Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

by Eric Schlosser

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Fast Food Nation 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 377 reviews.
Phil_Slender More than 1 year ago
While very reminiscent of Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel, "The Jungle", Eric Schlosser manages to convey the same provocative and enlightening messages in his 2001 novel, "Fast Food Nation". While a bit outdated, the overall themes featured in the novel still hold relevance in today's society and truly make a person think twice about going to fast food restaurants in the future. The book is divided into two sections: a history of fast food chains, and then the "behind-the-scenes" production of fast food in more recent history. Throughout the novel, Schlosser aims to show his audience the truth about what fast food chains do to reach high production levels, and how little they value both their employees and their customers. As a high school student, I find this book to be extremely relevant to my generation, seeing as how millions of teenagers' first jobs are at fast food joints. The novel itself is a reasonable length, but the writing itself is hardly sophisticated, as evidenced by the number of typo's in the text. On the contrary, Schlosser's main strength in this novel is his amount of research that evidently went into his writing. The novel is packed with statistics, experimental findings, and first-hand interviews with people involved in the fast food industry. 20 pages at the end alone are dedicated to his bibliography. Many of his interviews with employees of fast food chains and meatpacking factories are very touching and display the level of tragedy thousands of people in this industry face everyday due to lack of health coverage and safety precautions provided by the corporations. I would highly recommend this novel to a broad audience- in fact anyone who eats fast food on a regular basis should read this so that they become fully informed on what exactly they are putting into their bodies every time they eat fast food. As a high school student, I found this book to be a worthwhile read, (unlike many other required readings in school) and I believe that it will forever change how I make choices in my diet, which I am sure was the author's intention behind writing this.
WhyAmIUpSoLate More than 1 year ago
106 years ago, Upton Sinclair revolutionized the food industry, uncovering the dirty secrets of food production. Fast forward to the present and Eric Schlosser is attempting to once again revolutionize how America eats by exposing the flaws with the fast food industry. He argues that the commercialized industry of fast food has changed how we as Americans live. Schlosser takes the reader on two tours. The first is the oft-repeated success stories of Ray Kroc, the founder McDonalds, and other fast food titans. A glorification of the American success story, this initial tour walks the reader through the story that the fast food industry would like America to hear. Yet this first tour is quickly followed by a disturbing second. Schlosser walks his readers through factories, plants, and warehouses—the true sources of fast food. He bares all, as he walks readers through olfactory factories. That’s right. Factories where smell is fabricated for your Big Mac, fries, and McFlurry. Schlosser exposes a disturbing—disgusting—amount of artificiality in every bite of McDonalds, Carl’s Jr., or Burger King we take. Certainly, most Americans don’t think of fluorescent lit factories, flighty plants, and dusty warehouses when they think of fast food. I know I didn’t. Schlosser changed that. He also speaks to the dangers of the fast food industry, both to the consumer and the producer. Dangerous malpractice in factories and plants lead to thousands of injuries, which, Schlosser argues, are the fault of lack of government regulation and intervention. He goes on to interview the victims of work injuries, creating a pathetic portrayal of an apparently flawed industry. Schlosser’s copious amount of statistics, factoids, and research should earn him 5 stars, yet his overtly single sided approach mars what has the potential for a fantastic book. Throughout the piece, Schlosser increasingly points toward government (particularly Republicans) for problems with the fast food industry. He selectively provides facts and statistics to enforce his point, while simply ignoring those that don’t. While Schlosser definitely exposes the flaws of fast food America, he fails to objectively present the issue, its root cause, and solution, earning him only 3 out of 5 stars.
