Books by Douglas Collins

Released: Dec. 1, 1994

Your brain could condense itself down to the size of a bouillon cube trying to grasp the significance of a Campbell's Soup can. Adding a can of water to your head is not likely to help. Is it the symbol of American know-how and the mass production of maternal warmth? The promise of relief from flu symptoms? Or is it the object of Andy Warhol's enigmatic sneer? Actually, the confusion offers a peculiar delight: There's a certain primitive pleasure to be had in literally eating our symbols. Collins (The Story of Kodak, not reviewed) offers a fairly straight corporate history of the Campbell Soup Company whose tone can be summed up by the name of a Pepperidge Farm Cookbook recipe that's included here: ``Standard White Bread.'' But the photographs of Campbell's plants, including some dating to the late 19th century and others taken by Margaret Bourke-White, are engrossing. (And in case you're wondering, in making Franco-American spaghetti, they put the pasta in the can before the sauce). One thing is clear. The history of Campbell's is also the history of advertising, and this book liberally displays company storyboards and pitchmen through the years. Particularly amusing is a 1951 ad in the form of a comic strip titled ``How Ronald Reagan discovered V-8.'' (243 illustrations and photographs) Read full book review >