Synopses & Reviews
Are we what we eat?
To a degree both engrossing and alarming, the story of fast food is the story of postwar Amerca. Though created by a handful of mavericks, the fast food industry has triggered the homogenization of our society. Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled the juggernaut of American cultural imperialism abroad. That's a lengthy list of charges, but Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.
Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from the California subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many of fast food's flavors are concocted. He hangs out with the teenagers who make the restaurants run and communes with those unlucky enough to hold America's most dangerous job -- meatpacker. He travels to Las Vegas for a giddily surreal franchisers' convention where Mikhail Gorbachev delivers the keynote address. He even ventures to England and Germany to clock the rate at which those countries are becoming fast food nations.
Along the way, Schlosser unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths -- from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate. He also uncovers the fast food chains' efforts to reel in the youngest, most susceptible consumers even while they hone their institutionalized exploitation of teenagers and minorities. Schlosser then turns a critical eye toward the hot topic of globalization -- a phenomenon launched by fast food.
FAST FOOD NATION is a groundbreaking work of investigation and cultural history that may change the way America thinks about the way it eats.
"...Schlosser is a serious and diligent reporter..." "[Fast Food Nation] is a fine piece of muckraking, alarming without beling alarmist."
- Rob Walker, NYTBR 1/21/01 The New York Times
"Eric Schlosser's 'Fast Food Nation' is a good old-fashioned muckraking expose in the tradition of 'The American Way of Death' that's as disturbing as it is irresistible....Exhaustively researched, frighteningly convincing....channeling the spirits of Upton Sinclair and Rachel Carson....Schlosser's research is impressive--statistics, reportage, first-person accounts and interviews, mixing the personal with the global." The San Francisco Chronicle
"An exemplary blend of polemic and journalism....A tale full of sound, fury, and popping grease." --starred review Kirkus Reviews
"Schlosser is part essayist, part investigative journalist. His eye is sharp, his profiles perceptive, his prose thoughtful but spare; this is John McPhee behind the counter...." The Washington Post
"...everywhere in his thorough, gimlet-eyed, superbly told story, Mr. Schlosser offers up visionary glints....For pure, old-fashioned, Upton Sinclair-style muckraking, the chapters on the meatpacking industry are masterful." Observer
"'Fast Food Nation' is investigative journalism of a very high order. And the fit between the author's reporting and his narrative style is just about perfect. The prose moves gracefully between vignette and exposition, assembling great quantities of data in small areas without bursting at the seams." Newsday
"Schlosser establishes a seminal argument for the true wrongs at the core of modern America." Publishers Weekly, Starred
"...reminiscent of Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle'....." Boston Globe
"...Schlosser has done huge amounts of intense, on-the-scene reporting, and he backs up his concerns very convincingly. He presents incredibly resonant images and statistics and observations the reader is unlikely to forget." --San Jose Mercury News
"'Fast Food Nation' should be another wake-up call, a super-size serving of common sense...." Atlanta Journal Constitution
"Part cultural history, part investigative journalism and part polemic...intelligent and highly readable critique...." --Time Out New York
"Fast Food Nation is the kind of book that you hope young people read because it demonstrates far better than any social studies class the need for government regulation, the unchecked power of multinational corporations and the importance of our everyday decisions." USA Today
"Fast Food Nation presents these sometimes startling discoveries in a manner that manages to be both careful and fast-paced. Schlosser is a talented storyteller, and his reportorial skills are considerable." --Hartford Courant
Analyzing the influence of the fast food industry on American society, an award-winning journalist explores the homogenization of American culture and the impact of the fast food industry on modern-day health, economy, politics, popular culture, entertainment, food production, and more. 40,000 first printing.
The New York Times bestseller that blew the lid off the fast food industry—exposing how they've malled our landscapes, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad—now includes a new Afterword from the masterful muckraker (who started it all), Eric Schlosser.
New York Times
With a New Afterword
“Schlosser has a flair for dazzling scene-setting and an arsenal of startling facts . . . Fast Food Nation points the way but, to resurrect an old fast food slogan, the choice is yours.”—Los Angeles Times
In 2001, Fast Food Nation was published to critical acclaim and became an international bestseller. Eric Schlossers exposé revealed how the fast food industry has altered the landscape of America, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and transformed food production throughout the world. The book changed the way millions of people think about what they eat and helped to launch todays food movement.
In a new afterword for this edition, Schlosser discusses the growing interest in local and organic food, the continued exploitation of poor workers by the food industry, and the need to ensure that every American has access to good, healthy, affordable food. Fast Food Nation is as relevant today as it was a decade ago. The book inspires readers to look beneath the surface of our food system, consider its impact on society and, most of all, think for themselves.
“As disturbing as it is irresistible . . . Exhaustively researched, frighteningly convincing . . . channeling the spirits of Upton Sinclair and Rachel Carson.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Schlosser shows how the fast food industry conquered both appetite and landscape.”—The New Yorker
Eric Schlosser is a contributing editor for the Atlantic and the author of Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness, and Chew on This (with Charles Wilson).
About the Author
Eric Schlosser has been a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly since 1996. His work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, the Nation, and The New Yorker. He has received a National Magazine Award and a Sidney Hillman Foundation Award for reporting. In 1998 Schlosser wrote an investigative piece on the fast food industry for Rolling Stone. What began as a two-part article for the magazine turned into a groundbreaking book: Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2001). The book helped to change the way that Americans think about what they eat. Fast Food Nation was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years, as well as on bestseller lists in Canada, Great Britain, and Japan. It has been translated into more than twenty languages.
Schlosser’s second book, Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market (2003), explored the nation’s growing underground economy. It also became a New York Times bestseller. In 2003, Schlosser’s first play, Americans, was produced at the Arcola Theatre in London.
Hoping to counter the enormous amount of fast food marketing aimed at children, Schlosser decided to write a book that would help young people understand where their food comes from, how it’s made, how it affects society, and how it can harm their health. Co-written with Charles Wilson, Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food became a New York Times bestseller in the spring of 2006. Later that year, Fox Searchlight Pictures released a major motion picture based on Fast Food Nation, directed by Richard Linklater and co-written with Schlosser. “It’s a mirror and a portrait,” the New York Times said of the film, “as necessary and nourishing as your next meal.” Schlosser is currently at work on a book about America’s prison system.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1 I. The American Way 1. The Founding Fathers 13 2. Your Trusted Friends 31 3. Behind the Counter 59 4. Success 91
II. Meat and Potatoes 5. Why the Fries Taste Good 111 6. On the Range 133 7. Cogs in the Great Machine 149 8. The Most Dangerous Job 169 9. Whats in the Meat 193 10. Global Realization 225
Epilogue: Have It Your Way 255 Photo Credits 273 Notes 274 Bibliography 330 Acknowledgments 336 Index 339