Eric Schlosser in conversation with Orville Schell.
Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser has been called "society's quiet crusader," earning comparisons to Upton Sinclair for exposing often overlooked issues in his bestselling books Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness. In Fast Food Nation, Schlosser uncovers the unsanitary and discriminatory practices of the fast food industry. He reveals how fast food has transformed America's diet as well as its economy, workforce, and popular culture. Schlosser based the groundbreaking book on a two-part article written for Rolling Stone and helped adapt it into a 2006 film directed by Richard Linklater.
In 2006, Schlosser and Charles Wilson released a children's book called Chew On This, challenging the fast food industry's biggest consumers to think critically about what they eat. Eric Schlosser has been a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly since 1996 and his work has also appeared in Vanity Fair, The Nation, and The New Yorker. He is currently at work on a book about America's prison system- City Arts & Lectures
Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York. He is a former professor and dean at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Schell is the author of 14 books, nine of them about China, and a contributor to numerous edited volumes. His most recent books are Virtual Tibet, The China Reader, and Mandate of Heaven. He is also a contributor to such magazines as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, and many others. He is a fellow at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, a senior fellow at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a recipient of the Overseas Press Club Award and the Harvard-Stanford Shorenstein Prize for Asian Reporting.
Eric Schlosser has been a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly since 1996. After graduating from Princeton with a degree in American History, Schlosser tried his hand at several professions (playwright, novelist, script writer) before finally turning to non-fiction in his early thirties. Although his idea for an article on homosexuals in the military was turned down by the Atlantic Monthly, the magazine offered him another assignment: writing about the New York City bomb squad after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Other assignments followed, one of which was about America and its fast food industry. What began as a simple magazine article turned into an international bestseller. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All American Meal, was on the New York Times bestsellers list for nearly two years. It appeared on the bestseller lists of the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, USA Today, Business Week, and Publishers Weekly, as well as on bestseller lists in Canada, Great Britain and Japan.
His second New York Times bestseller, Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market (May 2003), was also inspired by his earlier articles on the enforcement of marijuana laws in America and illegal immigration in California. His two-part series, "Reefer Madness" and "Marijuana and the Law" (Altantic Montly, August and September, 1994), won a National Magazine Award for reporting, and his article, "In the Strawberry Fields" (Atlantic Monthly, November 1995), received a Sidney Hillman Foundation award.
Schlosser has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, FOX News, The O'Reilly Factor, and Extra!. He has been interviewed on NPR and covered in Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, and the New York Times. His work also has appeared in Rolling Stone and The New Yorker.