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Der Dschungel PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Der Dschungel
Author: Upton Sinclair
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ISBN: 3888800056
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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Upton Sinclair's dramatic and deeply moving story exposed the brutal conditions in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the nineteenth century and brought into sharp moral focus the appalling odds against which immigrants and other working people struggled for their share of the American Dream. Denounced by the conservative press as an un-American libel on the meatpacking Upton Sinclair's dramatic and deeply moving story exposed the brutal conditions in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the nineteenth century and brought into sharp moral focus the appalling odds against which immigrants and other working people struggled for their share of the American Dream. Denounced by the conservative press as an un-American libel on the meatpacking industry, and condemned for Sinclair's unabashed promotion of Socialism and unionisation as a solution to the exploitation of workers, the book was championed by more progressive thinkers, including then President Theodore Roosevelt, and was a major catalyst to the passing of the Pure Food and Meat Inspection act, which has tremendous impact to this day.

30 review for Der Dschungel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robert Isenberg

    Naturally, my high school English teacher felt it necessary to assign "The Jungle" to read over Thanksgiving break. As my Dad carved the turkey, the conversation went something like this: MOM: Could you pass the turkey? ME: Oh, yeah, great, why don't we pass the meat that untold numbers of Slavik immigrants had to die to process? Why don't we just spit in the face of the proleteriat and laugh, knowing that he's too malnourished to fight back. DAD: Are you okay? ME: Oh, sure, I'm great. And you know Naturally, my high school English teacher felt it necessary to assign "The Jungle" to read over Thanksgiving break. As my Dad carved the turkey, the conversation went something like this: MOM: Could you pass the turkey? ME: Oh, yeah, great, why don't we pass the meat that untold numbers of Slavik immigrants had to die to process? Why don't we just spit in the face of the proleteriat and laugh, knowing that he's too malnourished to fight back. DAD: Are you okay? ME: Oh, sure, I'm great. And you know why? Because my comfort is based on an oligarchic pyramid, where we feast while others starve. Thanks-Giving? Who are we thanking? The Taiwanese sweatshop worker who wove the plastic netting that enwrapped our raw turkey? I'll be we're not. I'll be we haven't given HIM a second thought. MOM: So, no turkey, then? I'm not sure which was worse: My Socialist diatribes or bookending the most succulent turkey of my life with readings about men kicking rats off their bleeding feet and falling into vats of grease. Thanks, Ms. Doe.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Whenever I've asked someone if they have read The Jungle, and if they have not read it, they always respond, "isn't that about the meat packing industry?". I think that response is exactly what the author was trying to point out is wrong with his society at the time. It is true that the main character of the book at one point goes to work in a meat packing plant, and its disgusting, and when the book was published apparently the FDA was created as a result, or something. The problem is, though, Whenever I've asked someone if they have read The Jungle, and if they have not read it, they always respond, "isn't that about the meat packing industry?". I think that response is exactly what the author was trying to point out is wrong with his society at the time. It is true that the main character of the book at one point goes to work in a meat packing plant, and its disgusting, and when the book was published apparently the FDA was created as a result, or something. The problem is, though, that this book is not about the meat packing industry- the book is about the plight of a poor immigrant family in Chicago, and about the plight of poor people in the country in general at that time. Sinclair is trying to bring light to the disgusting ways in which people in his time were forced to live, the way they were manipulated, ripped off, neglected and sometime even killed by the very community that profited from their cheap labor. Its an incredible book, and if you read it keep in mind that the atrocities that really occur in this book surround the way that these people were held down no matter what they did. I think that Upton Sinclair would be saddened to know, and maybe he did know, that the only thing that changed as a result of this beautifully written pro-socialist novel is that the middle class now has healthy meat products.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Reading The Jungle will have you wringing your fists Upton Sinclair style. Right up until I read it, The Jungle was one of those books I'd always heard of, but not heard about. I knew it was important, apparently, because everyone said so, but no one said why. (I guess I should have asked.) From what I gathered, it had something to do with the meat industry and its nefarious doings in the early 20th century, which led me to expect a dry, straight-forward, tell-all non-fiction revealing corruptio Reading The Jungle will have you wringing your fists Upton Sinclair style. Right up until I read it, The Jungle was one of those books I'd always heard of, but not heard about. I knew it was important, apparently, because everyone said so, but no one said why. (I guess I should have asked.) From what I gathered, it had something to do with the meat industry and its nefarious doings in the early 20th century, which led me to expect a dry, straight-forward, tell-all non-fiction revealing corruption, worker neglect, health violations, unsafe food preparation, and other important but not very exciting topics. That's probably why it took