Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (P.S.)

 
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Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. That's a lengthy list of charges, but Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.

Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from California's subdivisions, where the business was born, to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike, where many of fast food's flavors are concocted. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths -- from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate.



On any given day, one out of four Americans opts for a quick and cheap meal at a fast-food restaurant, without giving either its speed or its thriftiness a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems as American, and harmless, as apple pie. But the industry's drive for consolidation, homogenization, and speed has radically transformed America's diet, landscape, economy, and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways. Eric Schlosser, an award-winning journalist, opens his ambitious and ultimately devastating expos®¶ with an introduction to the iconoclasts and high school dropouts, such as Harlan Sanders and the McDonald brothers, who first applied the principles of a factory assembly line to a commercial kitchen. Quickly, however, he moves behind the counter with the overworked and underpaid teenage workers, onto the factory farms where the potatoes and beef are grown, and into the slaughterhouses run by giant meatpacking corporations. Schlosser wants you to know why those French fries taste so good (with a visit to the world's largest flavor company) and "what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns." Eater beware: forget your concerns about cholesterol, there is--literally--feces in your meat.

Schlosser's investigation reaches its frightening peak in the meatpacking plants as he reveals the almost complete lack of federal oversight of a seemingly lawless industry. His searing portrayal of the industry is disturbingly similar to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, written in 1906: nightmare working conditions, union busting, and unsanitary practices that introduce E. coli and other pathogens into restaurants, public schools, and homes. Almost as disturbing is his description of how the industry "both feeds and feeds off the young," insinuating itself into all aspects of children's lives, even the pages of their school books, while leaving them prone to obesity and disease. Fortunately, Schlosser offers some eminently practical remedies. "Eating in the United States should no longer be a form of high-risk behavior," he writes. Where to begin? Ask yourself, is the true cost of having it "your way" really worth it? --Lesley Reed

Customer Reviews:

  • Awesome!
    A fascinating, highly readable evisceration of the fast food industry. The book covers a lot of ground- nutrition, politics, economics, marketing, chemistry, industry, and the human cost as well- with cutting humor and vitriol. A terrific read and eye-opener....more info
  • One Fast Food National Under God ! ?
    The author offers reader a book behind the fast food industry which mushrooms around the county with their joints which the majority of working class rely on for their quick meals.

    His research on the growers, suppliers, processors, laborers, politics and health issue behind the smiling teenager order takers leads reader to the composition of the hamburger in blood, tears and sweat from thousands of cattle, handled by the chain of workers before going to your mouth. It also makes you wonder who is eating the steaks and leaving the "residue of fats, noses, ears, trims" grounded into a mixture enhanced with artificial favor - a virtue"100% beef".

    Does fast food industry cost you an arm and a leg? By eating the cheap fast food, we may pay a dear price for healthcare later!

    This book illustrates the Tao of food: good and bad, healthy and junk, natural and artificial, slow and fast, traditional and modern, real and illusion.

    Who program the population in acting "the allegiance to the flag of fast food industry, one fast food nation under God with franchises around 50 states in offering cheap hamburgers and freedom fries for all"?
    ...more info
  • the beginning de-omnivorization for me~Recommended~
    Perfectly disturbing only because its true! I rate it high, but like a book on the holocost, its hard to say I LIKED IT. I am definitely Recommending it though. A shocker and a sad eye opener. See also Morgan Spurlock's "Don't Eat This Book, Fast Food and the Supersizing of America."...more info
  • The best book I've read in 10 years
    Buy it, read it and learn from it. You won't be dissapointed. You also just might think twice before pulling up to that drive through window or investing in certain stocks.

    These companies have changed (more importantly, limited) your choices of what you can buy in the supermarket, how your neighbors are compensated, the level of refuse around your home and the safety and welfare of American workers. Take the book for what it's worth, but give it a chance and read it. A well written, well researched piece of writing that's worth well more than the sale price....more info
  • Corporatism at the worst
    In Eric Schlosser's first devastating book on the malpractices of the fast food industry, he pieces together history, facts, and numerous sources to reveal some disturbing truths about their nature.

    Fast Food Nation is less an expose` on how unhealthy junk food is than a look into the operations of the food industry, specifically McDonalds. The book is divided into two sections: the first, "The American Way," is concerned primarily with the growth and development of the fast food chains, beginning around the 40s in southern California and soon burgeoning into multiple restaurants across the US. Schlosser details the rise of the Speedee Service System, advertising techniques the emphasis on conformity by the chains, and their consolidation of power. The next section, "Meat and Potatoes," details various specifics about the machinations of the incredibly powerful fast food corporations. To the terrible conditions of workers in filthy (and dangerous) slaughterhouses, the employment of thousands of illegal immigrants in these buildings throughout the Midwest, and the diehard attempts by the corporations against possibilities of lawsuits by these workers after receiving any number of injuries. The companies further fight against the right to unionize.

    While Schlosser doesn't focus on the naturally unhealthy nature of fast food, he does describe the abundant diseases that can be found in the meat, such as E. coli O157:H7. The causes for these pathogens are the environments in the above-mentioned slaughterhouses, particularly the fact that feces often finds its way into the processed animals, or sick cattle are used along with healthy ones. Near the end of the book, fast food's spread around the globe and its effects on the societies of foreign nations are described. This and much more are brought up and examined by the determined author.

