Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food

Eric Schlosser, Author, Charles Wilson, Author . Houghton $16 (304p) ISBN 978-0-618-71031-7

The author of Fast Food Nation partners with Wilson to serve up a stinging, often startling exposé on this country's pervasive, lucrative fast-food industry, for young people. The book's scope is exhaustive and sometimes exhausting, starting with a history of the hamburger, the advent of drive-in restaurants and the debut and mushrooming of McDonald's. The text dwells on this chain's effective if manipulative marketing campaigns aimed at children, noting that its outlets disperse more than 1.5 billion toys annually. The book also covers the plight of fast-food restaurant workers; the steep mark-up on fast-food items; the low nutritional value of many school cafeteria menus featuring fast food; and the fast-food industry's ample contribution to America's obesity epidemic. Making for sometimes unpleasant though undeniably edifying reading is a lengthy account of how the animals that provide fast food meats are fed, slaughtered and processed. In some cases, the subtitle's promise comes through in inadvertent ways, as the narrative provides perhaps an overabundance of details. But in the end, Schlosser and Wilson leave readers with a powerful suggestion that "the solution starts with you," urging them to consider the ramifications of placing an order at a fast-food counter, thereby setting into motion "the ripple effect near and far." Many who have digested the information dished out here will do as the convincing authors hope: head for the exit. Copious endnotes document sources of statistics and statements. Ages 11-13. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/17/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Paperback - 263 pages - 978-0-14-131844-8
Prebound-Glued - 318 pages - 978-1-68065-183-6
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