Great read. It's "The Jungle" for the late 20th / early 21st century. This book has spawned many other looks into the fast food craze along with the movie "Super Size Me" and another great book, "The China Study". They made a film adaptation to this book that I thought was awful. The book is much more engaging. For those that thought it was dry, well, I've plowed through a lot of text books that almost burned my eyes out, so this book kept my interest throughout. I too, have not eaten fast food since 2003, when I read this book. Over four years ago now. Worth reading!
Written by Eric Schlosser, noted for his journalistic work on NPR, he does an amazing job at uncovering the hidden truths about our food system in the United States, its lack of regulation and safety measures, and how fast food is the cumulation of this food epidemic. You'll never look at hamburger or a food recall the same way again. Our government, with legislation and enforcement heavily based on powerful lobbyists, has done a fantastic job at putting the public at ease to think they are in control. However, you will quickly discover that we are barely a half-step away from Sinclair's Chicago meatpacking horrors depicted in "The Jungle". This book is one not to miss!
Interesting if skewed book. It was recommended to me as an "eye opener" but from my place in life as a small farmer, I saw it as a one-sided, sensation seeking work. It caused me to check out a few facts and it created much discussion in my home and for that I think that it is definatly worth a read. Just don't believe everything you read. Not everything about the food industry is evil. Much, which is where the changes need to be made, but not all.
James O. (bookmarks) reviewed Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal on
Helpful Score: 3
Plow through the beginning if you find it dry - there are payoffs later in the book. A must read. I suggest actually giving this book as a high-school graduation present - a lot of life lessons can be found in here, and not to mention it might put these young folks off fast food for good.
I have not eaten a fast food hamburger since reading this book in 2003. I have eaten other fast food, but I won't touch the burgers because of the slaughterhouse stories. The chapter on food scent was absolutely incredible.
A fascinating expose about how fast foods all began and what it has become.
Especially interesting to me was the mention of the town where I live and
the story about the slaughterhouse that once operated here. I went to find
the building. It has been closed for many years. In other places, the
slaughterhouses are still operating full force. I highly reccommend this
book to anyone who wants to know what really goes on. I give it a five.
Although a bit dated, this book is still highly informative and interesting. In the spirit of The Omnivore's Dilemma, but with more focus on the impact the fast food industry has on its workers and farmers, especially poor and often illegal, immigrants. A must read for anyone concerned about the safety of the food they eat. A real eye-opener!
This book is not for everyone. When I received it as a wishlisted book I skimmed it, questioned it, looked up some editorial reviews (where some reviewers believe some of the facts are skewed) and sent it on to the next person in queue. I would have preferred a book that was more balanced and not leaning toward one specific political side--not to mention the fact that I couldn't get past the slaughter stories.
Man, this is a serious study, not a pop article series. I read back and forth through it, as it was in places a slog, knew it would be an eye-opener, and it was. Enjoyed the history of how some of the chains got started and the people who started them. Huge reference section in the back, everything is documented. He has had a definite influence on how the fast food industry prepares and presents its wares. My daughter in Holland says, Mom do you notice in pictures taken in the U.S., there are so many fat people, they don't care, do they?
Pam B. (bratgirl) - reviewed Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal on
Helpful Score: 1
The author is very honest and straight forward about our nation's fast food industry. It will definitely make you think. There are some gross parts; by gross I mean yucky, not an amount. There are a few descriptions (for lack of a better word) that are not for those with a weak stomach. Overall, however, it's an interesting read.
Janie M. reviewed Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal on
Helpful Score: 1
This is one of my favorite books, I have bought several copies of it and sent it to friends and family! I think many people aren't entirely aware nor educated about what they are consuming and it's something that we should be informed about. We really do have a huge disconnect from our food and it's actually really sad in my opinion. I've never been a big fan of fast food or hamburgers but after reading this book I will not ever eat fast food/factory farmed food again period! Great read and I recommend it to everyone!!! Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan is also an excellent book that is along these lines!
"Fast Food Nation" is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Although the sections on the history of fast food and its more successful chains are interesting, the book as a whole is more of a textbook than an entertaining read.
Kevin B. reviewed Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal on
Helpful Score: 1
Reviews that suggest that this book is unfair to the fast food/agribusiness is largely exaggerated. In fact, at the beginning of the book, it had made me crave fast food. He also provides some anecdotal evidence of how fast food has improved some people's lives.