me about 20 years longer to get around to it than it should have. Finally I read it. I was right. It did include all those topics, but it was fiction, and it was epic. The Jungle is a story of immigrants coming to America to improve their lot in life and running headlong into the Chicago meat industry, which had very little interest in improving anyone's lot in life but the company owners and share holders. The lower you were down on the corporate food chain, the less the industry cared about you, and that includes the consumer, that unwitting public being fed a product almost completely devoid of nutrition. Granted, Sinclair had an agenda - reveal industry corruption - and he sugarcoated it in a captivating story to entice the unwashed masses to give it a read. Not only do I not have a problem with that, I'm not embarrassed to say it's one of my favorite methods of swallowing these dry pills. I popped this one in my mouth and it went down smoother than expected. Then it made me sick to my stomach, but in the end I'm better off for having taken it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The jungle, Upton Sinclair The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878–1968). Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. His primary purpose in describing the meat industry and its working conditions was to advance socialism in the United States. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1978ئ میلادی عنوان: جنگل؛ نویسنده: آپتن سینکلر؛ مترجم: ابوتراب ب The jungle, Upton Sinclair The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878–1968). Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. His primary purpose in describing the meat industry and its working conditions was to advance socialism in the United States. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1978ئ میلادی عنوان: جنگل؛ نویسنده: آپتن سینکلر؛ مترجم: ابوتراب باقرزاده؛ تهران، ؟، ؟، در چهارده و 417 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، روزبهان، 1357، در چهارده و 417 ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 20 م عنوان: جنگل؛ نویسنده: آپتن سینکلر؛ مترجم: مینا سرابی؛ تهران، ؟، ؟، در 331 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، علم، 1357، در 331 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، دنیای نو، 1380، در 329 ص؛ شابک: 9649047212؛ نیاکان ادبی آپتن سینکلر، بیشمار هستند، آنان سنت دیرینه ای در ادبیات پایه نهاده اند، عمدتا شرایط زندگی طبقه کارگر، و انگیزه های جنبشهای آن طبقه را، مورد بررسی قرار میدهند، نخستین نمونه در آمریکا: «کلبه ی عمو توم» بود، اثر: هریت بیچر استو، و «شمال و جنوب» اثر الیزابت گاسکل، و ... ا. شربیانی

  5. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    Every day in New York they slaughter four million ducks five million pigs and two thousand doves for the pleasure of the dying, a million cows a million lambs and two million roosters, that leave the sky in splinters. —Federico García Lorca I expected to dislike this book, because it is a book aimed at provoking outrage. Outrage is a species of anger, and, like all species of anger, it can feel oddly pleasurable. True, anger always contains dissatisfaction of some kind; but anger can also be an enormousl Every day in New York they slaughter four million ducks five million pigs and two thousand doves for the pleasure of the dying, a million cows a million lambs and two million roosters, that leave the sky in splinters. —Federico García Lorca I expected to dislike this book, because it is a book aimed at provoking outrage. Outrage is a species of anger, and, like all species of anger, it can feel oddly pleasurable. True, anger always contains dissatisfaction of some kind; but anger can also be an enormously enlivening feeling—the feeling that we are infinitely right and our opponents infinitely wrong. Outrage joins with this moral superiority a certain smugness, since we feel outrage on behalf of others, about things that do not affect us personally, and so we can feel satisfied that we would never do something so egregious. Judging from how ephemeral public outrage tends to be, and how infrequently it leads to action, outrage can be, and often is, engaged in for its own sake—as a periodic reminder to ourselves that we are not villains, since villains couldn’t feel so angry at injustice inflicted on so distant a party. In a way, the history of this book justifies my suspicion. Upton Sinclair spent seven weeks working in the meatpacking industry in Chicago, and wrote a muckraking novel about the experience. An avowed and proud socialist, his aim was to raise public awareness of the terrible conditions of the working poor—to write the "Uncle Tom’s Cabin of wage slavery,” as Jack London called the book. The book did cause a lot of outrage, but not for the intended reasons. The public interpreted the book as an exposé on the unsanitary conditions in the meat factories; and the legislation that resulted was purely to remedy this problem. As Sinclair himself said, “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.” This is one of those ironies of history that make you want to laugh or cry: a book aimed to publicize the plight of the working poor made an impact solely in the way that working conditions affected the middle class. About halfway through, I had decided that this was a brilliant piece of journalism and a mediocre novel. But the second half made me revise my opinion: it is a surprisingly decent novel, too. This is impressive, since fiction is not Sinclair’s strength. His characters are, for the most part, one-dimensional and static; in this book they serve as mere loci of pity. Furthermore, they never really come alive, since Sinclair writes almost no dialogue. In the first half, when the protagonists are at work in the yards, the plot is drearily predicable: things go from bad to worse; and, as Shakespeare reminds us, every time you tell yourself “This is the worst,” there is worse yet still to come. But after Jurgis, our hero, finally leaves the meat factories, the novel really comes alive. Things still go from bad to worse, for the most part, but there are some surprising reversals and exciting adventures. In any case, this book is primarily a work of