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

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  189,357 Ratings  ·  5,214 Reviews
A groundbreaking work of investigation and cultural history that may change the way America thinks about the way it eats.

Are we what we eat? To a degree both engrossing and alarming, the story of fast food is the story of postwar America. Though created by a handful of mavericks, the fast food industry has triggered the homogenization of our society. Fast food has hastened
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Paperback, 399 pages
Published July 5th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published January 17th 2001)
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Eric Gmeinder Wrong. No junk food will ever make you fat if you eat it in moderation.
Daniela The book does start as a microhistory of fast food, but it is only a fraction of the book.

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fleegan
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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Jeff
Aug 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
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Bookshop
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
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Riku Sayuj
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it

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,
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Nancy
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Carol.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who eat
Recommended to Carol. 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
7jane
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: also for workers' rights
This, I feel, is now a classic book in the 'wrongs going on in the food-making world'. Although this is from 2001, I feel many of the revelations are still true, unfortunately. It is US-centric, yet at least some of the facts appear worldwide, depending sometimes on the country. But it did make me feel wary about eating fast food if I was traveling in US.

This book of 3 years of research talks about the industry of fast food, and its consequences on people, animals, and nature. There are notes an
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Emily
Jun 07, 2007 rated it liked it
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
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George Bradford
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: america
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
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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
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Danine
Sep 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
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Bam
Although a little dated, this book takes a good look at the fast-food industry and what effect it has had on people's lives--starting with the history of how it all began.

Some of the issues that Schlosser is concerned with here are: good nutrition, food safety, animal welfare, worker rights and sustainable agriculture. What also is of concern is the Americanization of food around the world, bringing food of questionable nutrition and its accompanying health issues, such as obesity and heart dise
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Red Panda
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I finished that considerably sooner than I expected to. Mainly because the last 44% of the book (I read it on my Kindle) is taken up entirely by an enormous bibliography, photograph credits section and an incredibly in-depth index.

I wasn't sad; by the 56% mark I'd had enough, to be honest. I'm not saying it's a bad book by any means but it's not the kind of book one enjoys.

The book held few surprises for me, I'm sad to say. I already knew at least 50% of the information contained in it and
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Trevor
Jun 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2001
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
Linda
Jul 12, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: onlyreadhalfofit
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
Eric
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that should open the eyes of most readers to the food and flavor industry in America.

As with so many aspects of American life, Schlosser deftly examines how humans are studied and then manipulated into following our drives, both conscious and subconscious, and how those that profit from learning about our behavior, continue to do so.

In reading this book, people will see food, production of food and the marketing and selling of food, in a new light.

Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Manny
Mar 20, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
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TK421
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Huyền Trang
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Một cuốn sách rất hay lột trần bản chất của ngày công nghiệp đồ ăn nhanh, đặc biệt tác giả nhắm đến là McDonald. Từ lịch sử hình thành đến khi tập đoàn này vươn ra toàn cầu.
Rất nhiều góc khuất trong hoạt động kinh doanh của tập đoàn này được tác giả đề cập tới như:
- Các cửa hàng của McDonald bị tấn công, cướp tiền nhiều hơn cả ngân hàng và hung thủ phần lớn là nhân viên cũ bất mãn với chính sách của công ty
- Đồ ăn ở các cửa hàng ăn nhanh được sản xuất theo kiểu "dây chuyền lắp ghép" khiến cho ch
...more
Zach
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Gandi
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Feeling like eating salads for the rest of my life.

Never been a fast food enthusiast, and this book further convinced me about it. However, I need to note that Fast Food Nation is quite outdated since it has been written two decades ago. Just to be aware of the differences, I've asked someone who used to work at McDonalds until recently, and it seems this book is still valid. Anyways, I can say that the author has done a good job to expose the truth about the fast food industry, and the book is
...more
Katrin
Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jack Jordan
The topics documented in this book have been meticulously researched.
This book is filled with many more reasons for people to abstain from supporting the horrors of the meat industry.
Michelle
Full disclosure: I am a vegetarian, and I do not eat fast food. I got through my childhood unaffected by the McDonalds effect Schlosser describes, although I think I had a birthday party there when I was eight. This was organised by someone who wasn't my mum (no idea who now) as she didn't approve of food that wasn't homemade, and we were poor so we didn't eat out, even at budget-type places. Anyway, so this book wasn't going to change my behaviour as there was nothing to change, but boy did it ...more
Bark
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-issues
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
Erin
Aug 23, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: do-not-want
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
Andrew Breslin
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Of all the books that made me physically ill to read and filled me with a sense of utter and complete hopelessness, exacerbating my cynicism, despair, and suicidal tendencies, this was among the very best. Oh it's just so good, you'll want to slash your wrists. Or, depending on your personality and how you direct your rage, throw a brick through the window of the nearest McDonalds. Then climb through the broken window, retrieve the brick, and hurl it through an adjacent window. And then, when yo ...more
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458 followers
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
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More about Eric Schlosser

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“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.” 19 likes
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