    As for the writing style, Schlosser has a great ability for scene setting, as in the first pages of the introduction where he describes the Cheyenne Mountain base, where it feels like it's some sort of sci-fi novel. This book never really drags, although in the epilogue his writing abruptly seems to become more lackluster. Other than that and repeating E. coli O157:H7 one too many times, this book can be a useful weapon against the fast food empire. I still plan to eat McDonalds, but I'll definitely be thinking more when I bite into one of their products.


    A note: many people will likely believe this book to be biased against the Republican party. But the fact is that recently the conservatives have all to often aided the corporations in their power grabs and take over of rivals. The Republicans are always accusing the Democrats of striking down competition in the free market, but it should be blatantly obvious that by buying off their other powerful competitors the corporations suppress any "free market" activity.




    ...more info
  • Disappointing
    I'm a vegetarian who doesn't eat at fast-food restaurants. I thought this book was going to be an interesting expose of the fast-food industry. Instead, it was a series of meandering stories that weren't all that compelling. I got about halfway through the book and realized there was really no point in finishing it.

    I noticed that whenever someone was portayed negatively, the word "Republican" invariably cropped up. When one meatpacking company owner became less sympathetic to workers, Schlosser goes out of his way to let the reader know that he went from being a liberal Democrat to a conservative Republican.

    It's this kind of political posturing (Schlosser is obviously a liberal Democrat who can't keep his disdain for Republicans out of his writing), along with the fact that Schlosser just isn't that good of a writer, that helps to sink this book.

    I kept wondering when I was going to learn something interesting that wasn't obvious. All I learned was what I already knew. Fast-food is a giant industry that pays teenagers low wages and uses a lot of potatoes from giant agribusiness companies and beef from giant cattle companies. Oh yeah, and they use flavorings from companies in New Jersey.

    Stop the presses....more info
  • I'm so glad I read this book!
    This book is a required reading for my college composition class and I picked it up and have not been able to put it down!

    Amazing insight into all the people behind the majority of our leading fast food restaurants, as well as Walt Disney!

    A must read for anyone interested in knowing more about the world we eat in. "Fast Food" a great book to get!...more info
  • If you've ever eaten a hamburger and can read, then you shouldn't go another day without reading this book.
    This book a little difficult to read in the first chapters as they tend to remind me of old text books from highschool filled with history and facts that don't seem to affect me, but I trudged on. I'm very grateful that I did. Once you begin to realize how these mundane somewhat trivial facts begin to turn into corporate deception, lack of humanity and a threat to our very way of life, your eyes will open and you'll begin to understand the need for everyone to be made aware of these atrocities against Americans and other cultures around the world. We spend our days backseat driving our politicians and football players while something we take for granted is quietly taking control of our diet and stealing our health from us while we pay them to do it.

    If you have ever eaten a hamburger or a french fry and you can read, you shouldn't go another day of your life with blinders on. READ THIS BOOK. It may save your life and the lives of your grandchildren someday....more info
  • A Fine Social Thriller.
    Fast Food Nation is a fine "Social Thriller" bringing you to the edge of your seat right from beginning till the end.
    If "Erin Brockowich" is for P&G, then "Fast Food Nation" is for MacDonald's.Author has not spared a single stone unturned to make this book an "encyclopedia" of fast food "facts"( read evils)

    Going right into the production of raw materials,beef, french fries, potato farms, cattle feeds, workers apathy, production plants overseas, rules,legalities, food poisoning etc, Author has managed to bring the complete loop or lifecycle into this 300 pages "encyclopedia".Author has to commended for the way he has presented the topic to be an interesting reading and not a dull thesis.

    And as a reader , I respectfully disagree with the author on the following areas :

    Authors blatant attack on the low paid jobs - It is true that pay scales in fast food joints are going down, but we need to understand that fast food joints have created enormous amount of "low quality-high quantity"jobs that helps the economy. Do not expect any industry (even the government) to hire millions of employees even on short term contracts with zero to no skills at close proximity to employees homes at hours that are flexible. In fact America is called a "service economy" and a service economy is mostly nothing more than flipping burgers .

    So many people read the book for sheer one reason:
    How does it affect me and my children ?-

    And that would have meant atleast some comparison to restaurent jobs, restaurant cleanliness etc outside the fast food world. This would probably have given the reader a more balanced view of the food industry as a whole( contrary to all "burger kings and MacDonald's are villains).

    Author also fails to emphazise the bigger picture of the fact that "fast food" industries are an evolution of the "modern couch potato American" , "working moms", "single parent" culture. It was not the sheer marketing genius of MacDonald's that made it what it is today.Fortunately or unfortunately MacDonald ( and others )are adding value to the society by filling up a "dangerous need" in the society. "Low cost food" - fast and easy.

    And the worst of all, the same need is getting slowly created in societies like India and China.

    Read this book -
    If you have a family
    If you frequently grab a quick lunch at McDonald's
    If you or ur friends have tried Lipitor and other weight loss medications
    Read it - even if you read only fiction books!.It is about YOU AND YOUR LIFE.

    One of the finest books that I have read in recent times on social themes. I always wondered this book has every quality to be a 'movie' and yes, it did become a movie. If you are averse to reading, watch the movie. For me , I enjoyed the literary richness of the book ,analysis and the content of the book
    ...more info
  • interesting
    very interesting and informal you learn so much about the meat industry and chains like mc donalds etc. ...more info
  • Everyone should read this book
    Fascinating book that delves deeply into how that hamburger, potato chip or cookie made its way into your home and stomach. These are things most of us have wondered about, but never really knew or cared why. A section of the book is dedicated to how that cookie or barbeque sauce got its flavor in a labratory and helps explain those long list of weird ingredients we never really understood or wanted to know about. That is all there really is to say about this book. If you want to know where all those items on your supermarket shelf and fast food restaraunts came from, read it. If you have any sort of conscience and would rather not know and enjoy the foods you eat, run away. If you are one of the many overweight Americans, this might give you some insight as to why your diet is a problem. This was made into a movie, that summarized the book, but left out tons of things as most movies do. Watching the movie would give you a very basic idea of what to expect.