journalism, and on that level it is absolutely successful. Sinclair is an expert writer. He deploys language with extreme precision; his descriptions are vivid and exact. And what he describes is unforgettable. His portrayal of grinding poverty, and the desperation and despair it drives people to, is almost Dostoyevskyan in its gruesomeness. And unlike that Russian author, Sinclair is very clear that the problem is systematic and social—how decent and hardworking people can fall into an economic trap with no options and no escape. He shows how and why the working poor are free only in theory, how and why the oppressed and exploited are virtually owned by their bosses. And it must be said that his descriptions of factory processes are viscerally disgusting—so disgusting that they do distract a little from Sinclair’s message. The meat factory is the book’s central metaphor: a giant slaughterhouse where hapless animals are herded and butchered. As becomes painfully clear by the end of the book, the working poor are hardly in a better situation than the pigs. By the end, Sinclair succeeds in producing that rare sensation: reasoned outrage. For there are, of course, situations in which outrage is the only logical response—monstrous injustice and inhuman cruelty—and the working and living conditions in the meatpacking district was one of them. Sinclair succeeds in this by relating facts instead of preaching. (Well, he does some preaching at the end, but it is forgivable.) He does not sentimentalize his characters or exaggerate their nobility; they are ordinary and flawed people. He does not use mawkish or cloying language; his narrative voice is pitiless and cold, like the world he describes. This book is a testament to the positive potential of outrage. The world needs more muckrakers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    (written 6-03) Wow. Now I can see why this book had such a big impression on those who read it in the early twentieth century. Really heart-wrenching (and gut-wrenching) stuff. There's the famous quote that Sinclair said he aimed for the public's heart and hit it in the stomach instead. I guess people didn't care much for the Socialism stuff, but when they learned what exactly their sausage was made of, they got mad. It was surprising how much Sinclair reminds me of Ayn Rand, especially considerin (written 6-03) Wow. Now I can see why this book had such a big impression on those who read it in the early twentieth century. Really heart-wrenching (and gut-wrenching) stuff. There's the famous quote that Sinclair said he aimed for the public's heart and hit it in the stomach instead. I guess people didn't care much for the Socialism stuff, but when they learned what exactly their sausage was made of, they got mad. It was surprising how much Sinclair reminds me of Ayn Rand, especially considering their completely opposite views on capitalism. They both use a fictional human situation to show the evils of society from an individual's point of view, and The Jungle and Atlas Shrugged both ended with a lengthy philosophical statement that was thinly veiled as a speech by the characters. I guess the difference is, Rand didn't know when to quit, and tried to actually make her utopia become a reality in the book. Sinclair left it as a call-to-arms. I liked Rand's ideas in print, but, as seen in The Jungle and in Fast Food Nation, corporations can't be trusted to make good decisions. Not every business owner is a Howard Roark or a John Galt. And efficiency can sometimes come at a high human price. Profits don't equal success, and the market, self-sufficient as it may seem, needs regulation. The situation has come a long way in the past century, with minimum wages, enforced child labor laws, anti-trust laws, worker's compensation, and more. But Eric Schlosser showed us that the meatpacking industry is still cheating its workers, still the most dangerous place to work, and still trying to avoid regulations at all costs, with injuries going unreported and meat going uninspected. I'm glad to finally have read this book... now when I talk about it I really know what I am talking about.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Danger

    It's been a while since I read it, but I believe this book features a precocious young boy named Mowgli Rudkus who was raised by wolves. After singing a bunch of songs with bears and orangutans in the jungles of India, Mowgli immigrates to turn-of-the-century Chicago where he lives in abject poverty until he falls into an industrial meat grinder and becomes a hamburger. He is later served to Theodore Roosevelt for Thanksgiving dinner, 1906. This book also has the distinction of changing America' It's been a while since I read it, but I believe this book features a precocious young boy named Mowgli Rudkus who was raised by wolves. After singing a bunch of songs with bears and orangutans in the jungles of India, Mowgli immigrates to turn-of-the-century Chicago where he lives in abject poverty until he falls into an industrial meat grinder and becomes a hamburger. He is later served to Theodore Roosevelt for Thanksgiving dinner, 1906. This book also has the distinction of changing America's political and social attitudes towards both the meat packing industry and the villainous Shere Khan. Legislation against Shere Khan continues to this day. Someone might want to fact check this review on Wikipedia or something.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Introduction, by Ronald Gottesman Suggestions for Further Reading A Note on the Text --The Jungle

