Tuesday 4 September 2012
Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation
Straight to the point - Fast Food Nation is the most electrifying book I've read in a good while. As I wrote elsewhere, I quickly started to ask: where have you been all my life?
Fast food evokes extreme emotions - either you hate it or can't live without it (or, too often, hate it BUT can't live without it). Schlosser's book has real potential to make the 'haters' party more numerous. If you don't really care - after all, how dangerous a burger can be? - you might start caring after reading Fast Food Nation. An eye opener, if I've ever seen one.
I never liked fast food very much so I only had my prejudices confirmed. This book is full of stories with potential to put you off junk food for life.
It all starts innocently, with tales from the history of the most famous fast food chains. Oh, there are snapshots of ugly corporate philosophies flashing through from time to time, but you have to really dig into the book to discover the more outrageous stuff. Advertising consciously aimed at kids. Conditions in meat processing plants. Food safety concerns. Nightmarish treatment of employees. Health risks. Funky food additives. The list goes on and on and on.
Speaking up against fast food industry takes tremendous courage (read the story of McLibel to find out why), and care. Each statement has to be documented - there are three hundred pages of notes on sources accompanying the actual text. It's funny, in a bitter way, but it also makes the book more trustworthy.
I would probably trust it even with much less careful research.