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I finally learned what I had been eating (and why),
This review is from: Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (Hardcover)I picked up this book the moment I saw it mostly because I've always known that fast food is "bad for you" - but I've been both afraid to know why and curious at the same time. After all, I've been hearing the other side of the argument my whole life. I've been pummeled by fast food ads - and eaten plenty of fast food - for a ridiculously long time. Why do I want to stay ignorant about it?
In his introduction to "Fast Food Nation", Schlosser says that he's interested in fast food "both as commodity and metaphor", and indeed, this well-written tome is as much an examination on the titular product as an able primer on the encroachment of large corporations into the lives of working Americans.
Those of you expecting an update on John Robbins' "Diet For A New America" will be disappointed. Schlosser has not crafted a scientific slam against fast food joints, but rather a thorough examination of their motives and histories, with a strong emphasis on the people - from both sides of the coin. The time he devotes to the personal stories of those whose lives have been forever changed by fast food - from the rags-to-riches tale of Carl Karcher to the tragic story of a big-hearted rancher named Hank - are largely what keeps "Fast Food Nation" both emotionally provoking and tangible throughout.
If this book were merely a saber-toothed diatribe against fast food corporations, it couldn't allow itself such concessions and would probably come across as socialist tubthumping to all but the converted. Instead, lengthy establishing essays on the history, ideologies, and present state of the communities and corporations discussed are a welcome introduction (and counterpoint to) the individual stories of struggle, greed, and survival.
While he makes no secret where his sympathies lie, Schlosser often reminded me more of Wendell Berry than John Robbins, as he bravely attempts to "tell it like it is" from more of a "pro-human" as opposed to an "anti-corporate" perspective. In doing so, the dehumanizing aspects of all global corporations (and the effects of NAFTA and the Telecommunications Act of '96) are supplied a provoking reference point.
By my standards, "Fast Food Nation" is a fine debut accomplishment for the author and a welcome book for our increasingly homogenized (and de-regulated) times. The story of fast food, a quotidian experience for many, has never seemed quite so impressive, scary, and profound. My education began here.
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Initial post: Aug 2, 2011 4:53:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2012 8:28:47 AM PDT
John Doe says:
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