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Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal Paperback – Black & White, July 5, 2005
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“Superb and wonderfully horrifying....” (San Francisco Gate)
About the Author
Eric Schlosser is a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly. He has received a number of journalistic honors, including a National Magazine Award for an Atlantic article he wrote about marijuana and the war on drugs. This is his first book.
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Top customer reviews
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This book has really changed my life. Schlosser goes into great detail describing how the food industry functions. I like how he writes about his personal experiences in the slaughterhouses and processing plants. It makes me think, "what has our world come to to take such extreme measures to make money! The number of lives sacrificed to get you that Big Mac is outrageous. Schlosser took many tours through slaughterhouses and interviewed many former employees that have been burned out from the tortuous conditions. The food itself is described in detail for us. Schlosser says that, "Everyday in the United States, roughly 200,000 people are sickened by food borne disease, 900 are hospitalized, and 14 die". I appreciate the detail and evidence he includes when giving these facts. This information he was giving however, was a little disorganized. Facts were sprawled out on the page, and the amount of facts were overwhelming. It was almost too much to take in at once. This made it a hard read, and I did not like that about this book. He also starts out slow with a lot of history and background information. How the food is made and processed isn't described in detail until halfway through the book.
His main message presented was how the fast food industry is affecting society. This book may have been published in 2001, but the information still accurately describes the industry today. He makes a point to mention that this book is not outdated in the afterward of the 2011 version.
I recommend this book to anyone. Having more people know about what is really behind the Big Mac and the Whopper will help society understand what they are eating and how it can affect them. Schlosser's book Chew on This is a great companion to the book as it describes "everything you never wanted to know about fast food". He was also the co producer of the movie Food Inc. which I also recommend if you want to learn more about the fast food industry.
Below is an excerpt from a 2010 Michael Pollan article (May 20, 2010 New York Review of bookss)
"But although cheap food is good politics, it turns out there are significant costs--to the environment, to public health, to the public purse, even to the culture--and as these became impossible to ignore in recent years, food has come back into view. Beginning in the late 1980s, a series of food safety scandals opened people's eyes to the way their food was being produced, each one drawing the curtain back a little further on a food system that had changed beyond recognition. When BSE, or mad cow disease, surfaced in England in 1986, Americans learned that cattle, which are herbivores, were routinely being fed the flesh of other cattle; the practice helped keep meat cheap but at the risk of a hideous brain-wasting disease.
In the wake of these food safety scandals, the conversation about food politics that briefly flourished in the 1970s was picked up again in a series of books, articles, and movies about the consequences of industrial food production. Beginning in 2001 with the publication of Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, a surprise best-seller, and, the following year, Marion Nestle's Food Politics, the food journalism of the last decade has succeeded in making clear and telling connections between the methods of industrial food production, agricultural policy, food-borne illness, childhood obesity, the decline of the family meal as an institution, and, notably, the decline of family income beginning in the 1970s.
Besides drawing women into the work force, falling wages made fast food both cheap to produce and a welcome, if not indispensible, option for pinched and harried families. The picture of the food economy Schlosser painted resembles an upside-down version of the social compact sometimes referred to as "Fordism": instead of paying workers well enough to allow them to buy things like cars, as Henry Ford proposed to do, companies like Wal-Mart and McDonald's pay their workers so poorly that they can afford only the cheap, low-quality food these companies sell, creating a kind of nonvirtuous circle driving down both wages and the quality of food. The advent of fast food (and cheap food in general) has, in effect, subsidized the decline of family incomes in America.
But perhaps the food movement's strongest claim on public attention today is the fact that the American diet of highly processed food laced with added fats and sugars is responsible for the epidemic of chronic diseases that threatens to bankrupt the health care system. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that fully three quarters of US health care spending goes to treat chronic diseases, most of which are preventable and linked to diet: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and at least a third of all cancers. The health care crisis probably cannot be addressed without addressing the catastrophe of the American diet, and that diet is the direct (even if unintended) result of the way that our agriculture and food industries have been organized"
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I've had this book for almost 20 years now, as I was supposed to have read it for my sociology class.Read more