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

New York Times Bestseller.

 With a New Afterword

fast-food-nation-dark-side-all-american-meal-eric-schlosser-audio-cover-art“Schlosser has a flair for dazzling scene-setting and an arsenal of startling facts . . . Fast Food Nation points the way but, to resurrect an old fast food slogan, the choice is yours.”—Los Angeles Times

In 2001, Fast Food Nation was published to critical acclaim and became an international bestseller. Eric Schlosser’s exposé revealed how the fast food industry has altered the landscape of America, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and transformed food production throughout the world. The book changed the way millions of people think about what they eat and helped to launch today’s food movement.

In a new afterword for this edition, Schlosser discusses the growing interest in local and organic food, the continued exploitation of poor workers by the food industry, and the need to ensure that every American has access to good, healthy, affordable food. Fast Food Nation is as relevant today as it was a decade ago. The book inspires readers to look beneath the surface of our food system, consider its impact on society and, most of all, think for themselves.

“As disturbing as it is irresistible . . . Exhaustively researched, frighteningly convincing . . . channeling the spirits of Upton Sinclair and Rachel Carson.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Schlosser shows how the fast food industry conquered both appetite and landscape.”—The New Yorker

Eric Schlosser is a contributing editor for the Atlantic and the author of Fast Food NationReefer Madness, and Chew on This (with Charles Wilson).

Product Details

Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (March 13, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 9780547750330

ISBN-13: 978-0547750330


Editorial Reviews Review

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 exposé 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 –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


From Publishers Weekly

Schlosser’s incisive history of the development of American fast food indicts the industry for some shocking crimes against humanity, including systematically destroying the American diet and landscape, and undermining our values and our economy. The first part of the book details the postwar ascendance of fast food from Southern California, assessing the impact on people in the West in general. The second half looks at the product itself: where it is manufactured (in a handful of enormous factories), what goes into it (chemicals, feces) and who is responsible (monopolistic corporate executives). In harrowing detail, the book explains the process of beef slaughter and confirms almost every urban myth about what in fact “lurks between those sesame seed buns.” Given the estimate that the typical American eats three hamburgers and four orders of french fries each week, and one in eight will work for McDonald’s in the course of their lives, few are exempt from the insidious impact of fast food. Throughout, Schlosser fires these and a dozen other hair-raising statistical bullets into the heart of the matter. While cataloguing assorted evils with the tenacity and sharp eye of the best investigative journalist, he uncovers a cynical, dismissive attitude to food safety in the fast food industry and widespread circumvention of the government’s efforts at regulation enacted after Upton Sinclair’s similarly scathing novel exposed the meat-packing industry 100 years ago. By systematically dismantling the industry’s various aspects, Schlosser establishes a seminal argument for true wrongs at the core of modern America. (Jan.) Forecast: This book will find a healthy, young audience; it’s notable that the Rolling Stone article on which this book was based generated more reader mail than any other piece the magazine ran in the 1990s.

Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review & Commentary

One thought on “Fast Food Nation The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

  1. Review

    Book Review

    By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

    Fast Food Nation
    The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
    Eric Schlosser
    Houghton-Mifflin Co. 04/01 Hardcover $25.00
    ISBN: 0-395-97789-4

    “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,” writes Eric Schlosser, a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, in this hard-hitting exposé of the terrible consequences of this industry of instant gratification. The American addiction to fries, burgers, and sodas has spawned 44 million obese men, women, and children; suburban sprawl; car culture; industrial agriculture; and the largest group of minimum wage earners in the U.S. And now fast food has joined Hollywood movies, blue jeans, and pop music as one of the country’s most highly valued cultural exports.

    The chief purveyor of “the dark side of the All-American meal” is McDonald’s, which is now responsible for 90 percent of the country’s new jobs. It is the largest purchaser of beef, pork, and potatoes, and the largest owner of retail property in the world. It spends more money on advertising and marketing than any other brand, and this has paid off royally. In a survey, 96 percent of American schoolchildren could identify Ronald McDonald; the only fictional character with a higher degree of recognition was Santa Claus.

    Although it is disgusting to learn about the tainted meat of many fast food operators, the most distressing material in this muckraking volume is Schlosser’s delineation of the slick marketing of fast food to children, who are viewed as major targets for promotion campaigns in the schools and elsewhere. About one-quarter of American children between the ages of two and five now have a television set in their room. About one-fifth of the nation’s one to two year olds drink soda. Schlosser points out that many elementary schools serve food from Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and Subway on special lunch days. With such arrangements already in place, fast food franchises have begun to fulfill their goal of cradle-to-grave marketing strategies.

    Recently we read an article about the drink giant Coca-Cola’s plan to provide Coke on tap in customers’ homes. How scary is that? Very very scary given the realization that millions of parents will rejoice in pleasing their kids with such a surprise. Read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and take to heart his suggestions in the last chapter to halt the nightmare of a nation of brainwashed toddlers eating and drinking junk food and sugar water.

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