Schlosser, Eric 1960(?)-

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SCHLOSSER, Eric 1960(?)-


Born c. 1960, in New York, NY; married; children: Mica, Conor. Education: Princeton University, B.A.; also attended Oxford University.


Office—c/o Atlantic Monthly, 200 Madison Ave., Twentieth Floor, New York, NY 10016. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Houghton Mifflin Company, Trade Division, Adult Editorial, Eighth Floor, 222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116-3764.


Investigative reporter and author. Atlantic Monthly, New York, NY, correspondent, 1996—. Contributor to Rolling Stone and the New Yorker. Has appeared as a guest on television programs, including Sixty Minutes, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and O'Reilly Factor.


National Magazine Award for the two-part Atlantic Monthly series, "Reefer Madness" and "Marijuana and the Law," 1994; Sidney Hillman Foundation Award, for "In the Strawberry Fields," 1996; Gerald Loeb Award for business journalism, University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management.


Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2001.

Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.


A book about the American prison system.


Investigative reporter Eric Schlosser is a regular correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. Schlosser's first book, the best-selling Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, grew out of an article assignment for Rolling Stone. The magazine's editors had read one of Schlosser's earlier articles, "In the Strawberry Fields" (which examined the plight of migrant workers and the rise of illegal immigrants in the United States by focusing on the strawberry industry), and were interested in a similar article concentrating on the fast food business. Schlosser researched the subject extensively, acquiring far more material than was needed for initial assignment. The result is a book that addresses not only the growing number of fast food restaurants in America and across the globe, but the numerous effects of the industry on the economy, health, and working conditions in the United States. In an interview with Bill Goldstein of the New York Times, Schlosser said, "This industry had grown so big and was such a major part of our economy, that it had not only changed things maybe in a marketing sense or changed things as a symbol … but also had changed our agricultural economy, had had a major impact on our labor structure, and on and on."

As part of his investigation, Schlosser examined the fast food industry from all angles. His book addresses the quality of the food served, the cleanliness of the restaurants, and the hiring and training of workers, but also looks at the ways in which the fast food industry is responsible for keeping minimum wages low and how they obtain federal subsidies through their franchises. He throws light on the fact that most fast food employees are teenagers, receiving poor pay and next to no benefits, and that they are twice as likely to be injured on the job than an adult. Then he goes beyond the restaurants themselves and looks at the beef industry, revealing frightening facts about the conditions under which cows are slaughtered at the mind-boggling speed of 400 per hour—approximately four times as quickly as in other cattle-raising nations. Chitrita Banerji, in a review for American Prospect, remarked that "the massive amount of information and statistics that Schlosser presents in Fast Food Nation might fatigue some readers, but not before making an indelible impression. This book has the potential to turn a couch potato into an activist." New Statesman contributor Hugo Miller wrote, "Schlosser knows how to tell a story, and has tapped into a darkly fascinating world that, for most of us, ends at the shiny plastic counters and drink machines." Andrey Slivka, writing for the American Scholar, commented, "Fast Food Nation is a valuable tool for coming to terms with a corporate consumerism that's become untenable and unsustainable, that acknowledges no moral or natural limits or restraints, that long ago passed a fulcrum point and has grown all-consuming."

With Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market, Schlosser again returns to material previously addressed in his articles. The book tackles black market commodities of marijuana, pornography, and illegal immigrants in the United States, exploring the growth of an underground economy. Schlosser addresses the ways in which the American public policy of deterrence—preventing crime through the threat of strict punishment and mandatory sentences for specific offenses—actually paves the way for black market operations. Jeffrey Cass, in an article for the Journal of Popular Culture, wrote, "With an ethnographer's eye, Schlosser carefully delineates the inconsistencies between the ideological beliefs that govern public policy and the public's insatiable appetite for illegal commodities."

The three sections of the book examine drug laws, particularly regarding marijuana usage; the lives of illegal immigrant workers, specifically those laboring in the strawberry fields of California; and the pornography industry, where the advent of the Internet has caused profits to skyrocket. Michiko Kakutani, in a review for the New York Times, found the three arguments disjointed, writing, "While Mr. Schlosser is impassioned and articulate about these inequities, he never pulls his thoughts together into a larger thesis about underground economies and their relationship to mainstream society." But a contributor to Publishers Weekly stated, "Like Fast Food Nation, this is an eye-opening book, offering the same high level of reporting and research," and Brad Hooper, in a review for Booklist, wrote of Schlosser, "His careful research and equally careful writing style contribute to a study that is certain to garner as much attention as his previous book." Dylan Foley, writing for the Denver Post, summed up Schlosser's work: "With Fast Food Nation and now Reefer Madness, Schlosser has established himself as one of the best investigative reporters in America. Whether he is dealing with horribly abused illegal alien workers or people trampled by the drug laws, he [handles] his subjects with wit and compassion."



American Prospect, July 2, 2001, Chitrita Banerji, review of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, p. 43.

American Scholar, spring, 2001, Andrey Slivka, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 152.

Book, March, 2001, Eric Wargo, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 77; May-June, 2003, Don McLesse, review of Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market, p. 76.

Booklist, January 1, 2001, Mark Knoblauch, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 887; May 1, 2003, Brad Hooper, review of Reefer Madness, p. 1506.

Boston Globe, August 4, 2003, Paula Rayman, "Strawberry Field of Dreams," review of Reefer Madness, section A, p. 11.

