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Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (P.S. Series)

Average Rating 4
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(33)

2 Star

(17)

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(21)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

21 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

Fast Food Nation - A High School Student's Perspective

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 While a bit outdated, the overall themes featured in the novel still hold relevan...
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 While a bit outdated, the overall themes featured in the novel still hold relevance in today's society and truly make a person think twice about going to fast food restaurants in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.

posted by Phil_Slender on January 3, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Strong Bias Hurst Otherwise Great Book

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. ...
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.

posted by WhyAmIUpSoLate on April 25, 2012

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    Eric Schlosser¿s book Fast Food Nation describes ¿the dark side¿

    Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation describes “the dark side” behind America’s fast food industry. The book starts off by explaining how the fast food industry came to be the American symbol. People wanted food faster, and they wanted familiarity. With that came the start of a whole new industry. The industry strived to perfect this new way of food service. As time went on, the food industry became a money making machine. Extreme measures were, and are, being taken to produce this food, measures that I wouldn’t have thought legal until I read this book.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Perfection!

    I got the book now and i cant stop! I am like a person that was born to read. This book is something i would never forget.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    To the previous review

    I have nothing against anyone who likes the warriors series, but frankly, I get pissed when I see warrior RP reviews. They're spam, and now I flag every one I see. The nook store is NOT a roleplaying website.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    To the review "stupid roleplaying cats"

    Okay. Im not part of this clan but clearly you dont get it. Have you ever even read Warriors? No? Didnt think so. So back off and mind your own buisness. If your annoyed then stop reading the reviews, dude! You cant say something is annoying if you chose to read it all the time! So mind your own buisness. Heres a tip; dont read a revie that says "Cinderstar" or something like that, okay? You need to stop being so judgemental.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Incredibly Insightful

    Eric Schlosser poignantly and unequivocally explains where America's waistlines and health status are headed. I had no idea that the food system in America is so rigged and designed in a way that put the best interests of the consumer at the bottom of the totem pole. Read this book, adjust your eating habits, political party affiliation, and overall beliefs accordingly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    great read

    very good read with a ton of great info!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2011

    Highly Recommended - Fantastic!

    Talk about EYE-OPENING! Everyone should read this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2011

    Great Book. No doubt it was a best seller.

    In Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser felt the need to expose the fast food industry for their lies. He argues that fast food is the leading cause of obesity in America and those companies will do anything to keep high profits without ever considering the side effects. Schlosser's targeted audience is every fast food consumer and his argument serves the purpose of informing the audience of the dangers associated with eating fast food.He provided great examples that support the argument and did well on exposing the fast food industry for the evil it is. The author also did an excellent job making the book appealing to the audience and with the structure of the book. I strongly recommend this book it not only entertains the reader, but also teaches the reader that fast food is a business and it will do what is in the best interest of the company rather than the consumer.

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  • Posted February 3, 2011

    Loved It

    I particularly enjoyed the social changes that occurred with the spread of the fast food industry. This is must reading for anyone interested in how we live.

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  • Posted January 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Eye opening

    I loved this book even more the second time I read it. Everything you wanted to know about what you eat when you go out to eat is in this book. It will change the way you eat.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    I want to shoot this book. It was a dirty rotten @@)&#@$

    I thought this book was both good and bad. It was good in that now I dont want to ever eat fast food or support big business. But it was bad in that it was incredibly boring and a very slow book. I also thought they used language that was to complicated for regular moffos like me:)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    recommend it

    when reading this book i thought the information given was pretty interesting and found reading it pretty fun. all the information and the statistics given were the thing that made it interesting like i never would figure that more people that work at fast food places die then police officers every year. when reading the book i thpought they fought a good arguement towards fast food places. they explained everything from the slaughter houses that their meat comes from to the people that work there. in the end i thought it was a pretty good book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2010

    Great Book- very informative!

