Customer Reviews


107 Reviews
5 star:
 (53)
4 star:
 (29)
3 star:
 (13)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


160 of 176 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "But I'm glad I'm not a pig!"
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...
Published on January 2, 2004 by S. Calhoun

versus
192 of 221 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Falsely Marketed Edition
I wrote the below review-article for the History News Network (26 June 2006), and I share it here so that Amazon customers will know the truth about this flawed edition of this important social novel.

"The Fictitious Suppression of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle"

Christopher Phelps, The Ohio State University

When a small, Tucson-based...
Published on August 12, 2006 by Christopher Phelps


‹ Previous | 1 2 311 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, The Jungle as Sinclair wanted it, May 27, 2003
This review is from: The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition (Paperback)
This welcome offering of the original, unexpurgated version of Sinclair's The Jungle bears the following quote on its back cover, by Jack London:
"Here it is at last! What 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' did for black slaves, 'The Jungle' has a large chance to do for the white slaves of today. It is brutal with life. It is written of sweat and blood and groans and tears. It depicts not what man ought to be, but what man is compelled to be, in this our world in the twentieth century. It depicts not what our country ought to be , or what it seems to be in the fancies of Fourth of July spellbinders--the home of liberty and equality, of opportunity--it depicts what our country really is, the home of oppression and injustice, a nightmare of misery, an inferno of suffering, a human hell, a jungle of wild beasts."
It's hard to disagree with Mr. London. (The www.Amazon.com pic doesn't do the excellent new cover design justice, either: it looks washed out in the pic, whereas in reality the colors are much more lively.)
One reading of this original version is enough to clue the reader in on why censors wanted Sinclair to prune the text: the picture it paints of American wage slavery, at its bloodiest and most unwholesome in the meat-packing industry, isn't flattering--to say the least. But far from simply describing inhumane conditions in a single industry, in a specific era, Sinclair paints a powerful metaphor for working class life in general. Slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants provide a bloody backdrop for the ruthless exploitation of man by man.
If Sinclair ever commited a sin worthy of the censors' ire, it was simply the sin of describing American life exactly as it was--and is. This is highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Academicians, Go Away!, February 26, 2009
By 
Juridicus (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
Some years ago I subscribed to the "Biblical Archeology Review" hoping to find out what has been dug up in the Holy Land. What a dissapointment that was. The articles consisted of various scholars spewing venom at each other over their interpretations of archeological history without bothering to show any pictures. The last few reviews of The Jungle are of the same ilk. Give us a break.

Sinclair was an unabashed Socialist, but I have yet to hear anyone tell us that he was lying about the conditions in the Chicago stock yards. In what pidgeon hole would you guys place Charles Dickens? He told the truth about living in poverty in England in the 19th century and was a crusader against child labor. Should the same epithets be levied against him?

I was raised in an upper middle class WASP environment and had no idea how our beaten down and helpless citizens lived. When I was 17 and 18 I read The Jungle at least five times and was shocked to the point I couldn't sleep. I imagined living that way - helpless, hopeless and exploited to the point of death. It was economic slavery. And those conditions came to exist as the result of the same unbridled greed that resulted in the anti-trust laws, laws protecting workers who dared to form unions and, now, the ruination of our economy at the expense of people who need to rely on others to make a living. Now, 401(k)s are worthless and executives give themselves billions in bonuses from insolvent companies. What's the difference between now and the Chicago meat packing industry in the early 20th century other than the fact that the exploited workers don't come home filthy and odiferous?

So what if Sinclair first published his book in serial form in a socialist newspaper? Do you think that Knoph or Harper & Rowe would have picked it up?

Sinclair's book is a diatribe against greed and the only way out for workers were unions and unconventional social organizations. Life would be the same today were it not for unions, wage-hour laws and the minimum wage. And the unbridled greed of today will end up affecting the poor and wealty alike. Rather than spend time taking pot-shots at Sinclair, let's think about how the forms of greed he campaigned against have driven our entire country into insolvency.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved First 150 Pages, Last 150 are Weaker , but Still Great [45], July 4, 2007
By 
This review is from: The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition (Paperback)
Following the life in America of Jurgis Rudkos delivers tears and hatred which makes the reader want to get up and shout - at those who employ him and at Jurgis as well.

