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The Jungle (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Unabridged

ISBN-13: 978-0486419237 ISBN-10: 0486419231 Edition: Unabridged

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Unabridged edition (November 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486419231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486419237
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

I would defiantly recommend reading this book, it is a great classic.
Cynthia L. Shultz
I had to read it for a history class and learned a lot about the early immigrants and the Chicago Meat Packing District.
Still, this book is worth the read for the first several hundred pages anyway.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jody on December 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have been meaning to read this book for years as it's always been heralded as a monumental book that changed the meat packing industry and workers' rights in the early 20th century. Upon finally reading it this year (2006) I was stunned - mainly because I had read Fast Food Nation a few years ago and many things described in The Jungle had similarily been described in Fast Food Nation, which was written in 2005. The workers have simply shifted - instead of coming from Europe they are now from Mexico and other Latin American countries.

No doubt this book is eye opening - to the struggle of immigrants looking for a better place, to workers' rights (and lack thereof), to regulations of the food industry, to bribery and general disregard of the law due to greed. The ordeals and struggles Jurgis deals with are unbelieveable and when reading you'll keep thinking "Well, it can't get any worse" and yet somehow it does.

I did have a few difficulties in reading the book. First, for some reason I had (wrongly) assumed this was a non-fiction book ever since I read about it in Jr. High History class. This is a fiction novel, however it is based on Sinclair's studies of the meat packing industry and the tenements. Second, the characters are mostly of Lithuanian descent with extremely complex names. I had a bit of trouble keeping up with who everyone was in the beginning and kept getting everyone confused for the first 50 or so pages.

A general dislike from many readers is the ending. Throughout the book, Jurgis is depicted a simple country man, just wanting to earn a decent living and support his family. You do see his evolution in learning how to "work the system" to his advantage as he becomes more and more disenchanted with his new surroundings.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Jarvis on March 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
For me this book was a real eye opener in relation three areas. 1.Immigrant life in the 1800s. It is a sad commentary on the US governement, and how they allowed people to be treated as nothing more than animals. It makes one appreciate the struggles our ancestors went through to make a life for themselves and their future families. 2. The roots of Unions for the US workers. 3. The method used to process meat. Hopefully it has significantly improved since that time's amazing more people didn't die from the food they ate. It has been more than a year since I read the book and still look hesitantly at the meat counter. The story is a good reason to consider becoming a vegetarian.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karl Janssen on May 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Any top ten list of American novels should include Upton Sinclair's masterpiece, both for its literary qualities and its historical significance. The book has unfortunately been stigmatized as the "dirty meat novel", when in fact there are only a couple of brief passages that talk about the actual processing of meat. Mostly it's about the exploitation of immigrant workers, and their struggle to survive in a country where they're treated as little more than beasts of burden. The ending of the book is often criticized, as the last chapter is basically a Socialist manifesto, but Socialism was a powerful force in America in the early 20th century, and this novel paints a vivid picture of that era in American history.

With all the editions of The Jungle out there, why buy the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition? The introduction and foreword are excellent, providing valuable historical context, an in-depth account of the book's reception by critics and the public, and insight into the long-term effects of The Jungle on the meat industry. Plus, the book is well-designed, with elegant, comfortably readable typography, and a dramatic cover design by Charles Burns that's sure to turn heads at the coffee shop.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lauren on April 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The most common comment about The Jungle is that it was a primary factor in the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. That was all the information I had when I first read it about twenty years ago. It turned out to be a powerful novel about immigrants and their treatment at the hands of businesses, especially in the Chicago meatpacking industry. This is a book well worth reading. I recommend it for any book club because it IS going to engender a lively and perhaps controversial discussion.

I already owned the book in a second edition, but when I saw this new edition from Penguin Classics I bought it. PC editions of classics, especially these Deluxe ones with thick paper covers, rich paper, French flaps, and exquisite designs are among the most beautiful books being issued today--especially when one considers that they are paperbacks. They are worth owning if you appreciate the work and beauty of cover design. What makes this one exceptional is the back cover (which Amazon allows you to see); I recommend checking it out . . . but probably not while eating.

Eric Schlosser wrote the foreword, and it is an excellent essay. He tackles the human interest aspect of the story which is, after all, why Sinclair originally wrote it. To see that things from both a human perspective as well as a food one, have pretty much returned to, just over 100 years after the book's publication, is devastating. Equally compelling is the Introduction by Ronald Gottesman, who shares Sinclair's history as well as that of the book's coming of age and its impact. These two essays add a rich complexity to this particular edition, making it, in its own way, even better than my original edition.
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