    While this paragraph does not cover the book review a real lot, I want to pass on how it has changed my life; I was overweight due to fast foods, crappy snacks, soda and inactivity. I thought drinking Vitamin Water was healthy. I dont know if could eat fast food anymore knowing the suffering that went into a 1 dollar hamburger. Ok, I might on a rare occasion, but the book even mentions that these fast food restaurants are really designed for a 1-2 times a week visit from the executives of these companies. For 2 weeks now I went to mostly organic foods, fruit and vegetables, water and less bread. I have had filet mignon and meatloaf 1 time each. Its not hard with a little effort. I exercised with a treadmill and video. I lost 10 pounds from 203 to 193 at 5' 10" and 43 years old.

    I would like to thank the author for changing my life, which was no easy feat to accomplish....more info
  • The hard truth.
    If you eat fast food, you need to read this book to understand what you're really putting into your body. Even if you don't eat fast food, this is an important read for the sake of understanding how the fast food industry has changed what we are as a country, and what we're becoming. It is a remarkable reality check....more info
  • Well-researched eye-opener
    What got me interested in this book was of course, the cover. I was a "Mickey D's" kid back in the 80s and this book addresses just that. All that I am now was explained in this book and it really opened my eyes to the atrocities that happen in the factories that supply our food in America. From illegal immigrants bringing disease into the slaughterhouses, to the diseases the slaughterhouses themselves cause, this book outlines every disgusting process that is practiced to this day. Because of this, I have learned to ditch fast food altogether, not just because I was appalled at where these corporations get our food from, but because I could see that our entire country is dependent on these corporations and unnecessarily so. I think this book should be recommended reading at the high school level, as the author talks about how fast food preys upon teenagers not only because the food is cheap but because fast food jobs are always available to the young and especially the uneducated. This book will change your opinion, and if not that, will definitely make you think twice about our food sources and how the United States of America is currently operating....more info
  • A thought provoking read. Definite muckraking, but possibly life changing.
    I've taught FFN a few times, sometimes switching it out with Cadillac Desert. FFN has a lot of information, most of which may be new to readers. It has become an industry of its own, and since Morgan Spurlock's Supersize Me, more people have become aware of these issues. While Supersize me is a rock 'n roll, fast-paced, in-your-face romp through issues of nutrition, Schlosser's book is a much more thoroughly researched and encyclopedic take on all aspects of fast food, from the agricultural practices that support fast food, to the nutrition, to the advertising, to the impacts on children (obesity and brainwashing), to the impact on the landscape and architecture, to the globalization of the American lifestyle. It is an easier read that it may seem from this review because most all of the references are in end notes, so his research never gets in the way of the story. This is good and bad. It makes it an easy read, but it makes it hard to evaluate his copious research. As an academic, I do have bones to pick with some of his sources, but these are relatively few, and I have a few more sources I would suggest in support.

    If anyone is thinking it, the book is not a novelization of the film. The film is a fictionalized narrative based on the research in this book. An interesting note is that the slaughterhouse scenes in the film were taken in an actual slaughterhouse, in Mexico, if I remember correctly. ...more info
  • What! It's about policies, not food?
    I took a long time to finish reading this book. As a nutrition major in college, I really wanted to know what was wrong with fast food from an objective point of view. As expected, the book takes you through many turns that will surprise you. Many facets of the fast food industry started off in a humble, quiet sort of way. But when growth started coming, at exponential levels, fast food wasn't really about food any longer. It was just about public policy and business. McDonald's started the entire idea about marketing products to kids. Why? McDonald's and Disney were good friends. And did you know that Subway's main goal is to open as many chains across the globe as they possibly can?

    I truly learned a lot of things about the fast food industry, the most poignant probably being the hidden events in the meat processing plants, with many illegal workers getting injured and even killed, and not being accounted for simply because they were never on the radar.

    My hangup with the book though, is that it is a little too heavy on the statistical figures. It just made the book a little choppy and difficult to read much of in one sitting; besides, statistical figures are constantly changing, so by now even those figures reported are probably out of date.

    But I have to say how glad I am for reading this book. It surely gives one a better reason to avoid fast food than simply avoiding carbs and fat....more info
  • Very Informative
    I bought this book for an English 100 class I am currently taking. What I have read so far has been very informative and makes me realize the devastating consequences eating fast food can do to one's body. I recommend that all parents read this book to finicky eaters to get them on the right track. I pretty sure most will be disgusted to know that what flavors are being tasted are actually genetically modified in a lab. ...more info
  • Great Read
    I read this book before the movie, heard about it from a co-worker. Some of the facts you may already know or heard about, but there are some things in the book that I was not aware of.
    Didn't really make me swear off meat, but I do try to limit my consumption of beef whenever I can help it....more info
  • Would you like fries with that?
    "We think fast food is equivalent to pornography, nutritionally speaking." ~Steve Elbert

    I have avoided reading this book simply because sometimes I prefer not to know some things. I like meat. I am a carnivorian, but I don't necessarily want to know what's going on in the slaughterhouses. I prefer ignorance. My curiousity finally got the best of me.