Working in the stockyards of Chicago was hell, the worst time being in the fertilizer division's charnel house where malodorous bone dust swirled about to limit visibility to five feet and intoxicated his every sense of taste and smell. And, after the phosphates layered themselves onto his skin and clothes, he returns home with a stench that cannot be washed out . The smell is so badly terminal that his later imprisonment includes a statement by his roomie - a well worn professional thief - that never before has he smelled anything so bad in the "pen."

But, the place of employment is not the only one at fault. Jurgis, uneducated and well meaning, has to be responsible for his actions as well - he beats the pulp out of an Irish crony who sexually violated Jurgis's wife. In turn, he is imprisoned for a month - during which time the family loses its savings, its home, and their jobs at the plant.

In the first 200 pages, his life sinks deeper and deeper into the abyss. He recovers for a short time when he cow tows to the Irish politicians and makes a few bucks. But, another fight and imprisonment return him to the streets, this time on the lam, from which he becomes a common beggar who is embraced by his long lost sister - now a junky prostitute with enough money to keep her children out of the packing house and in school.

So, with this horrible tale of America, the book ends with about 40 pages of Jurgis's Socialist Manifesto. Remember, in 1906 - when this book was written - Marx and Engels and the like were hot. Really hot. Their writings were received here and in Russia with great fanfare - even if the edenistic portrayal was inaccurate, the life led by the proletariat could not be any worse. The followers rallied to the cry of a better life with better returns for their wages. To those who gave bomb reviews of this book because it was Socialistic propaganda, take note that things were different then and Socialism was one method of reform to be discussed to end the plight of workers like Jurgis.

Ultimately, a truce was made - not in small part because of this book. Federal regulations increased and the industrial giants had to respond to someone other than those silenced by local graft - they had to meet health requirements and more. This incurred more expense, which hurt their bottom line. And, with industrial safety regulations increasing at this time, the wage earning slaves like Jurgis would be less traumatically harmed as the Dante-like workplaces like the fertilizer division's hot rooms of dust would be forbidden.

The fact that this book elicited such political response is most impressive. The writing is equally impressive. The story line is Dickens-like magnificent. This is a must read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars one of t he reasons im a vegetarian, September 2, 2005
This review is from: The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition (Paperback)
great for you if you want to go on a diet. but really, its a great book. many people should be glad they did not reside during the industrial boom era of america.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring optimism and thankfulness, March 2, 2005
By 
M. Bell "Monica Bell" (Lexington, KY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition (Paperback)
We all now know what the book is about; it is a gruesome depiction of the life that our immigrant descendants lived, which embarked on a quest for a piece of the American dream.

It is a harsh reality for me to think that MY relatives may have lived lives such as Jurgis and his family. My family settled in Ohio, lord knows what went on there!

Even though my husband recently lost his job, we are not starving; we have an unemployment check arriving in the mail every two weeks. We have untainted food arriving on our table from the supermarket. We have fresh pure milk to feed our 1 year old. We have doctors at our disposal. We have lives that are safe. We have financial assistance plans for every type of dip in the road. We are truly "a protected people".

It amazes me how far we have come as a country and God Bless those that had to blaze this heinous trail ahead of us. In ways I wish more folks would read this book, so that they could put things in perspective for themselves and truly be thankful for that job that asks that they work on the holidays but makes sure you leave in the same condition you arrived in.

I have to say I am shocked. I have been in the study of various dehumanization activities that took place throughout American history for quite some time and I have never read anything quite like this. I am so incredibly thankful that I live in the world during the 21st century.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why We Need Government Regulation, October 18, 2009
This book continues making the succinct case against 'limited government' centuries after it's original publication.

Today's teabaggers never read Upton Sinclair's classic muckraking work. The conditions exposed inside America's meatpacking plant were gruesome enough to make then-president Theodore Roosevelt (a Republican!) temporarily give up eating meat.

Dirt and other remnants were being put into the product as 'special ingredients' and shipped off actually intended for human consumption. Government regulation would be the only way to effectively ensure that private businesses properly behaved.

While this book was among the works successful in the establishment of the Pure Food and Drug Act, The Meat Inspection Act, it's prose certainly remains relevant today: A company is useless to consumers when it's products are unsafe.

