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

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  164,746 ratings  ·  4,377 reviews
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, lands...more
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 387 pages
Published January 17th 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2001)
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Thom It should be easier to review this book; I'm putting it right here, regardless. After you read this book; you will probably not go to McDonald's …moreIt should be easier to review this book; I'm putting it right here, regardless. After you read this book; you will probably not go to McDonald's again.(less)
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fleegan
I thought that this book was going to be like Super-size Me only in book form. Not that the author would eat McDonalds everyday but that he would talk mostly about the unhealthiness of fast food.

I was wrong.

The author barely touches the "fast food is full of fat and fattiness" deal. He mainly talks about the greed, power, and evilness of fast food companies. I would read this book in the mornings as i drank my coffee and I would get so mad at how only a few people can make so many people misera...more
Jeff
Aug 11, 2007 Jeff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Peole with who love salt
"As God as my witness, I shall never eat another hamburger as long as I shall live!" That's what I said after reading this book. Then the phone rang. It was my friend who wanted to go grab a quick bite at Wendy's. I had a cheeseburger. I never looked back baby!
It's not that this book paints the fast food industry in a wicked horrible light. It doesn't become a witch hunt, this isn't "Hey, you know, Elie Wiesel is right, Nazi's are real sons of bitches!" (which is what I expect most people think...more
Bookshop
I could easily give this book a 5 for its well-researched and informative content, its engaging pacing, its excellent mix of dry facts and gossipy tone. I literally couldn't put the book down since I picked it up from my sister's bookshelf.

I started reading with high hopes. I heard so much about the book and how it changes people's perception on fast food. I do not eat a lot of fast food but I enjoy my occasional burgers from Burger King, crave Chicken McNuggets from time to time and adore KFC w...more
Riku Sayuj

Written on May 29, 2012:

I am glad that I had a large Pizza and a KFC burger at the Delhi airport before I started this book. Adios fatty fries, triple-decker domes and cheesy discs, you will be missed. Ignorance is indeed bliss sometimes.

Update: June 22, 2014

I am happy to report that I have largely stuck to this. Ever since reading this I have virtually avoided this sort of trash and must have eaten a maximum of a couple of burgers and pizzas in the last two years (and that too most reluctantly,...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Jul 23, 2013 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who eat
Recommended to Carol. [All cynic, all the time] by: Nutrition class.
Oh, America. When will you wise up?

In 1998, the seed of Fast Food Nation appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine. Schlosser's expose has since been expanded to a book and then a movie, and still international love affair with fast food continues. The latest edition also contains an afterword addressing 'mad cow disease,' or bovine spongiform encephalopathy. In it, Schlosser accomplishes the almost Herculean task of weaving together the birth of the fast food industry, the growing connection with car...more
Nancy
Fast Food Nation is a fascinating and very readable book. In some ways it reminds me of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. It's not only a critique of fast food, the chemicals we are ingesting and the health problems we are facing, it is also critical of a system that allows exploitation of young, old and immigrant workers, and of the suburban sprawl that resulted from the eradication of efficient and environmentally friendly public transportation by the auto industry. The author focuses his criticism...more
Emily
Jun 12, 2007 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with a conscience!
Wowwwww.

By the time you finish reading this book, you will strongly consider becoming either a vegan or a hard-core local eater, or both. I took a tiny bit of comfort in knowing that I eat vegan about half the days in the year; still, the book really scared me. It's hard, factual journalism with a huge section of footnotes in the back. As much as I'd love to dispute some of Schlosser's claims, I look around me and see evidence to support what he says about the amount of cheap food we eat and wha...more
George Bradford
Another title for this entertaining book could have been "Our disposable society: How our utter disrespect for our selves, each other and our environment created the world we live in today."

The automobile's destructive force on American life was been well documented in other works. But Schlosser extends that work specifically as it relates to the food industry. Not just fast food. But the entire food industry. And it's scary stuff.

Bottom line: we're killing our selves. Yes, fast food is bad for...more
Crystal Starr Light
McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and more...they all have the friendly, bright exterior, with the fast, cheap, addictive food. But behind the bright colors, the mascots, and the friendly clerk smile is a whole different world of fast food. Eric Schlosser peels back that wrapper to show the real world of fast food - big corporations using people and people's ignorance to rise in power, drive out the little guy, and make more and more money for themselves. Oh, yeah, and the food is gross too.

I th...more
Danine
I grew up in Greeley, CO. It was interesting to read about how your hometown is a home base for slaughterhouses. At night the entire town smells bad. I could relate to this book because I lived in Greeley and I can relate to this book because I am not fond of fast food.