    The book focuses on the following main points (among others):
    - A history of how hamburgers and fries became the quintessential meal in the 50s
    - A history of how some of our major fast food chains started
    - The globalization of fast food
    - The marketing bombardment of fast food on children (an utter success with my kids)
    - The poor working conditions and low pay in the restaurants and slaughterhouses (not pretty)
    - The dangers of working in a slaughterhouse (read with an empty stomach)
    - The disappearing American farmer
    - The rise in foodborne illnesses
    - Mad cow disease (I am naive, I didn't realize that they fed cows dead pigs, cows, horses, cats, dogs, etc.)
    - The unfortunate power of the lobbyists in the meatpacking and fast food industries that keep their thumb on our government when it comes to health and safety issues

    I enjoyed the book and am happy to be more educated on some of the issues, although sometimes you have to take some of the facts presented with a grain of salt. There are always two sides to a story. I wish I could say I wouldn't go to a fast food restaurant again (not a fan) but my kids seem to have a lot of pull with me. Plus I am a sucker for a Chicken Bacon Swiss sandwich at Carl's Jr...

    Here are just a few of the facts/statistics that I found interesting:
    - Americans spent $6 billion on fast food in 1970. We spent $110 billion in 2001
    - Americans spend more money on fast food than on higher education, computers, software, or new cars
    - Americans spend more money on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music combined
    - McDonalds is the nation's largest purchaser of beef, pork, and potatoes, and the second largest purchaser of chicken
    - An estimated 1 out of 8 workers in the U.S. has worked at McDonalds (not me)
    - Americans drink soda at an annual rate of 56 gallons per person-600 12 oz. cans (yikes)
    - A medium Coke selling for $1.29 contains only 9 cents of syrup (rip off and getting worse all the time-whatever happened to the 50 cent 32 ouncers I bought at Woods gas station?)
    - 1/4 of American children between 2 and 5 have a TV in their bedroom (why?)
    - Every month about 90% of American children between 3 and 9 visit a McDonalds...more info
  • Very grateful to have been encouraged to read this book
    I was at a school-related conference (I work for a school district) and one part of it was led by a dietician. Her part lasted less than 30 minutes but during her discussion, she told the group to read this book if we wanted the real picture of how bad fast food is for children and the general public. She had shared some information that was very disturbing to me during her discussion so I was very curious about the book and went and bought it. The book is so thorough and clear (and disturbing) that I could not stop reading it. Every chapter contains information that I see as literally life-saving information. From reading it, I have realized that I personally have put way too much faith in the restaurants where I eat and also feel very naive that I have trusted the government to keep consumers safe. The book has totally changed my view of eating out and also buying meat at the grocery store. I will definitely be more cautious when doing both of these things....more info
  • Very informative-great for anti-christian liberals
    I will admit, I learned a lot from this book and so glad that my family is already eating a vegan whole food high raw lifestyle. I am appalled at a lot of this as I know from working in fast food restaurants in the 80's that much of this is true. I worked at A&W where lots of drug smuggling was going on and the place was finally shut down...Burger King and all the teens working there...we stayed up late hours working many dangerous jobs.

    I don't understand why so many immigrants are allowed to work in these places. I feel sorry for these people and the big wigs should be ashamed for treating anyone this way. It takes things into a new level. It isn't even about the poor animals anymore...it's the poor people as well!

    The middle of the book begins to change into the authors own agenda about Republicans that really ticks me off. Don't believe that for one minute. He needs to keep his views to himself and stick to the subject of his book.

    This book was not what I expected, but very very good nonetheless besides all the right wing Republican bashing. I also didn't appreciate a lot of the 'church suppers' being blamed for the majority of E-Coli. That is a load. I take it the writer is a left wing anti-christian/church person.

    I am giving it a 4 because everyone needs to know what is going on in the industry but a I don't like his own anti-church, anti-Republican rhetoric.

    ...more info
  • Wake up and smell the fries, or otherwise
    First of all, it's not just about fries. This is about American history and how we became so obese craving for those golden brown yummy fries and other delicious fast food for that matter. It's about how some companies made fortune while naive consumers are being suckered into the habit. If you ever watched 'Supersize Me,' this book is far better and lot more in depth. I learned a lot about what happends in fast food and meet packing industry. Impact to American society is simply phenomenal. If you can sue tobacco industry (mind you I am not a smoker), let's go take on fast food, high calorie drinks, salty packaged foods. I believe the next in order is FDA since it authorized food manufactures to put 10 teaspoons of sugar in every can of beverages. The book also talks about meat packing industry and it's workers. It helps you to look at how American business runs in general. If you like steaks, please take caution. I lost my appetite on red meat for two weeks after reading this book. This book is great page turner and it certainly can widen your perspective on those yummy fries we enjoy so much....more info
  • A shocking look at how fast food has impacted our culture and nation
    It's unnerving how a few mega billion dollar corporations can control the food supply in this country. I was shocked by the dehumanizing conditions in the slaughter houses and the negative impact they have on the environment.
    I can tell that the author has never experienced the working end of a grill spatula by how clueless he is to the business end of the industry, the people who are in the trenches. What manager has read I'm OK you're OK a book written in the 70's, please. Managers "stroke" their employees because of the age old adage, ya' catch more flies with sugar than vinegar. He's nailed the franchisees right on the head as far as never trusting the people who work for you.
    As far as the McLibel case goes, they had a good point with the marketing of fast food directed at kids, a whole generation has grown up who think the only side dish is fries. The people who brought the case against Mickey D's were way too whiney, I'm sure they wouldn't last a minute over a hot grill during lunch rush, what qualiifies to talk about the working conditions in fast food resturants.
    A must read for the poor bastards, like myself, who are in the industry and people who really are concerned about what they eat....more info
  • Food for thought
    Schlosser attempts to explain the food industry: its origins, its workers, the supply of meat and potatoes and how these all have changed over the years. While I had already heard about the food side, I was surprised at how much time was spent covering the worker injuries and treatment both in the fast food franchises and in slaughterhouses. I did appreciate the whole picture approach and would recommend the book. However, there are at least 2 drawback that I can see.
    Although there are many statistics, the book is very anecdotal. It is very negative towards politics and especially republicans, but then relies on legislation and increased government for solutions....more info
  • If I tried to submit this as a dissertation...
    ... I should hope they wouldn't let me pass -- that is, until I removed the sensational, isolated-case examples, the sneering defamation, the outright deception... See p. 125 "typical strawberry shake" ingredients, cf. Fenaroli's Handbook and the actual ingredients of a McDonald's shake -- nothing you don't already consume regularly in many other foods, including "organics" and public water (you can look up the "chemicals" yourself).