  9. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “They use everything about the hog except the squeal.” ― Upton Sinclair, The Jungle One of the great social/protest novels of the 20th Century. 'The Jungle' is at once an indictment on the treatment of immigrants, poverty, American wage slavery, and the working conditions at Chicago's stockyards and meatpacking plants -- and simultaneously an exposé on the unsanitary conditions of the meat produced in the plants and led to Federal real food reform. Did I like it? Well, it pissed me off, so I thou “They use everything about the hog except the squeal.” ― Upton Sinclair, The Jungle One of the great social/protest novels of the 20th Century. 'The Jungle' is at once an indictment on the treatment of immigrants, poverty, American wage slavery, and the working conditions at Chicago's stockyards and meatpacking plants -- and simultaneously an exposé on the unsanitary conditions of the meat produced in the plants and led to Federal real food reform. Did I like it? Well, it pissed me off, so I thought it was a great piece of writing. It reminded me of the time when I was 19 and lived next to the Swift stockyards and meat packing plants. The smells that seemed more terrestrial than dirt seemed to flood back into my brain. 'The Jungle' shows how persuasive fiction can actually lead to real world reform. The FDA was created largely due to the public outcry after the publication of this book. Jack London said in his review at the time, that the Jungle was the Uncle Tom's Cabin of wage slavery. The interesting fact, however, is Sinclair was more concerned about the people, the exploitation of immigrants and children, but the power of this novel ended up being tied to the condition of the food, and not the people. Sinclair was quoted as saying "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." Regardless, Upton Sinclair throws a helluva punch.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jed

    if i had the words to describe the horror of reading this book, i'd certainly find a way to put them here. this was a physically challenging read, as it took an epic energy even to continue. All the terrors you've ever heard about what you might find in its pages are absolutely true. the weight of it is oppressive. it stinks with the filth of early america, it aches with excruciating poverty and unrelenting suffering, and it drips an inhuman avarice summoned from the darkest reaches of a roiling if i had the words to describe the horror of reading this book, i'd certainly find a way to put them here. this was a physically challenging read, as it took an epic energy even to continue. All the terrors you've ever heard about what you might find in its pages are absolutely true. the weight of it is oppressive. it stinks with the filth of early america, it aches with excruciating poverty and unrelenting suffering, and it drips an inhuman avarice summoned from the darkest reaches of a roiling hell that most of us refuse to acknowledge ever played a part in our history or the present capitalist mirage we live in now. but with that out of the way, i think i really liked it. i determined to read it based on the fact that it's a book we "talk" a lot about. we discussed in in high school and in college, and most people are familiar enough with its subject to make allusions to it over big macs at mcdonalds (what are we eating in there, anyway?). but i can't think of anyone i know that has actually read it (with the exception, now, of bennion who lent me his copy). i thought i could endure the torment of the story if only for the right to say i'd done it. like watching david lynch's "eraserhead." but, i was happy to find that it was alarmingly fulfilling and i'll always be glad i stuck it out. its trajectory is long and slow, demanding a total commitment of the reader. because to quit on the killing beds (and the first 3/4 of the book feel like the killing beds) you would leave it as gutted and hollow as the cattle slaughtered thereon. but with the proper fight, and a healthy dose of "count your many blessings," the reward is rich and it fills the resulting void with an enlightened, even sweet-smelling righteous indignation. the kind that makes you feel good. like you've come out the other side of a battle, drenched in blood, but totally alive. more so, maybe, than when you went in. i'd heartily recommend this book to anyone with the stomach and the will to endure. i'd say it is essential to the american experience. it's a rotten picture, however, and not for anyone who doesn't want to take off the star-spangled glasses and confront the ugly past. but there's a lot more here than an expository piece of reportage from a century behind us. a bloody lot more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kater Cheek

    I have a tendency to be easily swayed by arguments, so I asked a well-read friend for an antidote to Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED. She suggested this book. If I ever get that wish where you get to resurrect people and have them at a dinner party, I'm going to have Ayn Rand and Upton Sinclair there together. That would be an awesome cage-fight between the philosophers. This book has an actual story with actual sympathetic characters. Well, they start out being sympathetic. Jurgis and Ona are a young I have a tendency to be easily swayed by arguments, so I asked a well-read friend for an antidote to Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED. She suggested this book. If I ever get that wish where you get to resurrect people and have them at a dinner party, I'm going to have Ayn Rand and Upton Sinclair there together. That would be an awesome cage-fight between the philosophers. This book has an actual story with actual sympathetic characters. Well, they start out being sympathetic. Jurgis and Ona are a young couple in love, recently immigrated from Lithuania. They've come to Chicago to make their forturne, only to find that life in the packing houses is not much better than slavery. No matter how hard they work, they are only one brief breath away from starvation. At first, I was rooting for them, hoping to get to the point where their luck turned and they finally started to make good. Alas, at some point, it became apparent that this wasn't Sinclair's plan. Bad luck plagues them. Pretty soon, children and innocent women are dropping like flies, and I had to disengage because I didn't really want to identify with people who were doomed to die a horrible, horrible death. There's not a lot of subtlety in this book, and as a reader I felt myself looking for the path that Sinclair was trying to lead us on. I knew the history of this novel, what he had intended (to have labor