Scholsser does a fine job gathering statistics to support his claims. Overall, this book is very well researched and biased towards the truth. He does make personal assertions towards the end of the book, especially in the epilogue, but nothing that is not supported by the 200+ pages before he makes them.
i bet you know the lady who does your hair, your nails, your mechanic.... what about the people who "provide" your food???
look at it like this-
if you would not let a stranger watch your child- why would you let several hundred money hungry morally bankrupt people feed your child???????
this book will change the way you eat and will change the way you think about business in america. it is extremely well researched and documented.
it is scary to think of the power, control, and influence these companies have over the government. i fear it will take many tragedies and many, many more deaths for something meaningful to be done to ensure the safety of the food we eat.
Reminded me why im a vegetarian. Was so good that my little sister stopped eating fast food. Great book, but graphic. Took me a few times to get past the first chapters, but once i made it through, i couldnt put it down. Very educational.
This is a book that will actually change your life. Schlosser offers an excellent dissection of the fast food industry, from the farmers who grow the potatoes in french fries to the high schoolers who man the counters. Although parts of this book will make your stomach turn, Schlosser does not resort to scare tactics to make his point; instead he writes a carefully researched thesis on what's wrong with America's most popular native cuisine. And, it's a great motivator for those New Year's diet resolutions!
Megan C. (rambleon) reviewed Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal on
While Schlosser is a talented journalist, he certainly slants things in the direction he desires. The facts and statistics are massaged and presented specifically to boost his arguments (but then again, who doesn't do that?). It is a frustrating read for anyone supportive of agribusiness or economic progress, and is very liberally biased.
This is a must read for anyone who eats fast food and wants to know all that goes on behind the scenes to bring you you not-so "happy meal" ;) It's very well researched and though very alarming doesn't resort to preaching.
A good book for a business class or if you are looking to become vegetarian as it shows the worst side of most meat companies and how they come up with the meat in most of your meals.disgusting and graphic.
very interesting view of the beginnings of McDonald's and the fast food industry, how the company has evolved in terms of economic clout; the abuses and dangers of the meat packing industry is revealed. You'll never look at hamburger the same way again!
This book was nothing like the movie! It was much better. It contained a historical perspective on fast food and proceeded from the first drive-ins on to mega factory farming and its results. This was one of the best books I've read and highly recommend it to anybody interested in non-fiction and improving the way we as a society eat.
May change someones' life, but not mine...the guy who wrote this, is just as much of a capatalist pig as the rest of them, just like Michale moore, even worse than the corproations they try to put down, prostitiutes in the worst sense of the word, garbage reading IMO
I'm interested in the food industry and in the politics of food, so I guess I was predisposed to like this book. Although I consider myself a relatively well-informed food consumer, Schlosser goes into a level of detail that surpassed my casual reading so far. I learned about some of the history of the food production industry, such as the industrial trusts that conspired to end small businesses in the 1920s, and had to be broken by government action -- only to replaced almost a hundred years later by a few gigantic companies that have a near-monopoly on the industry. I learned about food flavour additives, and the real difference between natural and artificial flavours. I learned about how dangerous meat processing really is for the people who work in the plants. Most of what Schlosser researched is, obviously, relevant to all the food that most people eat through all channels, not just fast food. This book is more of a study of modern food science and the food industry than it is of fast food specifically (although the chapter on the effects of the largest restaurant chains on the labour market did apply mostly to fast food chains).
If we are going to compare this book to other works that came after it (most reviewers compare it to Supersize Me), I would compare it to The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which picks up where this book leaves off. I like this book more, personally, because of the level of research. Because I already don't eat fast food, this was a good review of the effects of capitalism's dark shadow, monopoly, on the food chain. Pollan's book takes this idea even further, exploring the same trends as they influence even seemingly healthy foods. Recommended.
I've always heard about this book and finally I read it and wow! I am blown away! The author does an incredible job at laying out the glory days where hard work, elbow grease, determination and fairness is what got these first trailblazers off the ground and hamburgers became a staple of the American diet and way. Then the gruesome details which he seems to explain in a mostly non-bias way , one gets the feel he is not trying to sell vegetarianism - more to the point of the unsanitary conditions of the factories and the diseases of the food. He explains what big industry has done to the American farmer and how the unsanitary meats, chemicals and processing has poisoned the world. He explains above all the affect this type of diet has had on the youth- all youth of every country there is fast food. This is an atrocity and a shame that to this day nothing is being done about the greed and filth of these monster companies. Read at your own risk - you may do something passionate and boycott the bastards!
A very dissapointing read. It was incredibly dry, for one thing. More importantly though the author seems to have done all of his research with the predetermined idea that everything in the industry must be bad. This results in a terribly skewed viewpoint throughout the book. Although the fast-food giants are far from faultless he takes it to a somewhat ridiculous extent. Also, he seems to have an intense hatred for Walt Disney - I have yet to understand why or how he even managed to include it in this book, but it seems to pop up with alarming regularity. I'm afraid that I cannot recommend it.