Kellogg brothers’ lives, I knew there was a remarkable story worth telling. This family saga was more than the story of the creation of corn flakes or a feud between brothers, it was a compelling and important tale of modern medicine, nutrition, industry and wellness in America.”   Vicky Wilson, who edited the book, said, “The story of the Kellogg Brothers is a great American saga of know-how, instinct, curiosity, invention and determination.  It’s the building of a vast industry that changed how America lived and ate for more than seven decades, from post-Civil-War America, through the gilded age up to the Second World War.  It’s a kind of Magnificent Ambersons, mid-western American saga that gives us a changing world in the heart of the industrial age.” [caption id="attachment_7390" align="alignright" width="199"] Howard Markel
Credit: Joyce Ravid[/caption] THE KELLOGGS has garnered much praise from media outlets as well as authors: “A tale of grit, controversy, faith and the emergence of the ‘wellness’ movement. In the hands of Markel, a trained historian, physician, seasoned writer and chronicler of America, this tale comes alive. A fabulous read.” —Abraham Verghese, author of CUTTING FOR STONE “Howard Markel’s riveting, deeply researched new book covers vast territory: the saga of the squabbling Kellogg brothers (“magnificent showmen, resolute empire builders, and unwavering visionaries”), their mass-branding of breakfast cereals, their concept of ‘wellness,’ and their enormous influence on the diet of millions of Americans.  This book arrives at a pivotal moment in our own history when mass-marketing, showmanship, and the media deserve particularly deep study.  Markel’s incandescent scholarship and his incisive analysis shine through this book.  THE KELLOGGS can certainly be read as a biography of two visionaries (and their extended families), but it also deserves to be read as a case study by generations of future readers.” — Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize -winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer “This incredible story by itself would be sufficient for a book. Markel, however, goes much further . . .an engrossing adventure about the rise of Midwest America from the pioneering days of the Kellogg family to World War II with all of its failures and successes. Medicine, breakfast foods, and the Seventh Day Adventist Church are part of the story.” — Robert S. Davis, New York Journal of Books