- Paperback: 383 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1st edition (January 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060938455
- ISBN-13: 978-0060938451
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,798 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal Paperback – January 8, 2002
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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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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."