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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Happy Meal in sight!
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...
Published on Dec 31 2004 by Dianne Worley

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great journalism, poor economic analysis
Eric Schlosser does a phenomenal job of recounting and reporting - he is at heart a journalist. However, once the book moves beyond straight reporting, and makes an attempt at economic analysis, that's where the book falls apart. Mr. Schlosser, unfortunately, is not a trained economist. The book provides wonderful anecdotes and brings to life conditions in the fast...
Published on March 12 2004


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5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic Read, Nov. 20 2002
A fantastic read that is well researched and insightful. I remember the smell of Greely, CO when I would drive up there. I would hit you 7 miles from the town! Anyhoo, I digress. Go out and buy this book from a local bookstore (sorry Amazon, you can't have all of the business) and sit down a read it with your next Big Mac.
Also, check out Troy McClure's visit to a slaughterhouse with little Timmy on the Simpsons. Truly a TV moment to remember!
All this talk has made me hungry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly Refreshing, Nov. 19 2002
By 
1978J "1978J" (Cleveland Hts., OH United States) - See all my reviews
There are tons of things that we tend to take for granted around us. Few should concern us as much as the details that surround the food we may be eating every day.
Eric Schlosser did an incredible job of collecting tons of dirt on the fast food industry. This book takes its readers of a shocking and endlessly informative journey through a vast and often surprisingly strange world. Filled with historical references, privileged inside information, and endless statistics, Schlosser manages to satisfy the mind on many different levels.
Written in true muckraking fashion: blunt, informative and critical.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a book that informs and stimulates thought.
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5.0 out of 5 stars We eat this?, Nov. 15 2002
By 
Alfred L. Strickland "Entropy" (Panama City, Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
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After reading this book, I'd read anything that Eric Schlosser wrote, because this guy does his research. If there is any information on the modern American eating habits, and the contents of our food, and the manufacturing of it, he checked it out. He looks at the history of fast food, an extremely American invention.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Important and scary, Nov. 11 2002
By 
Robert Adler "science writer & author" (Santa Rosa, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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When I picked up Fast Food Nation, with its bag of fries and smiling cartoon faces on the cover, I expected a piece on the effects of fast food on our waistlines and health. What I got was far more--an intense, well-researched, and extremely effective wake-up call concerning the distorting and often destructive effects of the American fast food industry on our domestic economy, homes, schools, farms, ranches, and workers, now rapidly being imposed on the rest of the world.
Eric Schlosser's review of the history of the fast food industry reminded me of the enormous changes that have occurred in America since the 1950s, many of them due to or inspired by fast food. Cities and suburbs were not always just one identical strip mall after another, children were not the targets of endless marketing campaigns, most families could get by with only one full-time worker, schools did not provide kids with junk food and subject them to advertising, and we didn't read about nationwide outbreaks of E-coli and salmonella. The effects of the fast food industry and the franchising movement it inspired are so pervasive that they are essentially invisible, especially to young people. It takes a book like Fast Food Nation to make us take a hard look at what is going on.
Schlosser goes far beyond what we can see with our own eyes or learn from the newspapers. He did his homework for this book, traveling the country, interviewing everyone from the leaders in the industry to the immigrant meatpackers who risk their lives and limbs for minimum wages in hellish killing and packing factories. Fully aware of the fast food industry's tendency to attack any critic with every legal tool available, including the infamous "veggie libel laws," Schlosser documents every one of his assertions in depth; he provides 55 pages of end notes, and five fine-print pages of bibliography.