CouponToes More than 1 year ago
The Book I was reading was Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. This book was a documentary about the food industry and the Fast Food Industry in particular. In the beginning of the book Schlosser is talking more about the history of fast food. He talks about how McDonald's and Carl's Junior and other fast food restaurants are created and how they evolved. The next section of the book is about the where the food you're eating comes from. It talks about the slaughter houses and the danger of working in the meat packing industry. It also tells stories of people getting extremely sick from salmonella. I would definitely recommend this book to another person. It was shocking and gave you the facts without completely bashing the fast food industry which I thought gave this book more integrity. I do think that some people will not be able to appreciate this book. Squeamish people and people that get bored easily will not like this book; however I found most of the book engaging. The reason that I say that people that get bored easily wouldn't like this book as much is because of the beginning. It is a little slow getting into the book because the whole first section is mostly a history lesson. It takes a little while to get hooked into the book. Once I got into the sections about the farms and the slaughterhouse and such I was completely hooked, just getting past the first section was a hurdle. The other reason why people might not like this book is because there are some more gory parts in this book. Especially when the slaughterhouse process was being explained. I don't consider myself to have a particularly weak stomach but I became a vegetarian for a couple months. Some people I have talked to on the other hand only wanted a cheeseburger when they read this book. I have to say my favorite part of this book was when Schlosser was in the place where they chemically created smells. Though it was a little disturbing that the smell of feet could be chemically manufacture, it was still intriguing. I'd never heard about anything like it before and I found it incredibly engaging. I never knew that I could get so excited by a book about Fast Food. Another part that I found that made me think was when I was reading about the workers in the slaughterhouse. I found it incredible that these workers were doing "the most dangerous job" according to Schlosser, and getting paid next to nothing. I read stories about people getting caught in the grinding machines and falling into the grease and getting hurt or dying. It made me wonder why anyone would want to do these jobs because of the risk and the low pay. I found that many of the workers were immigrants that just needed the money. The thing that I liked most about this book was that it wasn't a snarky book. It didn't say "Don't eat fast food, it's ruining America!" I found it refreshing to find a documentary book that didn't tell me what to do because I like forming my own opinions. I hate it when authors try to force their opinions on me. Schlosser said the facts and stated his opinion as separate things whereas many writers state their opinions as fact. I also liked how Schlosser had a mixture of the facts and stories so that you were less likely to get bored while reading just facts or just his thoughts. I would definitely recommend this book. It's subtly progressive so that's not annoying. It was hard to choose favorite parts because there were so many great parts. Though the beginning of
Triple_Entendre More than 1 year ago
Just like how Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle brought regulatory reform to the Theodore Roosevelt era, Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation should cause a wake up call in America today. It is a fascinating narrative of a revolution in the country that has been barely examined. Schlosser covers the aspects of the all American industry—food-born illnesses, animal abuse, worksite dangers, political corruption, and high rates of obesity—originated on the promise of being cheap. He effectively draws the connections to what most Americans know and don’t know about the industry while alarming us of what we very often take for granted. With nearly all of his research being done from first hand experience, he does not even need to use a passionate tone in the narrative because the facts are so compelling that they speak for themselves. The facts make it disturbing of what we are picking up at the drive-through window. The narrative definitely turns some heads and could quickly change many Americans' diets. Maybe one day in the future people will look back on this time in history with disgust just like how we look back at the time Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle. Schlosser’s piece of journalism deserves nothing less than five out of five stars for the above reasons and has the potential to transform the American public’s view on the fast food industry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast Food Nation is undoubtedly the most shocking book written on the topic of the fast food industry. Schlosser has an uncanny way of telling the facts without dragging the book down. He reveals industry secrets that franchises definitely do not want the public knowing. He writes about not only fast food itself, but also about food conditions in general. Schlosser reveals the gruesome, dirty, inhumane conditions animals are put through before they are shelved in supermarkets and sold in restaurants. He also gives interesting statistics about our consumption of fast food and its harmful effects on our health that will certainly change your views forever about fast food. The truth that Schlosser reveals is one that many have in some way heard before, but the main thing that sets this tell-all apart is the details that he goes into and the many well-kept secrets that big businesses have kept hidden for years. When it all comes down to it though, the main reason why EVERYONE should read this book is simple: health. Without a doubt our health is the single most important thing we have, and in today’s society there are numerous unhealthy factors in our lives. Fast food though is one that we can have some control over. Awareness is key to stopping this travesty, and the more people are aware of just how bad fast food has gotten, the faster the problem can be solved. Schlosser relates this important message in a way that is not like any typical boring nonfictional book. He keeps you interested in what he has to say the whole way through. Though some of the things he reveals may get gruesome, they are the truth and it is important that we know it. Read this book if you want to know what you are really consuming when you eat fast food.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book educates people as to where their food comes from. Once you read this book you will realize just how out of touch we are in so many aspects of our lives. There are videos, rumors, and stories all the time about spit (and other bodily fluids) being added to fast food by angry employees. But even if no one is spitting in your food it could still be very unclean. The author is not suggesting that eating out is evil entirely. He even mentions businesses that are cleaner and more ethical in their practices. Everyone should know where their food comes from, and how it affects their environment, health, and society. Even if caring for your own health isn't a priority, learning how others and the environment are affected is quite eye-opening. Note: I just rented the movie last night. I do not recommend that. It was more about sex and personal lives than the actual issues at hand. The movie touched on less than 1% of the issues discussed in this book. This book is a MUST READ!!