reform) and what he got (food safety reform). But I couldn't help but wonder if the moral was "life will get better once you rid yourself of your family." The novel is plotted poorly. It lacks a narrative arc that culminates in a satisfactory ending. One expects a plot to have a certain path. Things get worse, and worse, and worse, then there's a climax, then there's a resolution, then there's a denoument. I don't notice as a reader how much I rely on this until something like this comes along where its absence jars me. Jurgis' life and his family get worse and worse, and worse, and worse, then they get better, then they get worse,then they get better, then they get kind of worse, but not as bad as they were at the beginning, and then a bunch of unrelated things happen, and then he meets the socialists and everything is sunshine and roses. The reader is supposed to be blown away by the triumphant rational truth of the socialist proselytizer, just as Jurgis is. But because I've actually read history, I read it instead with a kind of amused pity, like when a tone-deaf ugly kid says "I'm going to be a famous singer someday!" Oh honey, you think socialism will fix everything. Bless your heart, you're so cute. Sinclair correctly points out that wage slavery creates a huge burgeoning underclass, that it's both unjust and inhuman when those with money buy power so they can exploit people so they can gain even more power. While his proposed solution would solve the ills of early 20th century Chicago about as well as mercury sulfide cures toothaches, these are valid points. They make me grateful for OSHA regulations and minimum wage laws. The most amusing part of this novel is that when this book came out, no one really cared that much about the poor people. All they cared about was that their meat was disgusting. Apparently 20th century Americans don't care if poor immigrants die, they just don't want to have to eat the corpses. It reminds me of that scene in "The Simpsons" where Bart goes to France and is held prisoner and mistreated by his "host" family. When he escapes to the police and recites a litany of his travails, the only fact the gendarme fixes on is "they put antifreeze in the wine?" The other amusing part of this novel was that I read it so soon after reading ATLAS SHRUGGED. I don't think Rand ever read this novel, though she could have. I wonder what she would have thought of it? Because ATLAS SHRUGGED is basically a diatribe with cardboard characters that espouses how Socialism (Communism) is horrible, and the only solution to a happy nation is unbridled capitalism. THE JUNGLE is basically a diatribe with cardboard characters that espouses how unbridled capitalism is horrible, and how the only solution to a happy nation is Socialism (Communism). He didn't really live long enough to see the full extent of that little experiment. What would he have thought about it? I'll grant Sinclair a little more leeway for his naivite, since he was born too early to see Soviet Communist handiwork. Like ATLAS SHRUGGED, THE JUNGLE is an important book, a monumental book, in terms of its influence, but it's not really a well-written book. I recommend it to people who like to learn about early twentieth-century America.

  12. 4 out of 5

    AMD

    I had to read this book in my high school U.S. History class. I was in an "Academic" class because due to scheduling conflicts, I could not be in either "Honors" or "AP". I hated this class. I loved the teacher, but at one point the a student stopped class to ask what the difference between the U.S.S.R. and Russia was. I spent almost every class period simultaneously wanting to kill everyone and go get coffee with the teacher, but I never spoke out loud. (Incidentally, he told me I would like co I had to read this book in my high school U.S. History class. I was in an "Academic" class because due to scheduling conflicts, I could not be in either "Honors" or "AP". I hated this class. I loved the teacher, but at one point the a student stopped class to ask what the difference between the U.S.S.R. and Russia was. I spent almost every class period simultaneously wanting to kill everyone and go get coffee with the teacher, but I never spoke out loud. (Incidentally, he told me I would like college much better than high school.) In order to encourage me to be more vocal and assertive, when we broke up into groups to work on this book, the teacher made me a group leader. One member of my group (male) was aggressively stupid. The other two were varying degrees of comatose. The only thing I really remember of this book (apart from the graphic descriptions of putrescence) was this: At the beginning of each class, we had to answer check questions just to make sure we had done the assigned reading. One of the questions was to list ways in which the factory workers died. One of the ways they died was by contracting tuberculosis. Obviously in the book, Sinclair uses the term consumption, which is what I told my group was an additional answer to the question. The aggressively stupid one turned to me and said very clearly: "You're so dumb, I should be the leader. Consumption is when you eat." I hated that class.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Ashleigh