We all know that fast food is making us fat. What I didn't realize is the extent to which the fast food industry, with its enormous financial clout, gluttony for low-cost meat, chicken, potatoes and labor, its eagerness to suck millions from Washington and from state and local governments in the form of subsides and tax breaks, and its lobbying-protected union busting and dismantling of workers safety rules and enforcement, has affected not just our landscape and diet, but our economy and lifestyle as well. Schlosser shows how it has led to the growth of giant food processors and factory farms at the expense of independent farmers, ranchers and packers. It has led to the importation of large numbers of immigrant workers who live (and often die) to provide us with our burgers. Millions of teenagers are lured away from school to staff fast food outlets, again at minimum wages and given minimal training. And, Schlosser shows, the fast food industry is now exporting the entire system abroad. I now understand why a tour bus driver in Scotland pointed to a McDonald's outlet and announced to us, "and there's the American Embassy."
Fast food Nation is an angry, frightening and eye-opening book. Read it before you grab your next burger and fries.
Robert Adler, author.
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2.0 out of 5 stars There�s sumthin' funny in the cow sandwich!, Sept. 19 2002
Hamburgers come from chopped up cows. Chicken sandwiches are made out of chopped up chickens. French fries are, you guessed it, chopped up potatoes fried in lots of grease.
I have discovered these and many more startling facts in Eric Schlosser's book "Fast Food Nation".
It seems to me that the author spares no expense in his detailed expose' on the shocking details that lurk behind the iron cutrtain of the corporate fast food industry. This book describes in great detail how he travels the country talking to different people to learn their industry secrets. With his journey now concluded, he has decided to share this remarkable story.
The core message: Eating fast food is bad for you.
I know now that in addition to it being a bad idea to consume fast food, it is also not very good to work for a company associated with the fast food industry. Workers in meat packing plants have gross jobs. They get blood on their clothes and sometimes cut themselves by accident.
I get the feeling by reading this book that, perhaps, I am supposed to find this hard to believe. So... maybe I'm a little ahead of the pack, but for many years I have (honestly) suspected that a slaughterhouse is not a nice place to spend the afternoon. In fact, I have witnessed firsthand that at a rapid pace they chop up nice animals there (with no regard for them whatsoever). Eventually, they slice and dice them into little single serving pieces. These pieces are fried up with cheese added (perhaps special sauce) and consumed by the millions daily. There must be a huge demand for it.
Maybe I am a genius then to have already discovered that eating fried red meat, fried chicken or fried potatoes everyday can be bad for your health. Seriously, I can see what the author is trying to say in this book. But, for the most part, he tells the "obvious" truths.
If you eat a lot of burgers and fries, and you're feeling sick and overweight and don't know why... go ahead and read this book. Otherwise, you might flip through it to read the gross parts just for fun... it has the most disgusting descriptions of slaughterhouse realties since Sinclair's "The Jungle"... favorites like: A lake of cow you-know-what, rivers of blood flowing down the drain and a heap of cow guts to be found in many nooks and the occasional cranny.
I give this book two stars. One for being written with acceptable grammer, and one for being sometimes gross, which amused me no little.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sworn off fast food, Sept. 11 2002
By 
Michael K. Wheeler (Anaheim, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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If you are looking for dirty tales from the kitchen, then pass this book up. However, if you are looking for an in depth analysis (expose, really), then this is worth your time. Written in the vein of The Jungle and Silent Spring, Fast Food Nation disects, not just fast food restaurants, but the industry as a whole. From french fry manufacturers, to cattle farmers, to slaughterhouses, Schlosser delves into the side of the fast food industry that we never see. Of particular interest are the chapters dealing with the brutal working conditions that slaughterhouse employees must endure and the safety violations committed by large meat-packing firms. Schlosser is not afraid to name names, and you will be shocked to read how much control fast food companies exert over meatpackers, how horribly fast food companies treat their employees, how unkindly these companies regard their customers, and how lives have been ruined by the power and authority of fast food companies.
If, after reading this book, you choose to patronize fast food places (and he does identify companies that are worthy of our business), then at least you will be making an informed decision.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Too Much to Digest, Sept. 7 2002
By 
Brian Watts (Orlando) - See all my reviews
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I thought this book would be an interesting read. Some parts are, but the rest of the book just goes on and on and on. Schlosser needed to do more editing on this book.