Lizzy_Shine More than 1 year ago
I have seen the film Super Size Me many times in the past, but this was my first time reading Fast Food Nation. I thought that they would be extremely similar and although they focus on the same central topic, they are very different. I would recommend this book over the movie any day. With every page, you could feel the passion that the author had for the topic and that he truly is looking out for the benefit of the country and to show people the truth. It takes the reader beyond just the fast food element and looks at how quick meals came to be so prominent in our society. The book discusses how great of an impact the use of automobiles affected the fast food industry and the progress that occurred in such a short amount of time. It discusses the use of a production line system, marketing, the affect on society's youth, and the meat packing industry. The book takes the reader across the country and is filled with extremely interesting facts relating to the history of the fast food market. It may be somewhat disturbing to read but Fast Food Nation only is revealing the truth about what Americans eat and the sources of their food. I think that this book is truly groundbreaking and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Although it may no be the easiest read for some, this book will open the reader's eyes to the truth of fast food and it may make one think twice before they go through the drive-thru or order a pizza.
IRBY_RAL More than 1 year ago
Eric Schlosser's book on the economy and strategies of the fast-food business should be read by anyone who likes to eat at fast-food restaurants. I shall certainly never do that again. He employs a long, cold burn, a quiet and impassioned accumulation of detail, with calm, wit and clarity. Fast Food Nation is witness to the all-American diet gone totally out of control, hopefully after reading this book we will all be say "No" to the question, "Do you want fries with that!"
Solveiga More than 1 year ago
The book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser was actually not what I expected, that being in a positive aspect. What I enjoyed about this book is the way it provided factual information but not to the point where it overwhelmed me as a reader. It incorporated real life stories well into paragraph and chapter structure in an entertaining light. In a way it opened my eyes to what I was not noticing was already so relevant in my life. Never did I realize how many fast food chains there are around my house, but even if I did never did I think about their business outlook nor how strong of franchises they really are. Further thinking about it, I realized I could not think up as many local food businesses as fast food companies there are around my town, leading me to really notice the power restaurants such as McDonalds holds. Eric Schlosser wrote about how these companies use certain deceiving methods to establish clientele. They use kid friendly product recognition figures or toys in happy meals to appeal the younger demographic. This then attracts children whose parents bring them thinking they are feeding them healthy (from interpreting commercials) when in reality they are polluting the child bellies, as shown by increasing obesity statistics. Schlosser opened my eyes to this unfair and tricking way companies play on the public. What I really liked was his capability to bring the wrong doings of these firms to such light for all to see and understand better. His style of writing appeals to me because he doesn’t over power his own opinion and leads you questioning the fast food company’s intentions and methods of unclear advertising. Overall I would definitely recommend this book for all to read, much can be learned from it and the well researched factual evidence can provide the reader with a better understand to then let them formulate their own outlook on this topic.
yonagigai More than 1 year ago
Overall, the topic behind Fast Food Nation is overdue. America (and by extension, the rest of the world) has not done itself any favors creating industrialized homogenized fast food. However, reading the book is like listening to my next door neighbor rant about 3rd world politics over the fence - it sounds good but lacking in many of the details. In the book, there are too many value-laden judgements just 'thrown out there' without enough information and clear persuasive argument behind it.

