Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why I might yet become a vegetarian

Book: Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

Author: Eric Schlosser

Published: 2002 (first edition; this one’s 2005) (Harper)

Pages: 288

Fast food is bad. Duh. Everybody knew this even before this book came out – but I’m not sure if everybody knew exactly HOW bad it is.


Let’s run down the list: massive corporate sway over agriculture practices, disturbing amounts of non-food being added legally, terrible wages and back-breaking labor that attracts the highest desperation and turnover rate of like all employment, deliberately targeting kids, contributing to the obesity epidemic here and bringing America’s cultural problems overseas…etc.

The creepiest parts to me were the bits about the conditions of the slaughterhouses and how they keep getting worse to get more food processed faster. It’s not as detailed but somehow worse than the stuff in The Omnivore’s Dilemma because there are no good solutions offered here beyond massive reform and expansion of food inspection agencies. (Which, come on guys, bring it on.) I don’t especially feel like eating meat anytime soon.

Also creepy yet something I’m glad was added: the 2005 edition adds an epilogue about mad cow disease, since it became big news between 2002 and 2005. Basically it was denied by a lot of important people until it couldn’t be hidden anymore. Gah! Really?

With nonfiction, I know it’s good when I focus these reviews on the subject rather than how the writing was, because that means the writing was so excellent it was invisible and let the facts/story do all the talking. Bookshelf!

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