    Fast Food Nation is a very informing text on the corruptions of lagge corporations in America. Schlosser's purpose of this book was to inform the reader of the dangers of big corporations. Not only on the people who work in the factories and resturants of these big corporations in danger but the people who consume the food produced by them are also in danger of, not only obesity, but sickness too. Schlosser did a very good job of achieving his purpose. he fully researched the topic and compilled all of this knowledge in the book we have today. Although the mass abundance of facts he used were a little overpowering and mundane at times but they really help you to see how big these problems really are. The way he also uses anecdotes that the average person can relate to helps reinforce that these companies are destroying America. One example would be kenny Dobbins a man that worked his butt off for IBP for 16 years and was then fired when he was in the hospital. IBP did not even call to notify him that he no longer had a job. Kenny hurt his back and came right back to work. He hurt his arm and went to cleaning. he crushed his heel and went back to work. This company destroyed his marriage. Kenny was a huge spokesperson for the company against unions and through the end he was fired. This shows just how bad these big corporations are hurting America. In the end I thought that this was a really good book that achieved its purpose.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2010

    Eye-opening report that will make you think twice about eating out again

    Not just a great book, but a life-changing book. It's been several years since I've read it, but I still cannot bring myself to eat at a McDonald's-type fast food place, for health as well as moral reasons.

    Schlosser describes in great detail just what it is you support every time you give your money to a corrupt company as influential as McDonald's. They engage in a number of unhealthy and unethical practices to keep their profits at record highs. I don't want to name all of the bad policies facilitated by the fast food industry, but here are a some of the most important ones we contribute to every time we eat fast food:

    * The unhygienic and inhumane treatment of cows and chickens - Animals kept in tight, enclosed spaces don't get the exercise or fresh air they need to be healthy. The natural food source of cattle is grass, yet they are fed a low quality corn meal mixed with hooves, horns, stomach lining and other cattle remains from previous slaughters. Similarly, chickens get fed some grain and the stuff left at the bottom of the cages of earlier chickens (shredded newspaper and feces) mixed with feathers, claws, beaks and other unused chicken parts. Schlosser notes that feeding animals feces and the remains of other animals have been linked to the spread of diseases like Mad Cow Disease and E. Coli.

    * A substandard quality of food - Animals eating the trash mentioned above plus being pumped full of anti-biotics and hormones (to create the semblance of health) creates low quality food eaten by millions of Americans, which contributes to poor health, food poisoning and spread of disease. Not to mention that random tests at fast food places found that there are feces in your hamburger.

    * Dangerous and unsanitary working conditions at meat factories and slaughterhouses - The safety standards and worker's benefits are very low at the factories where meat is processed, creating an environment with a high number of work-related injuries and little help for the injured employees. A number of meat factories bus illegal immigrants in from Mexico to work in these factories, who are provided with even fewer benefits and compensation than American workers. These unskilled laborers are frequently injured and contribute to the contamination of meat because of their low training.

    * Pressure from food corporations on Congress to keep worker wages down, and consequently, profits high - Fast food companies seek to make food preparation more and more automated, to be able to hire workers and train them as little as possible. This creates an "expendable worker" and nearly unlimited supply of employees who can be easily and cheaply replaced.

    Reading this book made me realize how much damage I was causing in supporting fast food restaurants and the infrastructure that uses poor people and forces low-quality and unhealthy food on us. McDonald's and the like will never get another dollar of my cash to damage this country further.

    I haven't given up on meat by any means, I just make sure that I'm eating animals that were treated well, fed real food, not pumped full of antibiotics, and handled properly when slaughtered to avoid contamination. To eat any other way is just too scary to comprehend.

    [Disclosure: This review also appears on FingerFlow.com, a site for review and discussion of creative works.]

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

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    I was shocked!

    Ignorance is bliss. It would have been so much easier to not know what information is proclaimed and proven in this book. I will never be the same, look at our foods that we as americans take for granted the same or be able to eat out at any big of the national food chains again without a couple of thoughts going thru my head. Where did my food come from? Was it grown to nurish me or just fill me by the cheapest way possible? What decisions were made to grow this food? Where they made based on a wholesome outlook or based on a profitablilty outlook, there is no inbetween? Like I said, the book makes you think about where your food comes from and what did 'they'(big corporate food growers) do to the food to get it to you the cheapest way possible. Ignorance is bliss BUT not a healthy and sometimes a life threatening attititude if you embrace it(ignorance).

