— David Walton, The Dallas News
“The story of an epic lifelong feud between the Kellogg brothers is a compelling yarn and a fascinating window into the genesis of both modern medicine and management . . . a vivid portrait of the brothers and their era.”
— Jonathan A. Knee, The New York Times “DealBook” column
“Markel does an extraordinary job covering the many complex dimensions of this story . . . a rich and satisfying account of the lives, work and enmity of two warring brothers and of a pivotal epoch in American history.”
— Katherine A. Powers, Newsday
— Michael Upchurch, Chicago Tribune
The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel (Pantheon)
An insightful and entertaining dual biography of the battling Battle Creek boys. A revealing window into America as it evolved from the Civil War to World War II.
— The National Book Review
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 , NY Journal of Books
Howard Markel discusses his book about the dueling Kellogg brothers
Reaching for a box of corn flakes is hardly the most exciting way to start the day. But behind those simple, crispy flakes is a complex story. When it was introduced more than a century ago, breakfast cereal was a full-blown phenomenon that changed America’s notions of health and wellness, and helped usher in a new era of processed foods. It was also the product of a long-standing family rivalry.
Howard Markel, best-selling author, physician, and medical historian who teaches at the University of Michigan, tells the intriguing story behind breakfast cereal and the men who created it in a sweeping new book “The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek.” Markel chronicles the contentious relationship between Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his younger brother Will Keith Kellogg. The brothers shared enormous success, but were often at odds and engaged in legal battles. After founding the Battle Creek Sanitarium in 1876, John Harvey Kellogg became the country’s most high-profile physician. Will Kellogg ran the business . . . then commercialized the brothers’ cereal recipes and became one of the era’s great industrialists.
— The Boston Globe
The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel, Pantheon, 544 pages, Hardcover, August 2017, ISBN 9780307907271
“A brilliant (and big!) new biography of the two brothers, The Kelloggs. . .There’s no better midsummer’s read, in my mind, than a biography or narrative big enough to act as a doorstop. The Kelloggs offers even more. I haven’t even been able to scratch the surface of it all here. One could devote an entire review to the large swaths of the book on Kellogg’s, the company, alone—which I may have done had I not written so many words before that tale begins, on page 236! The Kelloggs is a brilliant biography, a medical and industrial (even natural and environmental) history, a great lesson in entrepreneurship, leadership, and management, and a great family drama all rolled into one.”
— Editor’s Choice, Dylan Schleicher, 800ceoread
“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
“In this illuminating account, medical historian Markel chronicles the long-running animosity between Michigan brothers John and Will Kellogg, “the Cain and Abel of America’s heartland” . . . Readers will never look at corn flakes or Post Toasties (created by C.W. Post, who stole the Kelloggs’ recipes) in quite the same way again.”
“A turbulent tale . . . Markel’s amazing amalgamation of biography and history, covering the pursuit of health in late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America, industrialism, and the invention of cold cereals is adorned with fetching photographs and illustrations. Sibling rivalry has rarely been so dastardly and delectable.”
— Tony Miksanek, Booklist (starred review)
“The story of the Kellogg Brothers is the story of innovation, of determination, and the creation of a giant industry as American business came of age just prior to the Second World War. It is 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
“Delightful . . . Markel refreshingly resists the temptation—not resisted by films and novels—to deliver caricatures . . . A superb warts-and-all account of two men whose lives help illuminate the rise of health promotion and the modern food industry.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A rollicking tale of family intrigue and inventiveness. This full exegesis of the Kelloggs’ unseemly personalities makes for a riveting read.”
— Andrew Solomon, author of Far and Away
“Howard Markel’s The Kelloggs recounts the incredible exploits of the Kellogg Brothers—John and Will—who turned nineteenth-century medicine upside down for the better. Markel does a marvelous job recounting the birth of the Kellogg cereal empire and the Battle Creek sanitarium. An amazing American story!”
— Douglas Brinkley, author of Rightful Heritage
— Molly MCardle, ExtraCrispy.com