The book had anti-business tones sprinkled throughout and the author believes that the Fast Food Industry is responsible for peoples health problems and obeseity. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Whoever doesn't know that fast food is not very good for you is quite ignorant.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Feels right at gut feel level but soft on logic and facts, Aug. 12 2002
By 
Antoine J. Bachmann (Vandoeuvres, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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Schlosser's book does capture many of the worries consumers have had for a long time - is fast food bad for me, do I like neighborhoods full of fast food joints, is it right that so many people work on minimum wage with no social cover, etc.
He uses the example of the fast food industry to worry about potential excesses of Capitalism - and this also resonates with what many of us might feel. It is not just fast-food. For example too many affordable cars mean permanent traffic jams, with very adverse effects on the environment, or the use we can make of our time. For example affordable clothing means sweat shops and exploited workers in emerging countries. And so on.
However even though his broad intent is interesting, in my view almost nothing of what he "reveals" was unknown to the public. So Mr. Schlosser book does not really add much to the party.
But as I said, it does capture quite well the spirit of the times. OK to read for anyone with enough free time, certainly not a must read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Food Nation Dropout, April 3 2001
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When I was in junior high school, I read "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. At that time I was developing my own ideas about diet and what I should (and should not) be eating. Sinclair's book detailing the failings of the processed meat industry at the turn of the century caused me to turn towards a diet based more on whole foods, and less on processed foods.
I had thought, until now, that the American processed food industry had much improved since the time of Sinclair's writing. However, upon reading Eric Schlosser's book "Fast Food Nation" I realize that I have been duped. I am no vegetarian, although I respect those who are. I don't belong to any organized anti-business, anti-corporate or pro-environment group. But I am a consumer, who is very concerned about feeding her family healthy and safe foods. I had long ago given up frequenting fast food restaurants on a regular basis, but I thought that an occasional visit was still okay.
What I found from reading Mr. Schlosser's book is that what we consumers had thought was safe, inexpensive "convenience" food is in fact oftentimes high-risk food that comes to us at great cost in terms of our health, the environment, and even our political, social and economic structures.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is concerned about not only what we and our families consume, but also what happens to those people who produce, process and serve our food and what happens within the larger environmental and economic arena where this consumption takes place.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for citizens of McWorld, Feb. 5 2001
By 
Sean Montgomery (Toronto, ON Canada) - See all my reviews
This is most compelling book I've picked up in years. Every chapter, filled with fascinating, eye-opening stories, could have become a separate book. This is the story not just of the fast food industry, but of corporate America, and its relentless pursuit of profit uber alles. Schlosser touches upon franchising; Disney; Coca Cola; corporate infiltration of schools; motivational speakers; the history of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Plauen, Germany; P.R. campaigns; the destruction of America's trolley car systems; the plight of traditional ranchers; lobby groups and the buying-off of politicians; how products get their flavours; international resentment towards American globalization; and corporate hatred of labour unions. And he manages to keep juggling all of these balls in a totally assured and engrossing manner. Be warned: cynics will be left feeling even more cynical. The chapters detailing how beef is brought to market are especially chilling, and will have you wondering about everything you eat. Schlosser also manages to accomplish all of this without coming across as a finger-pointer or ranter. He presents both sides of the issue (even the opinion of ranchers - really straight-up guys - who argue that cows not slaughtered are just picked off by coyotes and vultures anyway). But the information he conveys here is important. The world of consumerism seems to present limitedless choices, and yet we often don't know much about the products we're choosing. Which is how the producers want it, since they fear the truth would scare customers away.
And this is where we come to the ultimate message of the book: however powerful these big companies may seem, consumers can bring them to their knees with the simple act of keeping their wallets shut. In an age where the power of governments has given way to the power of corporations, this is the most important political, democratic act available to us. And this is a message which everyone really needs to hear. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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