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    BETTER THAN I THOUGHT

    I never thought I would fall in love with one of my assigned readings in my AP class but I did. Fast Food Nation is an awesome book filled with facts and statements that are absolutely true and will make you think before you enter a fast food resturant. All ten chapters gives the reader an inside view into how fast food is made and how it affects American's lives. We have no idea how much affect we have in the the way we process food and what we choose to eat. The world is a time line that can be written by looking at agriculture and people's consumptions. I really enjoyed this book. While I was reading it, I told my parents and friends facts that interested me in the book. They listened to me and are now thinking about what they eat and drink...well most of the time. I'm only one person. I can't change their eating habits in two weeks, but America and the world needs to be shown what fast food resturants are hiding. This book will tell you and you should read it because even if you haven't heard about it, this book is one book that you need to read and buy before you forget its title.

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  • Posted March 23, 2010

    Ashlee, a student at the Gereau Center

    The book Fast Food Nation is an expose full of factual evidence to show the rise and ethic fall of the fast food industry and the other involved industries. The fast food business was started by the McDonalds brothers who built a speedy service restaurant designed as a carhop restaurant. Later, they changed their restaurants completely. They put in a drive thru and changed the kitchen to allow room for more food and faster service. They made it so they only needed one worker to do one thing so they could cut down on training and salaries. This started the decline of the fast food business. The book not only discusses the food but also the business and ethic points of the fast food industry. The book uses alliteration, allusions, and appeals to emotion, or pathos to show the demise of all things fast food. An example of alliteration in the book would be the section, Kid Kustomers in chapter 2, Your Trusted Friends. An example of an allusion in the book would be the title of chapter 7, Cogs in the Great Machine. This title refers to a phrase in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. The book contains many appeals to pathos, or appeals to emotion. The most used appeal to emotion would be when Schlosser discusses the slaughter of animals, mostly cattle. The best part of Fast Food Nation is simply all of the information. The book is full of many facts that the average person in today's society does not know about the fast food industry. I won't spoil it and tell you anymore specific facts. The worst part of the book are all the parts that talk about the mistreatment of the farmers and animals in the industry. The animals are slaughtered inhumanely and the farmers are terribly underpaid and abused by the companies that own their contracts. I would recommend this book to everyone because they need to know where their food comes from.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

    N. Aberle McIntyre 6

    Fast Food Nation is a book about many fast food franchises in the US. Eric Schlosser writes about how they got started, the road to the top they took, and most importantly, he talks of how they've found ways to cut how much they spend to keep the business going. He travels around the country to personal mansions, museums, ranches, and slaughter houses to uncover what goes on behind the scenes. The book also talks of how the companies put artificial taste into its food. He has the dirt on almost every fast food franchises I it's an enjoyable read finding these things out.

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

    Thought provoking

    Fast Food Nation, the dark side of the All-American Meal, really got me thinking about the food I put in my mouth when I enter a fast food restaurant. It is common knowledge that fast food is not very nutritional, but now that I know where it comes from I visualize it much more. The vivid imagery that Schlosser uses to describe Southern California during the 20th Century shows his talent to make the reader visualize what he is trying to convey. The part about this book that really interested me the most was not the controversial issues of meat packing, loss of family values, or commercialization of America, but the history of McDonald's and the fast food industry. It seems amazing to me how rapidly the fast food industry changed the American diet and in such short of time. There is also a plethora of new information that I learned while reading. I had no prior knowledge that McDonald's relationship with Disney went all the way back to when Ray Kroc and Walt Disney were in World War II together. Schlosser also went in depth on why fast food tastes the way it does through explaining his time he spent with the flavor industry. The book also touched on some rather heart wrenching matters such as the extinction of the all American cowboy. His book was not a series of statistics with no purpose each statistic he gave had a reason behind it and was analyzed properly. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the truth behind the greasy tasting food that has become such an ingrained part of our American culture.

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  • Posted December 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    This book is very insightful. Everyone should read it!

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