The style of this book is mostly narrative. Schlosser begins his "tale" with the tale of Carl Karcher, the founder of Carl's Jr. hamburger chain, and a pioneer of fast food. As he tells Carl's story, he integrates the story of American in the mid-1900's, allowing his narrative to slip into a more academic style in the recitation of history. Notice the difference between these passages, one focusing on Carl's narrative and the other on American history:
Carl was born in 1917 on a farm near Sandusky, Ohio. His father was a sharecropper who moved the family to new land every few years. The Karchers were German-American, industrious, and devoutly Catholic. Carl had six brothers and a sister. "The harder you work," their father always told them, "the luckier you become."
The automobile offered drivers a feeling of independence and control. Daily travel was freed from the hassles of rails schedules, the needs of other passengers, and the location of trolley stops.
The use of the casual narrative draws the reader in and puts a human face on the history of fast food. The more scholarly paragraphs provide both the needed history and the formal tone that adds to the credibility of the author's account.