Overall - great conversation starter - not a great treatise.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that Fast Food Nation was a brilliant idea, however it was poorly organized. The book has interesting facts but they are intertwined with the author's obvious hate of most people in the world the Republicans are evil as well as the Democrats. He claims that all chains are wrong including the GAP and other major clothing stores, everything that has more that one store is portrayed as bad. After finishing the book it did give me some insight, however, if I could meet Eric whats-his-name I would ask him where he gets his food, clothes, and electronics. I highly doubt that he eats only vegitables grown in his garden and wears only the clothes that come from his personal alpaca. I just think that if he has such a right to put down everything that he lives for he should prove that he doesnt eat any fast food, food from supermarkets, or any restaurants, and he doesnt buy anything that he hasnt personally worked for. It could have been a brilliant book but the use of politics gave me a eerie sense of communism and facism.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a HUGE disappointment to me, my classmates, and even my teacher! We expected to be reading amazing facts on every page, but we instead found ourselves reading about things totally irrelevant to FAST FOOD!! Here's a useful piece of advice: if you are just looking to find out what's in the actual food, researh that topic online instead of wasting 15 bucks to read about nothing. FAST FOOD NATION REALLY WAS A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There may be some truth here, but it's hard to be certain. The book has lots of quotes and notes, but there were many unfounded jumps to conclusion. I can't help but think that this is one person's interpretation of details slightly beyond that person's grasp. One thing though is perfectly clear; the author doesn't like McDonalds or Republicans. Early on, when the author describes some horrible observations in a French fry factory his lack of knowledge of industrial processes or how products are manufactured causes one to question whether to believe other subsequent observations. A statement is made that he couldn¿t tell the difference between a stream of potato containing water and a refinery. Come on, anyone who has ever been around a refinery knows that there is no way it resembles a plant that prepares food. Where are the tall columns? Where are the pipe lines? Another statement in the same chapter decries the use of ammonia in the plant. the implication is that potatoes are processed in an ammonia atmosphere. This too is absurd. In industry ammonia is commonly used as a refrigerant, like Freon or R22. But the refrigerant should be entirely contained within the refrigeration system. There is nothing sinister about ammonia in a food processing plant, particularly if the product requires refrigeration or freezing. Both of these examples are simply scare tactics. Such tactics can be effective when bombarded upon persons who don¿t understand the technical aspects of a subject. The author goes on to bash the fast food industry, particularly McDonalds for being directly responsible for all the woes described. He next bashes the Republican Party at every opportunity as being indirectly responsible. The Republicans, the party of ¿Big Business¿ he thinks must have been beholden to the fast food guys for campaign money and made everything possible by gutting the FDA. I am not particularly fond of fast food myself, and I am not personally beholden to the Republican Party. But it bothers me that someone with such a limited grasp of technical matters can misinterpret facts so badly then put out very questionable conclusions as facts. It bothers me even more that no one reviewing such a piece of ¿yellow journalism¿ hasn¿t seen through these half truths and called the author¿s bluff. The sad thing is that some of the charges might be true. It¿s possible that there is more tainted meat out there, but this book has too many holes in it to make the case for me.
snyderhhannah More than 1 year ago
Eric Schlosser definitely exposed the dark side of the fast food industry in his novel Fast Food Nation. In writing this non-fiction book, Schlosser reveals the effects that fast food chains have on their employees, customers, and livestock, while also addressing the production process and corporate greed that comes along with fast food. The first section of the book is called “The American Way”, which mainly discusses the history of fast food in our society and how it has changed over the years. The second section is titled “Meat and Potatoes”, where the audience will gain insight into how the food is made and will learn some shocking secrets about fast food. Once I got to the second section I was definitely intrigued, but I found myself dozing off during the beginning of the novel  due to the boring historical facts. Although it was sometimes disturbing, I actually really enjoyed learning about fast food production process. The parts regarding the chemically created smells and the slaughterhouses especially sparked my interest; however, I am now hesitant to eat at fast food restaurants. Readers will forever think twice before ordering fast food again, which was probably Schlosser’s main goal. Schlosser educates American citizens and tries to protect them from obesity, but at the same time he bashes successful companies and the Republican party. On the other hand, I can appreciate the endless facts, interviews, statistics, surveys, and research done to complete the book. Many topics are addressed by Schlosser in the book, but anyone who eats fast food on a regular basis should give this book a try, so they know exactly what they are consuming. To learn more about the problems of obesity in America, I recommend also reading Food Fight. However, if you are more interested in the minimum wage-fast food-employee life aspect, I suggest picking out Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eye opening...