    Far be it from me to defend fast food or take up any other sort of bandwagon cause. Do this: go to two or three local McDonald's, find out where their supply trucks come from, trace them back to the distributors and processing contractors. In my case, it's Keystone Foods, LLC, in PA. A rather anti-climatic trip when I all I could find were shiny facilities and scarcely a bloody hand.

    Or buy a few hamburgers, take them to your local university chemistry lab for analysis. This is a completely un-exciting exercise with un-sensational results. It's beef like you'd buy at the supermarket, from slaughtered animals, as animals have been slaughtered for millennia -- flesh torn from bone with sharp stones, hacking some bone, some extraneous other stuff in there.

    Of course maybe you live in that scary composite land where every bad thing that ever happened anywhere happens there on a regular basis. I want to visit this place. It's so dull around here.

    Sinclair did Schlosser's work already, before generations of journalists like Schlosser discovered they too could weave facts and visions of moral superiority (with a lot of selective economic ignorance) into gold. Mm, well maybe that's my moral superiority peeping through.

    Anyway, I'm glad my professors make a distinction between research and sensational data collection. ...more info
  • A real page-turner, especially if you like horror stories
    Couldn't put it down, especially after the visual amplification provided via the film version. I did yawn a few times through some of the more scientific or redundant passages. Which meant little, relative to the importance of this document. I understand the reviewer who said the overall effect can be depression/feeling completely daunted. Yet after reading this I went vegetarian(after being partly, and boycotting McDonalds, etc., for years). I experienced an unforgettable turning point. There's no way I can forget the long-term, global repercussions of supporting any restaurant or store engaging in/supporting/profiting from these practices, and I certainly don't want to subject my body to the results. I already knew some of what Schlosser reveals, and he reveals more truth than anyone wants to know. And, btw, I've always felt Ronald McDonald was a sinister figure whose effect is partly to intimidate children into compliance (think of the Simpsons episode where Bart cries, "Can't sleep - clown'll eat me!"). The film, Supersize Me! and the book, "Diet for a Gentle World" are good adjuncts. ...more info
  • We, the customers, are considered the enemies of the corporations...
    Copying Hitler's politics of solving the problem of unemployment with the construction of highways, the US did the same after the second world war. That's how the fast food nation emerged, providing food for the hurried car driver who has "no time to lose". Fast food became the new form of eating. Norbert Elias once thought that eating with cutlery was a proof of civilization. Welcome back to the past. As everybody knows fast food is eaten without tableware - per definition. This way there is no need for washing-up. Everything is thrown away : the paper used to pack the hamburger, the French fries bowl, the plastic cup... The American Way of Life. Fukuyama once thought of it as the "End of History"...

    Fast food isn't good for your health. That's clear for most people. But have you ever wondered why fast food tastes so good ? It's weird, since fast food is made with deep frozen products as prime material. How does McDonald's manage to produce something tasty then ? The secret is in the added flavors. Not only McDonald's is to blame. You'll find those added flavors in anything you find on the shelves of a supermarket : soft drinks, marshmallow, popcorn, chips, snacks, ice cream, cookies, granola, bread, beer, ice tea, soya drinks, energy drinks, and even "100 % natural" fruit juices. Without those added flavors, nobody would buy this junk, let alone eat or drink it.

    Another problem pointed out by the author is that our food chain is becoming more and more integrated in bigger and bigger corporations. Cargill is proud to say : "It's probably a rare day when you don't eat something that was originated, transported, processed or even packaged by Cargill." However, what's good for Cargill is not good for us, poor consumers. They don't only produce unhealthy food, they also impose the price they will charge for it. Now and then, something leaks. ADM made some price agreements with a Japanese "competitor" that was secretly recorded, in which the president of Archer Daniels Midland preached the virtues of collaboration. 'We have a saying at this company,' he said. 'Our competitors are our friends, and our customers are our enemies.'

    Now, if the corporations think of us as their enemies, maybe it's time to fight back. Maybe it's time to boycott them. It will be good for your health, it will be good for your wallet, it's good for the environment, and it will be of great help to any organic farmer living in your neighborhood. This farmer will probably treat you nice, delivering you tasty food produced without pesticides nor preservatives, earning money in an honest way. Try it.
    ...more info
  • The true world of Fast Food opens before your eyes!
    This book is truly interesting in that it explains a process that many consumers thought that they were already familiar with.

    This book will explain why:

    1) it always seems the person at the register is being "trained".

    2) children flock to most fast food joints.

