Published: 2002
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Why It Mattered: Made Americans realize that Happy Meals were worth getting mad about

If you haven’t had a greasy cheeseburger procured through a drive-thru window, you’re not living in America. Before Eric Schlosser hit the scene, few realized what was truly lurking between those perfectly round, inexpensive buns. Schlosser’s painstaking research shed light on the effects of industrializing food with gruesome detail, from Franken-burgers made from the meat of up to one hundred cows, to the total dehumanization of every aspect of the process. For many, Schlosser’s dark glimpse into the process behind the Quarter Pounder was enough to make them forgo their favorite fast foods. For a week, at least.