Guest More than 1 year ago
This guy didn't bother to organize himself before he put pen to paper. The book is chaotic, filled with anecdotes instead of facts, and drips with the author's apparent communistism. A total waste of money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I must admit, i was excited to read this book, thinking it would be something like 'Super Size Me.' However, as I progressed through the book, I was dismally disappointed. It starts off with details, that I found, had nothing to do with fast food. As it continues, the fast food portion comes into play bit by bit. The parts that tell of the slaughterhouses, and the ingredients in the food, etc... did interest me, but there was little of that. I also felt that the book was entirely one-sided. The points about minorities are true, but to me, it sounded as if Schlosser was saying that minorities and teenagers made up the fast food nation [workers and customers]. Dont get me wrong, teenagers and minorites do make up the majority of the working population at fast food restaurants, but when it comes to customers, where I live, Jacksonville FL, it seems like more adults, all different colors, eat out daily. just so you know i'm only 16. so please dont bash my review. I had to read this for AP Language Arts [Jr. in highschool].
Guest More than 1 year ago
In all honesty, I was greatly disappointed, and if the book was not required in my AP Human Geography class, I would have scrapped it from the beginning. Mr. Schlosser and I share a common dislike for fast food, and he did state some very interesting facts that I did not know about, but I found him to bevery redundant and boring. Nothing made me want to read on to the next chapter, even the one entitled 'what's in the meat'. I would not recommend this book to someone who gets bored easily, nor to someone interested in fast food.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What do fast cars, unions, and the kkk have to do with nutrition? Nothing that I can see. In my opinion this book has clearly bashed capatalism and individualism by wording personal opinions in a way that is unacceptable between the cover of a book that has nothing to do with the actual title. So what if Mr. Simplot started with nothing and made a few hundred million for himself? Isn't that the American way? A hefty section of the book is dedicated to Labor Unions and illegal immigrants, nothing nutritional there. The book was recommended reading from a nutrition teacher, go figure. In my opinion, if you take all the socialist propaganda pages out of this book and leave in the few references made to fast food and nutrition, the book would fit neatly into your shirt pocket. To bad a rating of zero stars was not available. Do not let the title of this book deceive you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is nothing more than an anti-meat, pro-animal rights, vegetarian propaganda. The author's whole point of the book (i.e. don't eat fast food) is very clear, and there is no need for the bunch of figures and statistics throughout the book to prove his point. Although a bit boring, his meticulous research into the dynamics of the fast food industry should be commended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book thinking I would get a fair and unbiased analysis of the fast food industry and the impact it had on society and the economy. The beginning chapters offered what I was looking for, but all was lost in later chapters with Schlosser revealed his bias against capitalism. Schlosser strays from providing unbiased analysis of his research to an all out assault on anyone who believes in a free market economy without unwarranted government intrusion. Sure the FDA should take food safety more seriously, but Schlosser goes way beyond making that point. In chapter 10 Schlosser refers to Mikhail Gorbachev as "the man who'd ended the Cold War...". Ronald Reagan led the United State of America to end the Cold War, not the communist dictator of a country now in shambles. This, more than anything else written by Schlosser revealed how extremely biased he is and his true motivation in writing the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really do hate books written by journalist's. Most of them regurgitate someone elses words and this book is no different. I decided against my better judgement to buy this book based on two friends recommendations... and now they are going to pay me back for the hours i spent reading this book! The book is written in a logical flowing manner... but i found myself blanking out through huge sections of the book... "blah blah blah... The houses seem not to have been constructed by hand but manufactured by some gigantic machine... blah blah blah... mcdonalds...blah blah blah soviet bombers... blah blah blah...USDA... blah blah blah... " Honestly... it didn't turn me off fast food- i enjoy being a part of the masses- a consumer... i enjoy marketing strategies and how ingenious they are... in fact i think i will go enjoy some e.coli 0157:h7 topped with some shigella between two sesame buns right now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hope the excerpt I read online was just a rough draft!! There were many typos and numerous grammatical errors. Who proofread this for the author anyway? While the text is interesting and informative in many ways, I would not buy this book as it appears to be written by someone who can't read and correct his own mistakes. It's dreadful what can get by an editor these days.
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a well-researched and very readable volume. The book isn't just about how a fast food diet is bad for you (well, duh, that much is obvious), but it also about all the processes that go into getting that Big Mac on your plate from the immigrant labor in beef factories in Colorado to the chemical flavors made in labs along the New Jersey Turnpike and so on. It's not all facts and figures; the book also full of individual's stories. It really makes you stop and think about the food you eat -- and it's not just for McDonald's customers. The movie of the same name is a fictional account of the facts contained in the book and also worth checking out.
brayzinski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amazing read that will make you think about how your food got from the pasture to you