The people obviously clamoring for less regulation obviously haven't thought about what it means to live in a world where we can be assured that our products are clean, safe, and accessible for human consumption.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't know whether to be fiction or editorial, August 6, 2012
By 
V. Natarajan (New Brunswick, NJ) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition (Paperback)
So, reading a lot of the other 1-star reviews here, most of them are criticizing this book on the basis of being falsely marketed (which I can't speak to), or being socialist propaganda.

On the second charge, I don't think it's helpful to give a book 1-star for that. Even if you disagree with the propaganda, if someone wants to write a novel to advance his political agenda, then more power to him (and there's no doubt this book exists to advance a socialist agenda, even accounting for the ease with which right-wingers like to throw around the word "socialism" nowadays). It's more useful, from a reviewing standpoint, to address the effectiveness with which a book accomplishes its goal.

Sadly, this book doesn't do well even allowing for that. I think the base cause is that Sinclair couldn't really decide whether he wanted to write a fiction novel or a muckraking investigative piece leading to an advocacy of socialism. In the end Sinclair tried to do both, and ended up doing neither particularly well. From a fictional point of view, Sinclair routinely violates the basic rule "Show, don't tell". For instance, the protagonist (Jurgis) is portrayed as someone who is being cheated by the packers. Instead of simply showing the packers cheating Jurgis somehow (say, by actually showing them doing something like not paying money he's owed), Sinclair will write something like "The packers cheat people!", with some details as to exactly how. It's strongly implied that Jurgis gets treated in the same manner, but only sometimes do we actually see it happening to Jurgis. Further, when we *do* see it, Sinclair's depiction of this event seems almost perfunctory. This "telling" might work well in a non-fiction or pure advocacy piece, but is inappropriate in a fiction story.

Secondly, the last several chapters come with an explicit proposal for socialism as the cure for the ills of the early 1900's. The problem is, before these last few chapters, socialism is hardly mentioned at all -- it's just "tacked" on there at the end, and is thus completely out of place in the story. It would have been much more effective to somehow work the socialist party more into the plot from early on in the book. Furthermore, these last few chapters are filled in with very long-winded speeches by socialist party members. But these speeches themselves do nothing to advance the plot, and end up being 3 or 4 pages (each) where you've just read *nothing* happening. We get it, "Socialism good, other stuff bad." But we're bludgeoned over the head with this point with no story on end for the last 50 pages or so of this book. Not engaging reading at all. Again, it seems like Sinclair wanted to take his fiction work, and turn it into advocacy, but ended up screwing both up.

Really, this book would have been much better off had it just been a story about Jurgis and his ills, or, in the alternative, if Sinclair had tried to write an actual muckraking investigative/advocacy piece. Mixing the two fails.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The jungle, February 19, 2007
By 
This review is from: The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition (Paperback)
This was a somewhat difficult book for me to read. I found it very slow alot of the time but that aside, it is very interesting and very sad. I am glad I read it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hobo Philosopher, September 18, 2007
By 
This review is from: The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition (Paperback)
I discovered this book only recently. It attracted my interest because I'm Polish, I was a butcher who worked in processing plants, I'm a writer and I lived somewhat the life of the "hobo" and wrote my own book entitled "Hobo-ing America" which dealt with much of the same material although in a much lighter and more humorous way, I was raised in an inner-city tenement slum area and I have been a laborer and worker most of my life. I didn't see anything not to like in this book other than I didn't write it. I enjoy reading history and I enjoy reading classics. This is both.
Interesting to note, though Upton wrote this book in hopes of changing conditions for working people, it only succeeded his changing conditions for the cows.

Books written by Richard Noble - The Hobo Philosopher:

"Hobo-ing America: A Workingman's Tour of the U.S.A.."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the anti-nostalgia pill, March 9, 2010
This review is from: The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition (Paperback)
This book is the perfect antidote to nostalgia for the "Good Old Days", portraying early 20th-century America as a hellhole of dirty food, infectious diseases, mean bosses, corrupt politics, poverty, and homelessness. Is it exaggerated? I'm sure it is (though probably less so than the suffocating cloud of nostalgia that other books and movies give us). Is it melodramatic? Heck yes. Are the last few chapters dull and propagandistic? Absolutely. Are the characters particularly memorable? Probably not. But despite its flaws, this book packs quite a punch (and its popularity suggests that readers of the time agreed!)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 311 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition
The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition by Upton Sinclair (Paperback - April 1, 2003)
$14.95 $10.83
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.