Study Guide

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

by Eric Schlosser

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

Characters

The most prominently featured person in Fast Food Nation is the book’s narrator, author, and investigative reporter. This is of course Eric Schlosser.

Other significant figures included in the story are the founders of the fast food industry, people such as Carl Karcher, who copied the McDonald brothers’ model of fast food service and then opened his own chain, Carl’s Jr. Then there are the McDonald brothers themselves, Richard and Maurice, who gave the world the concept of fast food before turning over the development of the chain to Ray Kroc, who took it to a whole new level.

Richard Nixon, former president of the United States, apparently appreciated the money that Kroc gave to his campaign and helped to pass the McDonald’s Bill, which lowered fast food wages below the minimum rate. And Ray Bergold, once a top marketing executive at McDonald’s, is the one who came up with the idea to target children by making them believe that “McDonald’s is their ‘Trusted Friend.’” Then there is Dan DeRose, founder of DD Marketing, who was the mastermind behind advertising and selling soft drinks in schools across the nation. John Bushey, a school district administer in Colorado, went a step further by suggesting that principals allow students to drink Coke in class.

There is also Javier Ramirez, once president of the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers), Local 990, who focused on informing many of the migrant Hispanic workers in the Greeley meatpacking plant that they had rights and should demand benefits when they were hurt on the job.

For Further Reference

Nagorsky, Andrew. 2001. “Hold the French Fries.” Newsweek, February 26, p. 50. Nagorsky provides a detailed, favorable review of Fast Food Nation.

Schrambling, Regina. 2001. “Catching America With Its Hands in the Fries.” New York Times, March 21, p. F.1. Schrambling was impressed with Schlosser’s examination of the fast food industry.

Schlosser, Eric. 1998. “Fast Food Nation.” Rolling Stone, September 3, pp. 58-72. This is the article in Rolling Stone that started it all.

Shaw, Stephen A. 2001. “Review of Fast Food Nation.” Commentary 111 (5): 78-79. Shaw provided a somewhat skeptical review of Schlosser’s book.

Slivka, Andrey. 2001. “You Want Fries With That?” American Scholar 70 (2): 152-54. An in-depth, favorable discussion about Schlosser’s book.

Travers, Peter. 2006. “Review of Fast Food Nation (the movie).” Rolling Stone, no. 1014, November 30, p. 124. Travers praised both the book and the movie, which Schlosser helped to adapt.