I suppose I’d say this book offers what the title promises. It’s a well-researched and consummately written account of how Sam’s empire emerged in concert with the transforming identities of (some) US Christian doctrine and the transformations of the service economy throughout the post-war years. This is about how the “Wal-Mart Country” of the Ozarks went from a provincial/rural rejection of the emerging chain-store epidemic to the host of the world’s greatest chain. Something like that.I suppose I’d say that this has much of interest. This probably an important book that certainly offers a unique reading of Wal-Mart’s evolution; a reading that encompasses innumerable aspects – local and global - beyond the typical issues often attributed the retailer’s “effect.” It’s also a bit dull if you’re seeking a critical account of the mega-retailer or “free enterprise” or religious universities or whatever. If Moreton offers any critical dimension, it’s definitely below the radar (or way over my head, as the case may be) and, while that’s a respectable scholarly approach, my anti-Wal-Mart leanings leave me wanting more. Perhaps I simply require spectacle or muckraking to hold my interest at this point. At the very least this lacks the snarkiness implied by the rather goof-ball, photoshopped cover image splicing aisle nine with the firmament.At the very most this comes off a bit like some kind of apologia for the massive company’s machinations. If Moreton shows any bias, it seems directed towards Wal-Mart’s good deeds: the rescue of intelligent Guatemalan teens from a life of guaranteed poverty aided by the US government; the rescuing of hapless Katrina victims from the incompetence of FEMA; the bestowal of good old consumer choice upon previously ignored Mexican nationals. Beyond mention of the “Made in the U.S.A” propaganda as more “style than substance,” she seems to gloss over anything that might be construed as negative. This may be refreshing in light of all the other anti-big box exposés, but my cynical disposition left me wondering if this book might actually represent a most sophisticated marketing ploy! Has the Home Office managed to infiltrate the scholarship of a major university (and the Harvard University Press)?!? Crazier things have happened. As I’ve witnessed years of inane TV ads, obviously conceived by an uncreative store associate, I’m not going to read that much into it. But if a typical hard-core Women’s Studies academic could muster up a Wal-Mart cheer, it might sound a lot like this.