    This was a graphic look into the world of meat and it may have been the original Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, but that just isn't what I am looking for in a book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    As the animals are driven up the ramp into the slaughter house, killed, butchered and processed down to the last scraps of bone and hoof so too an immigrant family will be cozened, cheated, see their dreams shattered and families broken up. It is one of a number of novels in which the slaughter house is both a metaphor for modern society and foreshadows the fate of the characters, which I suppose is appropriate in that the Chicago slaughterhouse, in which the incoming beasts were de-constructed As the animals are driven up the ramp into the slaughter house, killed, butchered and processed down to the last scraps of bone and hoof so too an immigrant family will be cozened, cheated, see their dreams shattered and families broken up. It is one of a number of novels in which the slaughter house is both a metaphor for modern society and foreshadows the fate of the characters, which I suppose is appropriate in that the Chicago slaughterhouse, in which the incoming beasts were de-constructed into as many component or marketable parts as possible was one of the inspirations for the Detroit assembly line along which components were once upon a time built up into four wheeled motor cars. Mirror image processes which might from a certain point of view be taken as epitomising the twentieth century experience. Either way one finds oneself sent along a pre ordained line whether to destruction or to be released into the community on parole, perhaps not as a model-T, until the bell toils for you. If we take Sinclair's somewhat Weberian view of the culmination of the process of rationalisation and glance on to 1984 or even Brave New World, one might wonder why bother going to the trouble of erecting political structures to channel people first along the assembly line and then the dis-assembly line with such involved and complex mechanisms when one can achieve equal destruction simply through the apparently normal and acceptable operation of efficiency and rational economics. It is only the bleat for which no economic use can be found.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    It is impossible for me to review this without appearing to be pissy. The work itself is barely literary. The Jungle explores and illustrates the conditions of the meatpacking industry. Its presence stirred outcry which led to much needed reforms. Despite the heroics of tackling the Beef Trust, Upton Sinclair saw little need in the actual artful. The protagonist exists only to conjoin the various pieces of reportage. There isn't much emotional depth afforded, the characters' motivations often ap It is impossible for me to review this without appearing to be pissy. The work itself is barely literary. The Jungle explores and illustrates the conditions of the meatpacking industry. Its presence stirred outcry which led to much needed reforms. Despite the heroics of tackling the Beef Trust, Upton Sinclair saw little need in the actual artful. The protagonist exists only to conjoin the various pieces of reportage. There isn't much emotional depth afforded, the characters' motivations often appear skeptical. I was left shaking my head on many a turn, especially towards the end where entire speeches from the American Socialist party compete with esoteric findings of left-leaning social scientists from the era (around 1905). Despite these shortcomings as a novel, the opening half is often harrowing. Graphic descriptions of hellish work conditions, poor food quality and lack of social safety net reached towards a very personal conclusion: I am EVER so grateful that I didn't live 110 years ago and was forced to compete economically under those conditions.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Somehow I never read this before, but I've heard it was a classic - not just a classic, but one that drove Theodore Roosevelt into attempting to clean up the mess of the Chicago stock yards & eventually led to public exposure & the FDA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jung... Sinclair wasn't happy with the response & I can see why. About halfway through, I've found the ills of the meat packing industry to be very much a secondary issue for Sinclair. They're awful, but it's obvious tha Somehow I never read this before, but I've heard it was a classic - not just a classic, but one that drove Theodore Roosevelt into attempting to clean up the mess of the Chicago stock yards & eventually led to public exposure & the FDA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jung... Sinclair wasn't happy with the response & I can see why. About halfway through, I've found the ills of the meat packing industry to be very much a secondary issue for Sinclair. They're awful, but it's obvious that his first & foremost thought is the plight of honest, hard working immigrants. They arrive with stars in their eyes & are soon living in hell. He certainly created (found) a proper setting. I've always had a soft spot for immigrants. All of my ancestors, a grandfather & the rest of my great grandparents, immigrated to the US in the late 1800's & early 1900's, within decades of this novel's setting 1906. They all landed in NYC & eventually made their fortunes. Some managed to own their own homes out on Long Island, nothing grand, but solidly middle class. They had hard times in Brooklyn, but nothing like what Sinclair describes. The morass that his characters landed in is enough to make anyone with a heart weep. The naivete & ignorance of the immigrants is compounded by the language barrier. Life was pretty brutal back then, but their lives were crushed by greed, a surplus of workers, lack of unions, decent medicine, & more. IOW, the sheer number of hardships that lines up against them is too long to list. The grinding weight of them is practically unbearable to read about. This is something for us to remember today when we are facing similar immigration issues. Poor people who are scrounging to live will do just about anything, including turning to crime, & it's hard to blame them. They're desperate. Sinclair shows us that in this novel, although his point is weakened by taking things too far. After the halfway point, Sinclair felt he had set the stage & started pointing out all the ills of the world. He dwells on corruption in every major industry & rants at how it is all a scheme to plunder the poor worker. His remedy is Socialism & he preaches it relentlessly until the last 1/4 of the book devolved into pure party politics. His version of Socialism sounded very much like the Communism of Russia, although I'm no expert in or student of gov't types. (Make up your own mind on the label, I don't care.) The world into 2 classes; the workers & the greedy owners. Only one manufacturer of goods is needed, since it is more efficient & there is no need for frills or competition. Prices are set by