    3) the fast food industry exploded with growth in the last 30 years.

    4) This country needs an alternative to our current and growing feeding trends!...more info
  • Fast Food Nation
    Possibly my favorite nonfiction work of all time. Fast Food Nation is full of facts but reads like a novel. Scholosser is similar to John McFee or Bill Bryson in that while talking about facts, studies and statistic, he can so engross you with what he's discussing that you never notice you're learning something. Fast Food Nation is a more academic, though again highly readable, version of Morgan Spurlock's "Don't Eat this Book" or his film "Supersize Me." However while Spurlock targets McDonalds specifically and focuses on the health issues which arise in that restaurants frequent patrons, Scholosser takes a more objective, though similarly disturbing, look at "Big Food" in it's entirety. The book covers a number of diverse issues beneath the big food umbrella such as marketing to children, treatment of employees, customer loyalty, chain histories, founder philosophy and much more. The author does a good job at giving you just the right amount of required background information and interesting side facts to keep the book flowing and, like the best expos®¶s, leaves you with a feeling of having formed an opinion on your own based on piled evidence and not simply through sheer force of the author's persistent will. ...more info
  • Mildly Interesting but Intellectually Weak
    I am going to write an unfavorable review of the premise of this book, but let me first state that I am in Schlosser's camp in that the proliferation of fast food in the US (and world) is unfortunate.

    To Schlosser's credit, he does have an impressive list of interviews with various players along the fast food supply chain. The strength of this book is twofold: One, he provides a good history of how fast food was born, and how it proliferated throughout a generation. Two, because of his discussion, he does provide a number of interesting anecdotes one would not hear unless reading the book. Despite the impressive list of interviews, the sources come from the tails of their distribution - they are inevitably people who are not representative of their entity. Throughout the book, Schlosser makes the embarrassing error of trying to map what happens at the extreme to what happens to the average consumer/producer/employee. The fact of the matter is that with almost anything, there exist inherent tradeoffs. Schlosser continually tries to tell a story through these extreme aberrations. Again: I personally am opposed to those things Schlosser is, but I understand there is a counter story to my personal claims. Schlosser does not even acknowledge the existence of the other side.

    Schlosser also tries to politicize much of the book - he comes off as a populist. In what is becoming an all too common mistake in discourse today, he thinks that everything reduces to right/left without arguing why. This pigeonholing substantially dilutes his credibility in my opinion.

    In Schlosser's world he would heavily regulate the industry. He makes a few thought-provoking points regarding lax regulation that I agree with for the most part. That said, he is stands in staunch opposition to anything remotely regarding the free market with respect to breaking up the industry. He makes this claim copious times without one iota of rigor or fact... as an economist, I cannot even begin to describe how frustrating this is. His world is too discrete in thinking government regulation is the proverbial magical wand.

    Overall the book offers a few interesting stories and some history which primarily composes the first half. The second half lack an intellectual foundation and is too discrete to merit any serious thought.

    ...more info
  • A must read before you order your next fast food burger
    "Fast Food Nation" is well-written, well-researched, and applicable to more than just the food we order and eat today. It provides a secondary hypothesis (against the backdrop of the urban sprawl of Colorado Springs) explaining reasons cities developed in the 20th century the way they did - as driven by fast food development along with the supply chain organizations supporting it.
    The book maintains a constant theme with enough twists and human interest added to keep the reader engaged. It covers a variety of related topics within the subject that help support the thesis. Anyone who has eaten at a fast food restaurant (especially in the inner city) can relate to "Fast Food Nation."
    The book presents a doomsday scenario which may not be too far off of the mark (and is addressed by the author in a new afterward in the paperback version addressing Mad Cow Disease). The logic Schlosser uses throughout the book highlights some significant problems with the industry, many of which must be addressed to turn the industry, and supporting supply chain industries, around. He provides some suggestions about what needs to happen to make those changes.
    It's hard to believe that the industry can be so rife with dangers and apathy from within, but Schlosser's research and well-positioned arguments make his theories and observations hard to refute. ...more info
  • It's Very Hard for me to Eat Meat or Processed Food Now.
    I read this book a few years ago. I found the book eye-opening and the information amazing. The facts I learned still stick to me like a chronic case of heart-burn. I guarantee that if you read this book you will never be able to look at food the same way again.

    I was sickened by the meat-packing injury. The way the animals are treated prior to slaughter is akin to torture. The meat-packers themselves, according to Schlosser, have the highest injury rate of any workers in the U.S. They are in a double bind, however. If they report the injury or claim Worker's Comp their jobs are in jeopardy. Others are illegal aliens who are not supposed to work in this country and are not able to claim any benefits if injured. This is beside the fact that many workers are killed on the job.

    Now, to chickens. I gag when I look at a chicken in the meat rack in a store after reading this book. All the additives, antibiotics, hormones, etc. are harmful to humans. Little girls are developing pubescent secondary sex characteristics at the age of 7 because of all the estrogens in the chickens. Besides this, the chickens are raised in filth and never get to see the light of day.

