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The Jungle (Bantam Classics) [Mass Market Paperback]

Upton Sinclair , Morris Dickstein
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (561 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 1, 1981 0553212451 978-0553212457 1
In this powerful book we enter the world of  Jurgis Rudkus, a young Lithuanian immigrant who arrives  in America fired with dreams of wealth, freedom,  and opportunity. And we discover, with him, the  astonishing truth about "packingtown," the  busy, flourishing, filthy Chicago stockyards, where  new world visions perish in a jungle of human  suffering. Upton Sinclair, master of the  "muckraking" novel, here explores the workingman's  lot at the turn of the century: the backbreaking  labor, the injustices of "wage-slavery,"  the bewildering chaos of urban life. The  Jungle, a story so shocking that it  launched a government investigation, recreates this  startling chapter if our history in unflinching  detail. Always a vigorous champion on political reform,  Sinclair is also a gripping storyteller, and his  1906 novel stands as one of the most important --  and moving -- works in the literature of social  change.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Originally published in 1991 as part of a short-lived revival of the Classics Illustrated line, this adaptation of Sinclair's muckraking socialist novel succeeds because of its powerful images. When Kuper initially drew it, he was already a well-known left-wing comics artist. His unenviable task is condensing a 400-page novel into a mere 48 pages, and, inevitably, much of the narrative drama is lost. Kuper replaces it, however, with unmatched pictorial drama. The story follows Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkis and his family as they are eaten up and spit out by capitalism (represented by Chicago's packing houses). Kuper uses an innovative full-color stencil technique with the immediacy of graffiti to give Sinclair's story new life. When Jurgis is jailed for beating the rich rapist Connor, a series of panels suffused with a dull, red glow draw readers closer and closer to Jurgis's face, until they see that the glint in his eye is fire. Jurgis, briefly prosperous as a strong-arm man for the Democratic machine, smokes a cigar; the smoke forms an image of his dead son and evicted family. Perhaps most visually dazzling is the cubist riot as strikers battle police amid escaping cattle. Kuper infuses this 1906 novel with the energy of 1980s-era street art and with his own profoundly original graphic innovation, making it a classic in its own right.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up–In 1906, Sinclair published The Jungle, a realistic and scathing portrayal of the life of an immigrant worker. Kuper's revised adaptation focuses solely on its hero, Jurgis Rudkus. Readers follow him from his emigration from Lithuania to downtown Chicago, eager to find the American Dream he's heard so much about. But the harsh world of Chi-town quickly shatters his hopes; forced to take a job at a slaughterhouse, he performs the most menial and vile tasks. An injury pushes him to unemployment and, unable to provide for them, he leaves his family in shame. Rudkus transforms from a starry-eyed dreamer into a cynical but valiant man who fights for workers' rights. Kuper's artwork effectively mimics some of the major art movements of the day. The book opens in a Chagall-inflected form of cubism, lending a folksy, dreamy, and hopeful quality to the early pages. Then, the visuals become increasingly jagged and frenetic until they reach the Futurist-inspired panels that illustrate the story's climax. Well-plotted and beautifully illustrated, Kuper's adaptation breathes new life into this classic American story.–Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics; 1 edition (September 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553212451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553212457
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (561 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
103 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chicago Stockyards at the Turn of the Century July 29, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkus and his new bride Ona, along with several other extended family members, try to survive in the "Back of the Yards" district of Chicago. Strapping Jurgis quickly finds employment in the meat packing business and the family begins to eke out a very modest living.

The appeal of home ownership quickly becomes their undoing. They invest their life savings as the downpayment and due to unplanned costs of homeownership (interest, taxes, repairs, etc), they quickly fall behind in their finances. This requires all family members to seek employment, which allows them to hold their heads above water. Unfortunately, the seasonal swings of work, ill health and brutal Chicago winters lead to further financial struggles.

A variety of further circumstances such as death, illness and infidelity lead to choices that continue to test the morals of the characters. Each struggle with the choices necessary for their survival. All are changed forever by the "evils" of the system.

The story details the horrific working conditions of the Stockyards laborers, the deplorable practices followed by the meat packing industry itself and the corruption associated with a capitalistic system. Yes, socialism is an underlying theme in this novel that becomes more evident at novel end.

Overall a very well written novel that provides a glimpse into the despicable conditions endured by the labor force of the Stockyards. No issues with the Kindle edition.
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79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A supreme achievement July 7, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" is one of the handful of books throughout all of history, perhaps, that have encapsulated the crying voices of the oppressed. While many readers and politicians at the time of its publication (and since) have focused on the intolerable conditions in which American food products were produced, the major thrust in "The Jungle" is not in regards to the ill-treatment of our food; it is in regards to the ill-treatment of our workers.