The book talks about the start of burger joints and how they grew to be such an influence in today's society. The author discusses the life of workers and the working conditions in the meat packing plants. This interests me as I...more
Linda
I heard such great things about this book, but I have to say that I really had a hard time digesting it. Sorry, that pun was intended. It had so much gloom and doom and I really lost interest. Plus, I felt like I already knew more than half of the gross-out, oppressive factoids it spewed at me. The only part I enjoyed was when it talked about In-N-Out Burger and what a great employer they are and that John 3:16 is printed on the bottom of the cups. When I went to an In-N-Out and the clerk handed...more
Trevor
There are some shady rhetorical techniques used in this book. I particularly mean the chapter that begins with the little boy who dies after eating at a fast food restaurant. At the chapter's opening is a picture of the boy. It's sad. Then the chapter tells the story. Schlosser builds up a load of pathos to prove his point that fast food is so awful it kills children. Then, in a cursory statement, Schlosser divulges that the boy had other problems and died of a cause unrelated to the food he ate...more
Nurul
I started reading this book after having lunch at a fast food restaurant....

Have you ever been bored of cooking, would like to get away from stressful problem, trying to find a place where you can eat while your children can play, or trying to find a fast testable tasteful food? …..

I grew up in a country where rice is the staple food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My first acquaintance with fast food was in mid 80’s. School and work have brought me to different culture and different countries...more
TK421
So I was eating a Big Mac at a McDonald's in the town where I was going to college, while reading this book, when a woman walked over to me and asked me what I was reading. I showed her the cover of the book. She asked me what it was about. I said it was about fat people in a fat nation. She was horrified with my response. (Let me tell you that I played football in college, and I've always had a few extra pounds on me: 5'10" 240lbs.; I was strong-side linebacker.) Anyways, she went on to ask why...more
Andrew
Dec 28, 2008 Andrew rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I expected this story to be the written version of Supersize Me, but it is actually much more comprehensive. Schlosser provdes a pretty in-depth history of the development of the cattlle, poultry, and potato industries and also fast-food chains. Schlosser has his moments of leftist, Republican-bashing arguments, but for the most part he tells a balanced story. The meatpacking industry comes off looking very malicious, but surprisingly Schlosser is somewhat light on his criticism fast food chains...more
Katrin
Oh my GOD. You will never eat fast food again (or any processed food for tht matter). It is incredulous what food comapanies are getting away with - what they allow to get into the food they rpocess, the unscrupulous way they handle employees, the calaous way they treat consumers. Please read this book. Save yourself, your kids, our small farmers, and our planet. Put your money somehwere else.
Jason Koivu
I was surprised at how balanced this was! I'd heard about it and expected a start-to-finish diatribe against the fast food nation industry from top to bottom, but that wasn't the case. Schlosser's approach is more soft-touch than ham-fist, which is good, because I prefer my medicine to go down easy, not taste like acid.
Zach
That this book, unlike its spiritual ancestor The Jungle, has failed to kindle any noticeable change in public policy towards the production of meat in America is a grim reminder that today's meatpacking villains are even more vile, and have much more powerful friends, than Sinclair's. Just like Sinclair's novel, this book has also failed to spark even the tiniest bit of rebellion against the inherent injustice of industrial capitalism. I can't say you should read it because it will probably jus...more
Manny
There's a witty and disturbing satire by Stanislaw Lem called The Futurological Congress. It's one of those books where the hero gradually comes to understand that the world isn't as it seems. He's ended up in this future utopia, but there are some puzzling details that don't quite fit. For example, why do people often appear out of breath when they get out of the elevator?

In the end, all is revealed. He's sitting with a friend in a fancy restaurant, and (view spoiler)...more
Jon
This is one of those books that everyone talks about, but it's obvious only 10% of them have read it. Everyone told me to read this because it talks about how horrible fast food is and how I'll never eat meat again and how horrible and stupid Americans are and how George Bush personally forces 200 million people to eat 10,000 calories a day. Jesus Christ.

This book is a decently researched and not that sensationalist (see also Supersize Me) view of the history of fast food and how it has changed...more
Judy Vasseur
This book is making me hungry.

