Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

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9780060838584: Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

The" New York Times" bestseller that blew the lid off the fast food industry--exposing how it has malled our landscape, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad--with a new afterword from the masterful muckraker who started it all, Eric Schlosser.
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 its publication, "Fast Food Nation" changed the way America thinks about the way it eats, and it continues to inform and inspire readers concerned about the dramatic impact fast food has on our economy and our health.

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Review:

Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser's disturbing and timely exploration of one of the world's most controversial industries, has become a massive bestseller in America and rightly deserves to be so this side of the pond. 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 cheapness a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems harmless. But the industry's drive for consolidation, homogenisation and speediness has radically transformed the West's diet, landscape, economy and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways.

Eric Schlosser, an award-winning journalist, opens his ambitious and ultimately devastating exposť 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. However, he rapidly moves behind the counter to 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 flavour company) and "what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns". Eater beware: forget your concerns about cholesterol, there is--literally--faeces in your meat.

Schlosser's investigation reaches its frightening peak in the meatpacking plants as he reveals the almost complete lack of regulation. 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 introduced E.coli and other pathogens into restaurants, 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 behaviour", he writes. Where to begin? Ask yourself, is the true cost of having it "your way" really worth it? --Lesley Reed

Review:

"Schlosser is a serious and diligent reporter..." "["Fast Food Nation"] is a fine piece of muckraking, alarming without beling alarmist."
--Rob Walker, "New York Times Book Review" 1/21/01
"Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation" is a good old-fashioned muckraking expose in the tradition of "The American Way of Death" that's as disturbing as it is irresistible....Exhaustively researched, frighteningly convincing....channeling the spirits of Upton Sinclair and Rachel Carson....Schlosser's research is impressive--statistics, reportage, first-person accounts and interviews, mixing the personal with the global."
--"San Francisco Chronicle
"
"An exemplary blend of polemic and journalism....A tale full of sound, fury, and popping grease."
--starred review "Kirkus Reviews
""Schlosser is part essayist, part investigative journalist. His eye is sharp, his profiles perceptive, his prose thoughtful but spare; this is John McPhee behind the counter...."
--"Washington

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