Author of Reefer Madness and Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser will discuss his latest work, Command and Control, about nuclear weapons and the dangers still inherent in our post-Cold War world.
2014 - 2015 Season
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As an investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser tries to explore subjects ignored by the mainstream media and give a voice to people at the margins of society. Over the years he’s followed the harvest with migrant farm workers in California, spent time with meatpacking workers in Texas and Colorado, told the stories of marijuana growers and pornographers and the victims of violent crime, gone on duty with the New York Police Department Bomb Squad, and visited prisons throughout the United States. His aim is to shed light on worlds that are too often hidden. And his work defies easy categorization, earning praise not only from liberal publications like the Nation, but also from Fortune, the Financial Times, and the National Review.
Schlosser’s first book, Fast Food Nation (2001), helped start a revolution in how Americans think about what they eat. It has been translated into more than twenty languages and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for two years. His second book, Reefer Madness (2003), looked at America’s thriving underground economy. It was also a New York Times bestseller. Chew on This (2006), a New York Times bestselling children’s book, co-written with Charles Wilson, introduced young readers to the health effects of fast food and the workings of industrial agriculture. His most recent book, Command and Control (2013), examines the efforts of the military, since the atomic era began during World War II, to prevent nuclear weapons from being stolen, sabotaged, or detonated by accident. Command and Control was a New York Times Notable Book, a Time Magazine Top 10 Nonfiction Book, was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize (History) and also received the Gold Medal Award (Nonfiction) from the 2013 California Book Awards.
Before writing non-fiction, Schlosser was a playwright and worked for an independent film company. In recent years he’s returned to those fields. Two of Schlosser’s plays have been produced in London: Americans (2003) at the Arcola Theatre and We the People (2007) at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Schlosser served as an executive producer and co-wrote the feature film Fast Food Nation (2006), directed by Richard Linklater. Their screenplay was named one of the best of that year by New York Times critics A.O. Scott and Mahnola Dargis. Schlosser was an executive producer of There Will Be Blood (2008), directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. He was a co-producer and the co-narrator of the award-winning documentary, Food, Inc., directed by Robert Kenner. In 2014 Schlosser served as executive producer on two documentaries. Food Chains sheds light on the wage theft, physical abuse and outright slavery that constitutes everyday life for thousands of America’s (mostly Latino) farm workers. Hanna Ranch is a documentary about the late ‘ecocowboy,’ Kirk Hanna.