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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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About the Author
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Paperback : 383 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060838582
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060838584
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.94 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; First Harper Perennial Edition (July 5, 2005)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,209,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Fast Food Nation makes a great effort to identify many of the cultural, personal, and political issues in play within the fast food industry, though it does little to incite change. If the book presented concrete solutions, I do not recall many of them, it works better as a highlight reel of atrocity rather than a meditation on possible improvements. I read the book in 2012, 11 years after Fast Food Nation was originally published but I have failed to see any of the changes highlighted in the book taking hold. Democracy still appears to be smothered by special interests and lobbying, and despite other media emphasizing the horrifying state of our food industry we seem stuck in that same feedback loop.
Ultimately Fast Food Nation will open your eyes to many of the issues in the fast food industry, though perhaps the greatest lesson is how much more it will take to actually incite change.
This book recounts the history behind the uprising of fast food to become a dominant force in our modern society. However, what most of us do not know is : "what lies behind the shiny, happy surface of every fast food transaction". Eric goes on to investigate every aspect of the fast food industry: people, cattle, vegetables, health etc. The storytelling techniques that he uses throughout the book bring this expose to life. The stories are descriptive, personal and touching.
A very educative and enlightening read, and a rude (much needed) awakening about the food industry in general and the fast food industry in particular.
Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:
"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. The great challenge now facing countries throughout the world is how to find a proper balance between the efficiency and the amorality of the market."
"Today's fast food industry is the culmination of those larger social and economic trends. The low price of a fast food hamburger does not reflect its real cost - and should. the profits of the fast food chains have been made possible by losses imposed on the rest of society. The annual cost of obesity alone is now twice as large as the fast food industry's total revenues."
"The right pressure applied to the fast food industry in the right way could produce change faster than any act of Congress. The United Students Against Sweatshops and other activist groups have brought widespread attention to the child labor, low wages, and hazardous working conditions in Asian factories that make sneakers for Nike."
"Nobody in the United States is forced to buy fast food. The first steps toward meaningful change is by far the easiest: stop buying it. The executives who run the fast food industry are not bad men. They are businessmen. They will sell free-range, organic, grass-fed hamburgers if you demand it. They will sell whatever sells at a profit. The usefulness of the market, its effectiveness as a tool, cuts both ways."
"Whatever replaces the fast food industry should be regional, diverse, authentic, unpredictable, sustainable, profitable - and humble. It should know its limits. People can be fed without being fattened or deceived. This new century may bring an impatience with conformity, a refusal to be kept in the dark, less greed, more compassion, less speed, more common sense, a sense of humor about bran essences and loyalties, a view of food as more than just fuel. Things don't have to be the way they are. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I remain optimistic."
Top reviews from other countries
The book (as you have probably worked out before reading this review) is all about the fast food industry in the US, and talks about the bullying tactics the big corporations have used to sell their products as cheaply as possible to children. It talks a lot about the history of fast food, and picks up on the strange fact that the McDonald brothers didn’t actually make all that much money from their chain called, er…. McDonalds.
There’s quite a bit covered here… What’s actually in the meat? What’s in the fries? How are fast food restaurant staff treated? How does the meat packing industry work? Why do fast food companies sponsor schools?
I strongly recommend this book – personally, it made me feel quick sick about the idea of going into a fast food restaurant!
Anyone wishing to opt out of the fast food culture read this book now!
This is probably the 4th copy I've purchased as when I lend it out I never get it back due to it being a good damn read - one of the "unputtable" down books.
It's a real eye-opener as to the state of our food industry, both terrifying and fascinating in the same amounts. People and animals are all victims in the same machine. And yet, the allure of the Big Mac still reigns supreme...
What has already happened in the fast food industry is probably the blueprint that most corporations would like to emulate if they could. The fast food industry lends itself particularly well to the explotation of suppliers, young employeees and the consumers who are unwittingly snared by the wholesome images and the artificially enhanced flavours.
This book will open your eyes to a world you may not be aware existed.