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Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal Paperback – 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006116139X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061161391
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,043 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,242,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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First Sentence
CARL N. KARCHER is one of the fast food industry's pioneers. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Worley on Dec 31 2004
Format: Paperback
Once in a while, journalists do what journalists are supposed to do - look at the mundane in broader scope, changing our thinking on something. Eric Schlosser has accomplished that in this sweeping work. There is no way I can ever waltz into a Wendy's or McDonald's and enjoy a burger again. The cost of this cheap food is expensive beyond belief.
I had recently become very ill with campylobacteriosis. I was contacted by a gent from the public health department, trying to track down what I had eaten and where. He told me that a lot of the fresh commercial poultry has salmonella and campylobacter jejuni. I consider myself fortunate; a week of antibiotics cleared it up - had I been elderly or had a compromised immune system, it could have been fatal.
Schlosser's book reveals what is in the food. E. Coli O157:H7, and Lysteria Monocytogenes (found in beef due to fecal contamination) make what I had look like a walk in the park. His description of Alex Donley's death during the Jack In The Box E-Coli outbreak in 1993 is unsparing in its brutality - portions of the child's brain had liquified!
As other reviewers have pointed out, he takes us from the humble hot dog stand to the global picture. The most surreal parts of the book for me were the flavour factory, and the horrendous conditions at the meat packing plants. The effect of a few companies controlling so much of agriculture is frightening - it has become factory farming. Animal abuse, slave labour conditions, government grants lavished on "training" for unskilled work, dumped into the pockets of the corporation, and what is actually in the meat are presented in an easy to read format. He presents his facts and forces the reader to examine them. His book makes you think.
He does give credit where it is due.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jason Koulouras on Aug. 15 2004
Format: Paperback
An amazing piece of critical literature and explanation of the economic ramifications of the chain, fast food and franchise manias that have swept the Americas and globally as well. This book has significantly impacted my way of thinking about chains and franchises and has changed my spending habits back towards the mom and pop independents where possible. An excellent read, well worth the time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Evelyn C. Graeff on Jan. 7 2003
Format: Paperback
I think everyone in America should read this book. It is an excellent account of the rise of fast food in America. It gives you a behind the scenes look at the quality of the food served at fast food chains, the corporate stronghold, the meatpacking industry, and many other insights into the business. The impact of fast food on our society and others is huge. The book was thought provoking and has definitely changed my viewpoint about eating fast food. America has to rethink it's eating habits, and eliminating fast food will certainly make all the difference in the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sohrab Ismail-Beigi on Sept. 10 2002
Format: Paperback
Frankly, this book is marvelous. Read it.
The book is centered on the fast food industry: how it works, where it came from, where it is going, what it has done to American society (and now increasingly the global one), etc. The book is full of documented facts. In addition, it is full of great and fascinating history: the growth of the West on the 20th century, transformation of agriculture, food processing, potatoes, beef ranchers and processors, advertising directed at children, Disney and anticommunist hysteria, fast food franchising, labor relations, exploitation of child/teenage labor, where the flavor of most foods comes from, and so on. Each chapter deal with particular aspects but all chapters hang together nicely.
I found two things to be quite impressive: (1) the clarity and depth of the factual documentation of what happened and is happening. This is simply a great book because you LEARN so many things. (2) The author is, in my opinion, balanced and not a whiner. This is particularly clear in his treatment of the historical aspects as the contradictions of US society are laid out in this particular case: the good and bad about private entrepreneurs, the pluses and minuses of a fast food system that provides unhealthy food and low wages but also provides playgrounds and toys and a social environment, the role of the government in subsidizing and/or regulating, etc.
I felt the author tended to show some anger and frustration on a few issues: he takes sides against the fast food companies on issues regarding SEVERE labor exploitation particularly of the poor and immigrants, easily avoidable and extremely dangerous work conditions in meat processing, and grave lack of food safety and sabotaging of the food safety system by the companies and their hired politicians.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Carey on July 20 2002
Format: Paperback
Eric Schlosser analyzes modern America through the lens of fast food, and what he reveals is completely engrossing, shocking, and infuriating. He begins with a history of the industry, how McDonald's and other chains came to be, and illustrates how various social climates encouraged the rapid growth and expansion of franchises. By going inside a present-day slaughter house, Schlosser paints an unforgettable picture of the never-ending slaughter of cattle in conditions that are truly shocking, horrifying, and nauseating. Perhaps just as important as all of the problems he reveals, Schlosser also includes his ideas about how to change everything he finds as problematic, offering concrete solutions instead of simply identifying all that is wrong.
Just how important and utterly fascinating Fast Food Nation is might not be immediately apparent based on a description of the subject. Schlosser, however, focuses his book very carefully to avoid tackling a topic beyond comprehension, choosing Colorado as emblematic of the current state of the industry - and the chilling effect on our school system, believe it or not. And he balances out his factual passages with anecdotes about ranchers, fast food magnates, restaurant employees, slaughter house workers, franchise owners, and so forth. Schlosser's skill as a writer is evident in the way that he maintains control over all of the information he includes; he jumps, at times, between early 20th century California, post-war Germany, and modern Colorado seamlessly and effortlessly.
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