Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad That s a lengthy list of charges, but here Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.Schlosser s myth shattering survey stretches from California s subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many fast food s flavors are concocted Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate back cover Schlosser takes us on a crash course in American history, and it all starts with McDonalds At the same time that Ray Kroc was envisioning how McDonalds could change the world and make him rich , Eisenhower was overseeing the construction of the superhighway system Almost immediately, fast food restaurants began mushrooming on the edges of freeway entrances, and America was never the same Fast food isn t just unhealthy, its destroying our culture Instead of looking around at our beautiful environment, we see mostly urban sprawl gigantic neon signs, and cookie cutter subdivisions Not only does this loss of beauty affect our souls, our standard of living has gone down Gone are many good jobs Meatcutter jobs that were part of the middle classes are now mainly occupied by illegal immigrants who are so desperate they will risk losing their fingers or their lives in these dangerous, difficult jobs And what has happened to the livelihood of farmers is a national shame Being that this book is 20 years old, there is reason for optimism Slow food has become a movement Organic foods are sold in every grocery store But we still have to make the choice The choice of what world we wish to live in The temptations to stop for fast food are still there But improvements that Schlosser was dreaming of are happening, and I recommend this book because these gory details and tragic histories could freeze into our brains and be a fit reminder to bypass these common and convenient foods and begin to make changes in our lives The history of these companies is important to know They cared about keeping their pockets lined, at the expense of their workers At the expense of peoples lives. I thought that this book was going to be like Super size Me only in book form Not that the author would eat McDonalds everyday but that he would talk mostly about the unhealthiness of fast food I was wrong.The author barely touches the fast food is full of fat and fattiness deal He mainly talks about the greed, power, and evilness of fast food companies I would read this book in the mornings as i drank my coffee and I would get so mad at how only a few people can make so many people miserable I would cry at the working conditions of the meat industry and trust me, i m not crying over the cows it s the workers that have it so bad that i just want to take them all away from that horrible job and give them all sacks of money and comfortable chairs to sit on He discusses the ranchers, the feedlots, the slaughter houses, and the packaging companies He talks about the potato farms He talks about minimum wage He talks about how our government is supposed to regulate and keep us safe from unhealthy meat and that it not only doesn t do that, but CAN T do that, legally The USDA cannot recall meat that is unhealthy It has no rights to do that The meat companies can voluntarily recall meat, but they can t be forced to, even if the meat is infected with epidemic proportions of e coli 0157 H7, which, as far as i can tell, is like ebola, it turns your organs into mush.The meat industry is so corrupt and has bought so many republican congressmen that it has no watchdogs, no police OSHA is not allowed to investigate a factory unless the injury records show above the national average The meat companies hire doctors to lie about the severity of injuries and, and, and they keep two injury logs the real one and the one they turn in to OSHA This is illegal And when the companies are caught they have to pay a piddly fine The FDA doesn t care about the food you eat They only care about prescription drugs.The USDA is not allowed to police the thing it was set up to police This is not new and it s also the reason i don t drink milk The author also says that the government will not change any of this That the only way to make some change is if McDonalds will make the change So if enough people complain and make bad press about McDonalds using nasty beef instead of clean, grass fed cowsnothing will change He discusses the franchise franchisee relationships He discusses the hisory of fast food and the american west It s amazing This book was so interesting If I were to become a vegetarian it would not be because I had a problem with the way cows are treated Nay, it would be because of the treatment of humans. As God as my witness, I shall never eat another hamburger as long as I shall live That s what I said after reading this book Then the phone rang It was my friend who wanted to go grab a quick bite at Wendy s I had a cheeseburger I never looked back baby It s not that this book paints the fast food industry in a wicked horrible light It doesn t become a witch hunt, this isn t Hey, you know, Elie Wiesel is right, Nazi s are real sons of bitches which is what I expect most people think after reading Night I ve never read it myself I just expect people think that after reading said book though to be honest, most people probably think that already, unless you re Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , but it s not all puppys and flowers either Really, it s rich old white men looking out for themselves and who else are they going to look out for It s been a few years since I ve read the book, so I could be wrong about this, but I m going to say this book isn t even as harsh on the fast food industry as Supersize Me A film which I refuse to see, because Duh Eat nothing but fast food for a month and you re going to get sick Who was shocked by this movie No, but you don t get it it s how sick he was, and how fast That s usually the opposing argument I get I