    I won't go on about veal and pork. I think you get the idea. I now eat organic. I try to eat 'Free Range', where animals get to roam a bit and get to see some sunlight in their lives. I think about the way an animal is killed before I put it in my mouth. I am not an animal activist but I am a breast cancer survivor. I know enough to know that this book scared the s..t out of me....more info
  • Well worth the money
    Interesting read. Nice history of fast food, I enjoyed the read. Mild review of slaughterhouses and how Macdonald changed things and how the government could not. Very sad indeed how america is run by corporations but then again if you didn't know that you're out of the loop....more info
  • The Lowdown
    We all hear about how fast food is "bad" for you and all that, but never much about the process behind it. This books gives a well documented and detailed account on how the industry started and the factors around it that transformed this industry into the beast that it is today. From the potatoes, to the beef and those that are exploited to produce the food that so commonly eaten by all, Schlosser delivers a great book loaded with insight into fast food and its influence on society - not just in America, but globally. A definite must read if you have ever had a french fry....more info
  • The Great Darkness!
    Fast Food Nation is for 21st century as The Jungle was for 20th century. I first read Eric Schlosser's book when I was a young college student as the book came out and found it an engrossing read. When as a kid, I used to love going to McDonald's and getting Happy Meals consisting of a hamburger, French fries, and a vanilla milkshake along with a special toy included. The love affair lasted until sixth grade when I started to get headaches all the time. One day, my doctor told me that drinking Coke and Pepsi caused them because of the caffeine (I was actually downing dozens of cans daily). Suddenly, I gave up sodas and stayed completely free of carbonated drinks since early 90s because I realized that what I put in my body affects my health. That's how I started to be health conscious and revamped how I ate and drank, so going out of the window was fast food. Over the years, the cleaner my body became, the easier I could taste the junk chemicals if I wished to indulge in sweets and unnatural foods. So, that's when I realized that there was something wrong with them, and my confirmations were met when I read Fast Food Nation. There is a lot of revealing details about how food is processed, how it makes people obese, how workers are treated like slaves, how towns after towns are tricked into footing the bill to pay for the wrongdoings committed by the companies, how those companies have absolute no loyalty except for profits, and how the immigration problem is created. Also, Eric Schlosser recreates the horrors of working in a meatpacking industry just like how Upton Sinclair did for his sensationally groundbreaking book. Although Schlosser tries to give some pointers in what people can do about the problem, there is really no easy solution except not to buy the products which is the most direct and the easiest way to show disapproval. That's exactly what I did for many years, keeping in mind of the company's disrepute. Then again, it's not always easy because I usually don't know the information since it's either they are usually hidden or there is a monopoly going on. Take chicken for example, I like eating chicken, but I can't really say that I know enough information on every brand the chicken is of; I just buy the chicken at cheapest price as possible as long as it looks as healthy as possible. I feel the same way when it comes to beef although I don't eat it very frequently. Having read Fast Food Nation for the second time, I can't help but wonder if things have changed now and if the malpractices of the companies have subsided or there are new regulations being put in to prevent further immoral favor of greed over safety. I guess that's the only warning to anyone who is interested in picking up Fast Food Nation for the first time as time passes on. Overall, it's a fascinating read with a lot of sadness. Just forget that crap film called Super Size Me and stick with the book....more info
  • Reads like a novel
    A very hard book to read, not because of the writing, but because of the content. Its like a modern day The Jungle. Wow! The book chunks sections of the fast food industry into narratives and stores that read like a novel, yet its non-fiction. An interesting concept and excellent delivery. I even knew some of the factories from when I worked in food distribution for Quiznos. ...more info
  • highest approval
    received the book quicker than expected. the book was in excellent condition. I highly recommend this seller...more info
  • This book will lead you to better health
    I am a little more than half way through the book but couldn't resist writing a review. It's packed with research and was written with 2 years of research as the author travels around to many places and investitages and meets up with people and some things are not even disclosed such as the customers of the food additives company that use them in their foods to enhance their taste and that's why Mc Donald's fries taste so good. It doesn't matter if you are a Republican or Democrat, American or Asian or other, low volume fast food eater or high one, this book will open your eyes. It has interesting historical information such as how Ronald McDonald character was chosen based on his physical appearance and the first choice being eliminated due to looking overweight. Anyway, I won't tell you, just will say that I have enjoyed this more than the best fiction book I have ever read and to the reviewer who says that overweight people will use this book to blame corporate and government America, I want to tell you that I was blind to a lot of things before reading this book and I don't blame anybody, only my naivete AND people who don't read this book will probably fall prey to the crookedness of the fast food industry. ...more info
  • Informative and Eye-Opening
    I read this book to become more familiar with the fast food industry which is so easy to choose these days. As a busy wife and mother, it is so much easier to drive through somewhere than to cook at home. But I knew that I needed to be informed about my choices and so I read this book. It was very informative, clear, easy to understand. Very blunt in describing the fast food situation. It gave me a good perspective to remember as I choose what my family will eat for dinner. It made the fast food choices not quite as tempting as I realized what I was consuming. A definite read. Better to make an informed choice about what we eat, than to blindly assume that the food we are sold is worth eating. ...more info
  • chicken lover
    The book was excellent. Some of the fast food history was a bit tedious, but would recommend. However, plan to give up burgers....more info
  • By the Author of Outstanding You
    Outstanding You: Discover, Design and Achieve Ultimate Fitness

    This book should be required reading at all American schools. The purpose behind this book is not to convert people to vegetarian/vegan diets, but instead to educate them about the disastrous state our food supply is in. Though I use this book for information to support my vegan/vegetarian diet, I found it incredibly detailed and thought provoking. Highly recommended for anyone seeking more information on where their food comes from.

    Ron Betta
    Author - Outstanding You...more info
  • Great book
    This is a very thought-provoking book on the topic of the fast food industry in the U.S. I'd highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject....more info
  • fast food nation is a must read
    Fast Food Nation
    My daughter recommended this book to me years ago. Since then I have loaned out the book several times and bought copies as gifts. I will never see fast food in the same way I used to again. Well written, informative and captivating. If you have children you take out to McDonalds-read this book!...more info
  • A Fascinating Expose
    Fast Food Nation is a book that will definitely make you think and equally give you something to talk about. The information gathered here is fascinating and only on rare occasion does it ever get preachy.