the amount of work it takes to produce them & everyone is allotted the basics. I was disappointed in the way the book ended in his political diatribe. The last half wasn't really worth plowing through, especially today, given the historical example of how the Russian's economy worked out under a similar system. Even without that, Sinclair's fanaticism shines through & doesn't make much sense since there is no allowance for any compromise. He sees unions as ineffectual, doomed to failure due to the corruption throughout the entire system. Upton Sinclair's page in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upton_Si... says he believed sex should only be performed during marriage & then for procreation only. I'm glad I read this after the book. I don't much care for fanaticism. This book has its own Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle Overall, I was tempted to only give this book 3 stars due to the poor last half, but decided that I'd give it 4 stars & highly recommend the first half to all. Once you feel the book is descending into the depths, cut your losses. There's no real ending to look forward to, just increasing diatribe & idiocy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    Even teachers get things wrong. I remember throughout middle school and high school learning about The Jungle as the book intended to expose the American meatpacking industry. And while it did to that, Upton Sinclair's mission - which I discussed quite a bit in my Social Protest Literature course - centered more on exposing the evils of capitalism. The public's reception of The Jungle exemplifies the doctrine of unintended consequences, as Sinclair himself writes "I aimed at the public's heart, Even teachers get things wrong. I remember throughout middle school and high school learning about The Jungle as the book intended to expose the American meatpacking industry. And while it did to that, Upton Sinclair's mission - which I discussed quite a bit in my Social Protest Literature course - centered more on exposing the evils of capitalism. The public's reception of The Jungle exemplifies the doctrine of unintended consequences, as Sinclair himself writes "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." The book itself does a great job of criticizing capitalism. We follow Jurgis and his family - immigrants from Lithuania - as they struggle in horrifying and disastrous ways to live the American dream. Sinclair hits us over and over with all the ways in which capitalism dehumanizes us, pits us against one another, and precludes any type of moral upward mobility. Perhaps Sinclair's book did not achieve its expected goal because of Sinclair's unrelenting and somewhat bombastic prose. The public may have internalized the grossness of his descriptions of the meatpacking industry instead of Sinclair's more overarching indictment of capitalism. Overall, a worthwhile read for those interested in investigative fiction or books aimed to generate social protest. Not the most subtle or stylistically-sophisticated book by any means, but one that remains relevant in regard to writing and activism.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leah W

    Things not to do: -tug on Superman's cape -spit in the wind -discuss The Jungle extensively in your junior year literature class directly before lunchtime on hot dog day -mess around with Jim I still don't eat hot dogs. And I ate hot dogs up until then, despite having uncles who worked at the hot dog factory that weren't the most finger-rich of individuals. Re-read in 2005 for Gapers Block book club.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    There’s an interesting introduction into the world of this Lithuanian community of Chicago. The main scene being the marriage of 16-year-old, blue-eyed Ona, running into tears often, …with Jurgis, a much older man. Special attention has been given to the description of the characters dancing or just chatting over the table; but center-stage remains the trio-band (moving, sometimes, over the room!): Tamoszius, the 5-feet leader, the violin player, supported by another violin, of a Slovak man, and There’s an interesting introduction into the world of this Lithuanian community of Chicago. The main scene being the marriage of 16-year-old, blue-eyed Ona, running into tears often, …with Jurgis, a much older man. Special attention has been given to the description of the characters dancing or just chatting over the table; but center-stage remains the trio-band (moving, sometimes, over the room!): Tamoszius, the 5-feet leader, the violin player, supported by another violin, of a Slovak man, and a third fat man who plays the bass part on a cello. The band tunes make the minds and hearts of those attending to recall Lithuania. Alina is the beauty of the evening, but she’s too proud. She’s countered by Jadvyga: beautiful, yet humble. There’s plenty of Lithuanian language in the air…and in the songs…and waltzing. Jokubas contribution to the “party” is his “poetical imagination”. Antanas, the precociously “old” man, has got difficulties starting his solemn speech due to lungs problems gotten in his job, now in America. The author, from the very beginning, points to the work aspects of these people. Take a few cases: Tamoszius works in the “killing beds”; Marija, the very first character of the book, works in a “canning factory” . …and Mikolas is a beef boner; a “trade” which may imply “blood poisoning”. The book had an impact on the denunciation of (bad) work conditions and the promulgation of appropriate laws to correct these situations in America, in the beginning of the 20th century.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jason Pettus

