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

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001 - Business & Economics - 356 pages
194 Reviews
Are we what we eat?
To a degree both engrossing and alarming, the story of fast food is the story of postwar Amerca. Though created by a handful of mavericks, the fast food industry has triggered the homogenization of our society. Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled the juggernaut of 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 the California subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many of fast food's flavors are concocted. He hangs out with the teenagers who make the restaurants run and communes with those unlucky enough to hold America's most dangerous job -- meatpacker. He travels to Las Vegas for a giddily surreal franchisers' convention where Mikhail Gorbachev delivers the keynote address. He even ventures to England and Germany to clock the rate at which those countries are becoming fast food nations.
Along the way, Schlosser 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. He also uncovers the fast food chains' efforts to reel in the youngest, most susceptible consumers even while they hone their institutionalized exploitation of teenagers and minorities. Schlosser then turns a critical eye toward the hot topic of globalization -- a phenomenon launched by fast food.
FAST FOOD NATION is a groundbreaking work of investigation and cultural history that may change the way America thinks about the way it eats.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
86
4 stars
71
3 stars
27
2 stars
2
1 star
8

A good read, and well-researched. - LibraryThing
... very well researched SCARY information. - LibraryThing
This is a well-researched and very readable volume. - LibraryThing
Researched and well written. - LibraryThing
Amazing and well researched - what else is there to say - LibraryThing
It's not just high calorie, large portion meals. - LibraryThing

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HeatherCHoffman - LibraryThing

If you are trying to avoid fast food, this is the book for you. Read it alongside Upton Sinclair's The Jungle if you're looking to really clean out your stomach. A mix of facts and stories of real people, this book will make you think twice about what we eat in America. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hailsus - LibraryThing

Very informative book that takes you back to the very start of fast food history Read full review

All 11 reviews »

Contents

III
13
IV
31
V
59
VI
91
VII
109
VIII
111
IX
133
X
149
XII
193
XIII
225
XIV
255
XV
273
XVI
274
XVII
330
XVIII
336
XIX
339

XI
169

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 3 - A nation's diet can be more revealing than its art or literature. On any given day in the United States about one-quarter of the adult population visits a fast food restaurant. During a relatively brief period of time, the fast food industry has helped to transform not only the American diet, but also our landscape, economy, workforce, and popular culture.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2001)

Eric Schlosser has been a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly since 1996. His work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, the Nation, and The New Yorker. He has received a National Magazine Award and a Sidney Hillman Foundation Award for reporting. In 1998 Schlosser wrote an investigative piece on the fast food industry for Rolling Stone. What began as a two-part article for the magazine turned into a groundbreaking book: Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2001). The book helped to change the way that Americans think about what they eat. Fast Food Nation was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years, as well as on bestseller lists in Canada, Great Britain, and Japan. It has been translated into more than twenty languages.

Schlosser's second book, Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market (2003), explored the nation's growing underground economy. It also became a New York Times bestseller. In 2003, Schlosser's first play, Americans, was produced at the Arcola Theatre in London.

Hoping to counter the enormous amount of fast food marketing aimed at children, Schlosser decided to write a book that would help young people understand where their food comes from, how it's made, how it affects society, and how it can harm their health. Co-written with Charles Wilson, Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food became a New York Times bestseller in the spring of 2006. Later that year, Fox Searchlight Pictures released a major motion picture based on Fast Food Nation, directed by Richard Linklater and co-written with Schlosser. “It's a mirror and a portrait,” the New York Times said of the film, “as necessary and nourishing as your next meal.” Schlosser is currently at work on a book about America's prison system.