There is so much information in Fast Food Nation, it’s difficult to read more than a few paragraphs at a time. Is it dangerous to work in a slaughterhouse? You bet, and Schlosser goes into great detail why. How horrible is e. coli? Very, and that, too, is detailed. Do people use sharp knives to cut meat? Uh-huh. Anything remotely related to the fast food industry is expounded upon. Reading Fast Food Nation is like working on an advanced degree, except there are no exams or theses.
Undoubtedly, a lot can be learned from Fast Food Nation, but the reader should take small bites or it’s indigestible. Tales of how McDonald’s deals with the threat of unionization, how Wendy’s deals with e. coli, or how Burger King came to sell chicken nuggets shaped like Teletubbies are both entertaining and informative. Possibly, the best way to read Fast Food Nation is from the back forward; turn to the index and look up topics of interest. The number and variety of index entries alone is impressive (however, don’t look for “shakes” or “milkshakes,” neither is listed.). I was mildly surprised, when browsing the index, that I stumbled across Oliver North and Joseph Goebbels. And those seriously interested in this subject should not skip the notes, which are interesting unto themselves.
Fast food is a fact of life, and if you want a thorough explanation of all aspects of that fact, Fast Food Nation is the place to look. You will come out of the experience knowing lots more than you expected.
Bottom Line: Would I buy this book? No. I prefer to do my research in small chunks on the Internet.