The repeated sufferings of Jurgis and his family are akin to an overwhelming symphony of sorrowful songs. As his family is driven deeper into debt, his body worn down, and his life's zeal and love slowly strangled, Jurgis' desperation becomes palpable, and if you can't sympathize with his feelings at the loss of his family's home--a structure they worked so hard for--check your pulse. You might be dead.

The book contains some of the most horrific depictions in all of literature, including a mercifully oblique reference to a child's death by being eaten alive by rats. Although the novel focuses on Jurgis primarily, it is the children--the laboring little people--who elicit the most sympathy in this reader's view. Struggling to support their family, escaping extremely dangerous situations (one little girl is nearly dragged into an alley and raped), sleeping on the street, and begging desperately for food--the appalling conditions being visited upon children as described in "The Jungle" still have the power to arouse strong anger and outrage, over a century after its initial publication.
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158 of 174 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "But I'm glad I'm not a pig!" January 2, 2004
Format:Paperback
Originally published in 1906 by Upton Sinclair, THE JUNGLE sent shockwaves throughout the United States that resulted in cries for labor and agricultural reforms. It is indeed rare that a book should have such a political impact, but although Sinclair may have been surprised at the results, it is apparent while reading this novel that his words form a political agenda of its own. It should be noted that Sinclair was a devout Socialist who traveled to Chicago to document the working conditions of the world-famous stockyards. Sinclair originally published this book in serial form in the Socialist newspaper, The Appeal to Reason. But as a result of the popularity of this series Sinclair decided to try to publish in a form of a novel.
Sinclair widely utilized the metaphor of the jungle (survival of the fittest, etc.) throughout this book to reflect how the vulnerable worker is at the mercy of the powerful packers and politicians. Mother Nature is represented as a machine who destroys the weak and protects the elite powerful. To illustrate his sentiments Sinclair wrote of family of Jurgis and Ona who immigrated to Chicago from Lithuania in search of the American dream. They arrive in all innocence and believe that hard work would result in a stable income and security. But they soon realize that all the forces are against them. During the subsequent years Jurgis tries to hold on what he has but he is fighting a losing battle. It is not until he stumbles upon a political meeting that his eyes upon the evils of capitalism and the sacredness of socialism.
If one is to read THE JUNGLE, then they should do themselves a favor and seek out this version. It is the original, uncensored version that Sinclair originally intended to publish.
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88 of 97 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm the type of guy that can't stand many literary classics. I'm sorry, but I read a book for entertainment, not for metephors, meaning or symbolism. This is why it seems strange that I highly recommend this book.
This book chronicles the life of immigrants from Lithuania who settle in Chicago in hopes of obtaining the American Dream. The way Sinclair describes the hardships of this family, it almost feels like you're the one who's suffering. Though depressing, the amount of detail engulfs the reader.
Though the book is famous for exposing the meat packing industry's unsanitary conditions, it really is just a minor part of this book. The worker's rights, the racism, the corruption, and the poverty is what this book is all about. Though I'm a firm believer of Adam Smith and his invisible hand, half way through the book, I was searching for the local Socialist recruiter. Well, not really, but it will open anyone's mind.
Except for the end, where it was just pure Socialist propoganda, this book is fantastic.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Socialism is Swell
Another appropriate title for this book would be "Socialism is Swell". Interesting read.
Published 19 hours ago by Jordan Munroe
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great!
Published 3 days ago by Giancarlo Dell'Orco
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
:)
Published 3 days ago by Dre Vega
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh well
I am sure most readers liked this read, I am not one of them. It just didn't fit my reading choices
Published 4 days ago by Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars real
nice
Published 4 days ago by Maryann Karaczun
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
I had to read this book for my college class and it was rather interesting.
Published 5 days ago by R. Gerhardstein
4.0 out of 5 stars The jungle
A must read for English literature fans and historians interested in the plight of the workers in the Gilded Age. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Donna
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book. It makes you sad, but is well worth it.
Very sad and moving story. It makes you think about what inhumanity this country was built upon.
Published 9 days ago by LES
5.0 out of 5 stars must read
Book arrived in excellent condition. What a read... the story truly grabbed my heart. The historic account of the immigrants struggles, physical, financial and emotional, was eye... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Susan Harmening
5.0 out of 5 stars completely satisfied
The delivery of the items and timeliness of the order was perfect. We ordered these books for a select group of international students for summer reading. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Darlene Gore
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