still say Duh I m going to make a movie where I shoot up heroin three times a day for a month, or smoke seven packs of cigarettes a day for a month, or hit myself in the head with a hammer five times a day for a month, and see what happens I really want people to say, Man, I knew that hitting yourself in the head with a hammer was dangerous, but who knew how dangerous it could be I mean he was brain damaged by the second day I m never hitting myself in the head with a hammer again But I digress, this isn t about film this is about books.It s a pretty good book for the history lesson on how fast food got started, and how the industry has done a good job screwing everyone from farmers, to fat kids, to illegal migrant workers, to small business owners, to who knows who else And just when you start to think, Man, screw fast food the author himself says he still eats fast food then you think, I sure do like them McDonalds fries Then you hear about the newest Halo 3 tie in at Burger King, where not only will your fries be wrapped in a Halo 3 themed package, but your soda will come in a Halo 3 cup So what, so what if the meat might be tainted with the fingers of an illegal, or so what if the farmer who sold the slaughtered cow can barely aford new boots, dammit, I want it my way, and I want it my way now Plus there is this one part of the book that talks about how some fast food companies will donate money to schools in exchange for advertising space or a spot in the cafeteria and let s be honest, what would you rather have fat smart kids, or fat dumb kids Smart thin kids isn t an option this is public school we re talking about here.It s a light romp through the dark underbelly of the fast food world It ll learn you but good, and it certainly gave me pause, right before I went out and got a 4 supersized with a Dr Pepper cause Dr Pepper rulz. I could easily give this book a 5 for its well researched and informative content, its engaging pacing, its excellent mix of dry facts and gossipy tone I literally couldn t put the book down since I picked it up from my sister s bookshelf.I started reading with high hopes I heard so much about the book and how it changes people s perception on fast food I do not eat a lot of fast food but I enjoy my occasional burgers from Burger King, crave Chicken McNuggets from time to time and adore KFC with heaps of fries, rice and ketchup The book begins with the history of McDonalds which encompasses not only the corporate history but also the history of fast food and its supporting industries So far so good As I proceed, I find it hard to accept its two major themes big corporations are the big bad wolf who feast on little people and the king of the pack is McDonalds.Although the author writes that he doesn t say McDonald and the fast food corporations are the roots of all American problems, he essentially implies so throughout the book That is not fair The reason for finger pointing to McDonald and some unknown Carl Jr and Jack in the Box is not apparent in the book Brand wise, I wonder how KFC fare in all these debacle although tacobell, owned by the same company, gets an honorary mention Consumerism wise, what about those insatiable American appetites Another strong message is that the big corporations sell cheap food, by taking advantage of suppliers and their poor, illiterate workers, not from the goodness of their hearts but for humongous profits Fair enough But he goes on to argue that the marketing tactics employed, though necessary, are unethical I am not comfortable with this statement Since when have we all lost our cognitive power and freedom of choice When an advertisement says that drinking insecticide is good for us, won t our instinct warn us otherwise If the kids insist on eating McDonald to collect the latest figurine from Nemo, where are the parents with conscience who will firmly tell them no when a no is warranted I have no problem with presenting selected facts to support a theory or argument But I have problem with authors who do not explore or conveniently neglect the other side of the equation One particularly disturbing fact massaging is his argument that fast food restaurants are favourite crime targets and the crimes are mostly inside jobs On the same page, he mentions that fast food industries have high labour turnover and can afford only to hire people with questionable background Now, is it chicken first Or egg The author offers obvious solutions in the epilogue One of the most irritating ones is proposing that free roaming cattle rearing is the way to go He conveniently avoids these questions How can he reconcile the math of vast overhead to maintain the land, huge labour cost we want our workers to be paid and insured well , and small customer base transporting meat to all over the country is bad with affordable prices Aren t these organic, grass fed beef normally sold in chic upscale supermarkets Is he suggesting no child policy to curb the population and to make way for those healthy, happy cows The book doesn t stop me from anything Prior to reading, I already know that these fried foods are not good for my health and moderation is key to all my eating activities I enjoy reading the book but feel misled by its content The problem with the fast food nation is not the cheap end product at high social cost but the lack of common sense and excessive gluttony of its consumers I remember someone who wrote an email full of expletive because, after reading this book, he felt McDonalds caused his children s addiction to the Happy Meals Now I understand why he, like countless fans, was so readily bought the book s theme is David vs Goliath, its tone straight from tabloids, its information tasty morsels from the dark side of an otherwise wholesome industry The book provides ammunition for people who prefer to absolve personal responsibilities In short, this book is served the way people like it, regardless of its content.