Determined not to let an imposing wall of acronyms block my progress, I forged on, ignoring my growling stomach, (which stopped growling when I read There's shit in the meat) and ended up underlining half the book, adding exclamation marks, question marks, exploding stars, asterisks, and enraged notations in the margins: How can they live with themselves!! and Those satanic conservative Republicans!! and Those Republicans AGAIN!! and every now and then yelling indi...more
Erin
Fast Food Nation: The Biased side of the All-American Meal: A review.
Sporting an eye-grabbing cover and an interesting title, Schlosser starts off telling you this unimaginable truth: Fast food doesn't equal health food. His catchy, clever tagline makes you laugh: Do you want LIES with that?
And lies he delivers.
He claims the book is non-partisan, un-biased, with just the facts, and then says that if it WERE biased, (which it's not), it would point out that Democrats are good (only 2 mentions, bo...more
Amanda
This book was an incredible eye-opener for me. The book can be a little difficult to wade through because of all the facts and figures, but it is well worth it. I recommend the audio book version if you prefer not to read all the numbers.

What I really loved about this book was that it wasn't just a laundry-list of the reasons fast-food is bad for your health. The book discusses the impacts of the fast food industry from every point of view: how it's changed American culture, how it's driven sma...more
Lee at All Ears
Just finished Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Love your burger?, big fries?, large coke? all served in 2 minutes and tasting the same world over? How did it all happen? Well Eric Schlosser lays it all out starting with the birth of fast food, the first drive thru, and the first McDonalds. And the industry evolved to serve it to us. You'll feel what it's like at the giant meatpacking lines, the huge potato factories, and with the soft drink syrup sellers. Henry Ford star...more
Chad
Oct 12, 2007 Chad rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I may be a sucker for propoganda (I'm not questioning the authenticity of anything inparticular), but I really enjoyed how this book put things out there. Vegetarianism is so sexy.
Barks & Bites
This was a fascinating in depth read about how the fast food industry developed and how it has literally changed the landscape of our country and the health of its inhabitants.

I've read several books on the evils of the food industry but this one goes into incredible detail about many of the things only glanced over in other books (the source of "natural flavors" was more than a little shocking) and takes a look at both sides of the story. It goes in depth into the history of the industry and ta...more
Carly
Jul 26, 2008 Carly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Open minded people
Shelves: 2008
Something occurred to me while finishing this book. While I was reading Fast Food Nation, I was also finishing the seventh Harry Potter. Everyone who had already read HP told me how good it is, how they cried, etc. And yes, HP was endearing. But FFN was to an even greater extent I feel.

While most readers engage themselves in fiction, nonfiction is highly ignored—and I’m guilty of this maybe more than anyone else. But reading FFN gave me all of the same strong emotions that reading fiction does....more
Luann
Nov 27, 2010 Luann rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Luann by: Lisa
Shelves: 2010, nonfiction
Wow, so much information! I found this very readable yet also very disturbing - which is exactly what I believe Eric Schlosser meant to do. This was first published in 2001. The edition I read was published in 2002 and included a new afterword where Schlosser discussed some of the feedback and results from his book. I would love to read an edition updated to 2010. I'm sure much of what he discussed has changed in that amount of time.

My favorite part of the book was his section on the flavors, co...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I am already a vegetarian, but reading this book would make anyone think twice about consuming food sold in fast food restaurants. Larger ethical issues are addressed as well, along the lines of who has the power to regulate food. I was shocked at what I read here, and I already assumed it was pretty bad. I'm now questioning purchasing processed food at all. Blech.

As always, some quotations:
“After closing my eyes, I suddenly smelled a grilled hamburger. The aroma was uncanny, almost miraculous...more
Thomas
Fast Food Nation was an interestingly revealing read. Instead of focusing solely on the food, Schlosser wrote a lot about the fast food industry itself and how people are being consummately sucked into buying their food. Some of the parts pertaining to the business aspects of fast food lost my attention - however, the tidbits on the working conditions and the ingredients of the unhealthy indulgences made me want to read more. I usually do not visit fast food restaurants, so this book has not dra...more
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Eric Schlosser is an award-winning American journalist and author known for investigative journalism. A number of critics have compared his work to that of Upton Sinclair.

Schlosser was born in Manhattan, New York; he spent his childhood there and in Los Angeles, California. His father, Herbert Schlosser, a former Wall Street lawyer who turned to broadcasting later in his career, eventually became...more
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“The history of the twentieth century was dominated by the struggle against totalitarian systems of state power. The twenty-first will no doubt be marked by a struggle to curtail excessive corporate power.” 24 likes
“The medical literature on the causes of food poisoning is full of euphemisms and dry scientific terms: coliform levels, aerobic plate counts, sorbitol, MacConkey agar, and so on. Behind them lies a simple explanation for why eating a hamburger can now make you seriously ill: There is shit in the meat.” 16 likes
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