    I absolutely loved this book. Even the sections that presented content that was at points, difficult to swallow. The research done was absolutely exhaustive and the perspectives gathered, incredibly well rounded and diverse.

    "Fast Food is heavily marketed to children and prepared by people who are barely older than children. This is an industry that both feeds and feeds off the young."

    Schlosser is an excellent words smith that presents a history and perspective of the fast food industry with eloquence. The information is as captivating at times as it is repulsive at others.

    A must read for anyone interested in food in the slightest. And they way in which Schlosser's story builds is fantastic. Brick by brick, he bucks his way through the sordid details of reprehensible collection of industries that extend well beyond the fast food industry itself.

    ~m

    ...more info
  • THIS is your McWake Up Call
    I am still amazed at the lines I see in the lines of fast food restaurants as I drive past many of them. Obviously, this book still has a lot of minds to change. In retrospect, it may even be preaching to the choir. That certainly does not diminish the importance of some of the statements in this book.

    With over a thousand reviews, I trust that most of the reviews has already done an adequate job of reviewing the facts of this book. So I will make some general comments about the work. First even before this book, it would be ignorant to think healthy food comes from a fast food restaurant. By itself, any fried food is generally bad for you. Second, I was expecting the theme of this book to focus more on fast food establishments. Yet Schlosser's statements about the meat packing industry are staggering and frightening. I really do not have much of a desire to eat ground beef again. My third comment is more of a rhetorical question. How long will it be before the American public gets tired of the Republicans bending over backwards for business just because they continually stump for religion? The malaise of the American electorate frightens me.

    The people that need to read this book most are probably waiting in line at the drive thru as we speak. When Americans learn that Ronald McDonald's food is not healthy food, perhaps the obesity epidemic in this country will dissolve. At least it will be a good first step....more info
  • And you thought McDonalds was bad for you!
    You might think you know what this guy has to say, but rest assured that this book as full of surprises! It is also very interesting in a way that makes you read deep into the night.
    The book doesn't only cover what fast food is doing to our health and families, but also at how it is changing industries across the world. It contains a shocking section on how minorities are being exploited, especially in the US meat industry.

    It becomes more and more obvious how much research must have gone into the book, and it is refreshing, and maybe a little ironic, to see a product into which a lot of care and time was invested, especially in this fast-everything culture.

    I recommend this book wholeheartedly, because it is interesting, well-researched, well-written, relevant and good value for money.

    You'll never look at McDonalds the same way! ...more info
  • Corporate Evil Exposed
    It was astonishing to learn that the apparently inoffensive fast food industry is supposedly evil:

    Children were easily induced by marketing campaigns through characters and restaurant features with infantile appeal. What seems to be an innocent and fair approach, was intended in fact to create a consuming habit that could make one forever emotionally dependent. Even school environments were not left behind as this promoted a favorable environment to target youngsters. Problem is that money matters sometimes could talk louder and schools allowed corporate interests to prevail over the main purpose of a school: educate children properly.

    Meat packing and potatoes industries are quintessential examples of corporate practices to the max: exploratory and careless practices toward workers, who work too much even in the worst working conditions that are imaginable and get too little in return, subject to retaliation in case of dissatisfaction. Throughput and low cost is what matters, nothing else. Knowing that the meat we eat, the way it is produced, could easily be tainted with pathogens that may lead us to death just makes one wonder if it is still worth the risk, although sandwiches are made irresistibly delicious with a hand of the folks at the flavor industry, that have the ability to turn crap into the most tasteful piece of food ever.

    Fast Food Nation unveils the mystery that maintains a chain of both fast food restaurants and related industries well and alive with our precious and honest aid. Despite of the title and regardless of whether the history is true or not, the main purpose of the book is focused on criticizing the corporate practices that can be in every business (not only fast food), promoting easy money returns and poor consideration to the human being. ...more info
  • Not a good experience....
    Not going well at all, have not received the book, and have not heard back from the sell on where it is or if and when I will receive it.

    Ordered the book on January 20th, 2009, and as of February 20th no word......more info
  • grossly informative
    Though there was alot of info in this book that I already knew, there was also a good amount that was new. The most telling thing I can say about this book, is that I haven't touched meat since reading it shortly after it was published years ago. ...more info
  • Things that make you go hmmmmmmm........
    I bought this for a long flight; it was hard to put down so I didn't. That is why I get my own personal light, right? From Walt at Disney to Ronald (Mc D's) a complete look at the influence of fast food over society and especially our children. This was some of the best research and a very interesting part of American History. "Who knew?"
    A definite must read if you have ever been in, around or seen fast food. ...more info
  • it's a well researched and well written book
    I was looking for two things in this book. First, I was looking for shock value. I found that (traces of fecal material causing illness). The second thing I was looking for was a comparison to grocery store beef. Now that the quality of fast-food beef has been faulted, standards have been raised. The new standards for fast food beef are higher than those of grocery store beef, but no one is going to write "Grocery Store Nation."
    I spent some time looking cross-wise at all beef products, but the shock value wore off. Even vegetables are exposed to fertilizer.
    Now I'm aware of what fast food is doing to our nation. Unfortunately for America, fast food is very tasty, inexpensive and convenient. Bacon, Double, Cheese, Burger!...more info

 

 
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