British Medical Journal, June 15, 2002, Chin Woo Jung, "Fast Food Nation: What the All-American Meal Is Doing to the World," review of Fast Food Nation, p. 1461.

Chain Leader, June, 2001, Charles Bernstein, "Defending the Arches," review of Fast Food Nation, p. 8.

Christianity Today, May 21, 2001, Lauren F. Winner, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 91.

Columbia Journalism Review, July, 2001, Mary Ellen Schoonmaker, "Q and A with Eric Schlosser," interview, p. 12.

Commentary, May, 2001, Steven A. Shaw, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 78.

Denver Post, June 22, 2003, Dyan Foley, "Schlosser Exposing U.S. Black Markets," section EE, p. 3.

Economist, February 17, 2001, "Mac Attack: Eating Habits; Fast Food in America," review of Fast Food Nation, p. 5; review of Fast Food Nation, p. 129; May 10, 2003, "Pot, Porn, and Prison: America's Black Economy," review of Reefer Madness.

Guardian (Manchester, England), April 6, 2002, Nicholas Lezard, "Nicholas Lezard Is Alarmed to Find Out What's in His Hamburgers: Fast Food Nation: What the All-American Meal Is Doing to the World," p. 11.

Information Week, May 7, 2001, Chuck Ulie, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 152.

IRE Journal, July-August, 2003, Steve Weinberg, "Black Market," p. 12.

Journal of Popular Culture, May, 2004, Jeffrey Cass, review of Reefer Madness, p. 724.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2003, review of Reefer Madness, p. 448.

Legal Times, March 26, 2001, Steve Weinberg, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 34.

Library Journal, February 1, 2001, Wendy Miller, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 115; April 15, 2003, Scott H. Silverman, review of Reefer Madness, p. 110.

Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2003, Susan Salter Reynolds, "He Still Believes: Investigative Journalist Eric Schlosser Sees the Good in America Even As He Reveals Its Flaws," section E, p. 8.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, March 11, 2001, Tom Vanderbilt, "Hold the Mayo," review of Fast Food Nation, p. 1.

New Statesman, July 2, 2001, Hugo Miller, "Fast Food Nation: What the All-American Meal Is Doing to the World," review of Fast Food Nation, p. 52; June 9, 2003, Tristan Quinn, "Fear and Loathing," review of Reefer Madness, p. 51.

Newsweek International, February 26, 2001, Andrew Nagorski, "Hold the French Fries: A Reasoned Attack on the Fast-Food Culture," review of Fast Food Nation, p. 50.

New York Times, January 30, 2001, Michiko Kakutani, "Hold the Pickles, Hold the Lettuce," section B, p. 9; March 21, 2001, Regina Schrambling, "Writer Catches America with Its Hand in the Fries," section F, p. 1; May 23, 2003, Michiko Kakutani, "Underground Economics Equals Money to Be Made," section E, p. 38.

New York Times Book Review, January 21, 2001, Rob Walker, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 13; May 11, 2003, Sam Sifton, "Notes from Underground," review of Reefer Madness, p. 17.

Progressive, June, 2003, Elizabeth DiNovella, "American Underground," review of Reefer Madness, p. 41.

Publishers Weekly, August 14, 2000, "Fed Up," review of Fast Food Nation, p. 228; December 11, 2000, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 74; January 15, 2001, Bridget Kinsella, "Food for Thought," review of Fast Food Nation, p. 20; March 26, 2001, Daisy Maryles, Dick Donahue, "On the Fast Track," p. 24; March 31, 2003, review of Reefer Madness, p. 49.

Restaurants and Institutions, February 1, 2001, Patricia B. Dailey, "Fast Talking," review of Fast Food Nation, p. 12.

Time, April 28, 2003, Lev Grossman, "Keep Off the Grass: The Author of Fast Food Nation Takes on America's Shadow Economy: Pot, Porn, and Migrant Labor," p.71.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), April 29, 2001, William Rice, "The Lows and Highs of American Cuisine," p. 5.

U.S. Catholic, April, 2001, Patrick McCormick, "Blessed Are the Cakemakers," p. 40.

U.S. News and World Report, February 10, 1997, James Fallows, "Why Write about the Porn Industry?," p. 9.

Us Weekly, January 22, 2001, Francine Prose, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 39.

Village Voice, December 11, 2001, review of Fast Food Nation, p. 60.

Washington, January 12, 2001, Cynthia Crossen, "A Culinary Wasteland," section W, p. 10; February 10, 2001, Ellen Goodman, "Burger Nation," section A, p. 23; February 28, 2001, Candy Sagon, "Fast Food's Foe: Why the Author of Fast Food Nation Won't Be Having Hamburger for Lunch," section F, p. 1; February 28, 2001, George F. Will, "Supersize Menace," section A, p. 23; July 3, 2001, Peter Carlson, "Meat from the Ground Up," section C, p. 4.

World and I, August, 2001, Sally Fallon, "We Are What We Eat," p. 226.


Atlantic Online, (October 12, 2004), "Eric Schlosser." Web site, (October 12, 2004), author interview.

Houghton Mifflin Web site, (September 23, 2004), "Eric Schlosser."

Independent Enjoyment Online, (September 23, 2004), "Eric Schlosser."

McSpotlight Web site, (October 12, 2004), "Eric Schlosser.", (October 12, 2004), "Would You Like Ground Spinal Cord with That?," review of Fast Food Nation.*