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Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture    by Taylor Clark order for
by Taylor Clark
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

A week or so ago, I went to the cafeteria at work for a cup of coffee. They serve both Starbucks brand coffee and their own (usually better-tasting and cheaper) stuff. I don't drink it often, but I gravitated towards the Starbucks that morning so I could have a shot of peppermint syrup and because they had Colombian, my favorite Starbucks brew. I had to laugh, though, at my cup, which read something like, 'Buying this coffee is helping small farmers get fair wages and live happily ever after.' Maybe not quite that, but you get the picture.

On a normal day, I wouldn't have batted an eye at it, but I was in the middle of reading Taylor Clark's fascinating Starbucked; and now I can't help but look at the company with a cynical eye. The book is split into two parts: in the first, Clark narrates the history of the company; in the second, he examines issues that have arisen from the conglomerate's world domination. The history section read almost like a novel, to the point where I couldn't put it down! While the issues section is more difficult to peruse, it gives light to some hot topics and Clark writes in a humorous way that keeps the book from reading like a school text. It's fairly obvious from the epilogue that Clark is not a fan of the cookie-cutter coffee shops that Starbucks produces, but he writes fairly and without bias throughout.

Any reader of nonfiction should snap this one up. Starbucked is very well written and will make you think a little more intelligently about where you next cup of coffee will come from!

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