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The Jungle (Dover Thrift Editions) Unabridged Edition

101 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486419237
ISBN-10: 0486419231
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

An ardent activist, champion of political reform, novelist, and progressive journalist, Upton Sinclair is perhaps best known today for The Jungle—his devastating exposé of the meat-packing industry. A protest novel he privately published in 1906, the book was a shocking revelation of intolerable labor practices and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago stockyards. It quickly became a bestseller, arousing public sentiment and resulting in such federal legislation as the Pure Food and Drug Act.|The brutally grim story of a Slavic family who emigrates to America, The Jungle tells of their rapid and inexorable descent into numbing poverty, moral degradation, and social and economic despair. Vulnerable and isolated, the family of Jurgis Rudkus struggles—unsuccessfully—to survive in an urban jungle.
A powerful view of turn-of-the-century poverty, graft, and corruption, this fiercely realistic American classic is still required reading in many history and literature classes. It will continue to haunt readers long after they've finished the last page.

About the Author

Upton Sinclair was a prolific author, committed socialist, and political activist who gained enormous popularity when his 1906 novel The Jungle exposed conditions in the U.S. meat-packing industry. In 1943, he earned a Pulitzer Prize for his series tale, Dragon's Teeth.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Unabridged edition (November 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486419231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486419237
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Crawley on August 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was more than I expected. My history classes stress the fact that this book exposed the meatpacking industry and eventually led to the development of the FDA. In reading the book, I found the greater story was a man's struggle to keep his family afloat. This book, however, gets four stars because the last three chapters are pure socialist propaganda. Overall, I can see why it is a classic and would recommend it to other readers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Vega on June 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an English major in College I had to read this book and I will say it is an intense work that really makes the reader question what they know about the food manufacturing business. Some very disgusting things happen in the book and Jurgis is a type of tragic main character who is constantly bombarded with horrible luck.

The first 3/4 of the book is an incredible read and definitely ranks as a great piece of American literature. The last 1/4 of the book however devolves into more of a socialist manifesto advocating the implementation of socialism, unions, and calling for the downfall of capitalism. The author of course is known for his socialist ideology so it really is no surprise, however, he switches gears into preaching socialism very suddenly and may be a turn off to some readers who are close minded. i don't personally support socialism or communism but I had to read it and didn't mind doing so. The end may be a favorite of yours though especially if you are somebody who supported the occupy movement or are an avid union supporter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Gettings on December 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
I just finished this novel, on the heels of reading Atlas Shrugged. These books, while very different, serve as interesting counterpoints to each other. (I won't review Atlas Shrugged here, but suffice to say it's another very compelling book which takes a diametrically opposed view of laissez-faire capitalism and management/labor relations.)

Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle after having spent seven weeks working undercover in the Chicago Meatpacking industry of 1904, and wrote a fictional account of the reality of the immigrant worker experience of that time. The labor conditions and the lack basics that we take for granted, e.g., child care, sick leave, minimum wage, the concept of a 5 day work week, antibiotics.... all take their toll on the characters in the book. Their stories, through the eyes of the protagonist Jurgis, are well told.

The book didn't quite accomplish what Sinclair set out to do - in his words "I aimed at the public's heart and by accident I hit it in the stomach." People of that time couldn't get past the grossly unsanitary practices of the meat industry to empathize with the plight of the low-wage immigrant worker. Instead the book touched off investigations leading to the formation to what would later become the Food and Drug Administration.

Reading the book 100+ years later did have its intended effect on me. The book was a good read and an education in what many of our immigrant forefathers went through to become Americans. I for one will never pine for "the good old days." The final chapters of the book however, do not stand the test of time. These passages, essentially a soliloquy on the benefits of socialism, fall flat from today's perspective. I do however, highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jacques on December 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
"The Jungle" tells the story of an Lithuanian family who immigrates to the United States in search of a better life. In this book, Sinclair attempts to expose the American Dream as a farce and demonstrate the short-comings of a Capitalist system that only serves the aristocracy. Any semblances of freedom are fabricated, as politicians serve the interests of those who fill their pockets. "Chicago politics" prevail over the will of the people, who are often mislead in voter buying schemes and are forced to choose between one corrupt man or the other. Sinclair's appeal to the common man is meant to help him embrace socialism as a remedy to Capitalism and the horrors it brings to the proletariat. To this end, Sinclair wastes no time detailing the cruel and harsh life of the working class immigrant in Packingtown, an industrial sector of Chicago.

Jurgis and his family enter the United States with high hopes for a new future, where their dreams could be fulfilled with hard work. This illusion is quickly dashed, as the family finds themselves trapped in a mortgage and living situation that is meant to put endless pressure on them until they crack, at which point they are swept away and replaced by the new wave of immigrant workers. The reader is made aware of the stress and misery of being worked to the bone only to constantly fall behind, further into debt. The terrible working conditions literally poison the workers, who are woefully aware of the fact that they are as valuable as the next desperate worker waiting to replace them.

Sinclair's effective use of both imagery and storytelling bring the reader uncomfortably close to the realities that Jurgis and his family were forced to face.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Heart on March 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is one of the hallmarks of the great protest novels. Emerging in the era of what Mark Twain termed, the Gilded Age, Sinclair pulled the gold leaf off society to reveal its sordid underbelly. The Jungle is a terrifying expose of the meat-packing industry and the terrible conditions of the poor and working class of the era. This book single-handedly inspired federal legislation; a tremendous feat for a novel. It is an important book for people to read, both in literary terms, and in subject matter, as we enter another period that cries out for such excruciating writing.

Today we have few protest novelists. Barbara Kingsolver is sometimes counted as one. And a young woman, Rivera Sun, has just burst onto the literary scene with a tremendous novel about coal and climate change that has reviewers are already comparing her to Upton Sinclair. Here is the link for the hardcover, but it is also available in paperback and kindle. Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars -a story of our times-
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