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.) The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label Essay #64: The Jungle (1906), by Upton Sinclair The story in a nutshell: (Much of today's plot recap was cribbed from Wikipedia, for reasons that will become clearer be (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.) The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label Essay #64: The Jungle (1906), by Upton Sinclair The story in a nutshell: (Much of today's plot recap was cribbed from Wikipedia, for reasons that will become clearer below.) Originally published in 1906, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is a sprawling look at the typical immigrant experience in America back then, before most of the laws regarding things like workplace safety, minimum wage and city zoning had been created; following a family of twelve who have recently arrived in Chicago from their troubled home of Lithuania, Sinclair's main point is to show that, unlike the rose-tinted tales of gold-paved streets and self-determination that were the common narrative among capitalists back then, in fact an unregulated free-market system is designed from its very core to exploit the poor and uneducated, that in fact such a system wouldn't even work if it wasn't for the ease in which such people can be manipulated and taken advantage of. And so do we watch in growing horror as our hapless English-challenged hero Jurgis Rudkus first gets swindled out of all his money, then gets evicted from a slum, then faces a living nightmare in his job at the infamous Chicago Stockyards, then has his wife die during childbirth because they can't afford a doctor, then has his son die by literally drowning in mud in the middle of a public street, then becomes a bitter drifter and hobo, before finally having his soul saved by almost accidentally falling in with a group of socialist agitators, the book ending on a bright note as our author stand-in envisions out loud a future world that is fair and equal to all. The argument for it being a classic: There's a simple argument to be made for why The Jungle should be considered a classic, claim its large cadre of passionate fans, which is the massive influence it had on the real world -- namely, people at the time were so horrified by its stomach-churning accounts of the meatpacking industry, the US formed the Food & Drug Administration directly because of it, which over the decades has become one of the most important and powerful government agencies in the entire country. That's an astounding reaction to a simple, small melodrama by a semi-obscure writer, the equivalent perhaps of a random tech-blogger in North Dakota singlehandedly convincing Congress to declare the internet a public utility and ban all private cable companies; and the reason the book managed to accomplish this, they say, is because of being so powerful and heartbreaking, one of the best examples you'll ever find of the then-new "Social Realist" literary style which would go on to inspire pretty much an entire generation of politically motivated authors in the 1920s and '30s. A book that does exactly what it aims to do -- that is, make its readers angry and disgusted at the appalling way blue-collar workers were treated in an age before social-welfare laws -- The Jungle is a prime example of the novel format's ability to do things besides just tell an entertaining tale, an ability that was only being seriously explored in this format for the very first time in these years, yet another reason this groundbreaker should be considered an undeniable classic that every person should read before they die. The argument against: To understand the problem in general with The Jungle, say its critics, simply look at that specific tale its fans tell about it inspiring the formation of the FDA, and how that's not really all of the story when you stop and examine it; how as even Sinclair himself lamented many times in his later years, the whole point of his book was supposed to be to show off the inherent evil of a capitalist middle class and to inspire a violent socialist revolution to overcome them, while the reaction from the actual capitalist middle class was to be horrified at the condition of the food they were putting into their mouths, while continuing to not give a toss about the people who actually worked at these factories, or about any of the other 75 percent of this novel that doesn't have to directly do with the subject of workplace cleanliness. And so while it's admirable that the book had the kind of real-world influence that it did, its critics claim, that's really something more for history class than the world of the arts; and that the novel taken just on its own is actually pretty terrible, an overly serious doom-n-gloomer that never just makes its points when it can instead write those points down on a wooden two-by-four and then beat you in the back of the head repeatedly with it as hard as humanly possible. ("CAPITALISM IS BAD!" WHACK!!! "CAPITALISM IS BAD!" WHACK!!! "CAPITALISM IS BAD!" WHACK!!! And sheesh, the less we talk about the twenty-page literal sermon on socialism that Sinclair uses to end the book, the better.) A writer who these days would be just as unknown as the hundreds of other hacky schlockmeisters churning out "poor lil' immigrant" stories in those same years, if it hadn't been for its accidental success in exposing the meatpacking industry at the exact moment in history when it needed to be, The Jungle is certainly a book to be admired but not necessarily to be read anymore, say its critics, and it's the perpetual assigning of this badly-written book in high-school lit classes that's partly to blame for so many Americans despising literature by the time they're done with school. My verdict: So leaving aside today the question of their actual politics (which to be clear, I'm also not a fan of), I've discovered over the years a big common problem with most of the artistic projects made by radical liberals, an issue that came up yet again while I was reading John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath for this essay series last year; namely, that radical liberals tend to lack even the slightest understanding of subtlety or humor, which makes nearly every artistic project ever made by a radical liberal (from Great Depression novels to Michael Moore documentaries) a joyless, patronizing chore, not enjoyable on its own but something we're usually literally forced to endure, because it's supposedly important and good for us and beneficial to society. (Although to be fair, most artistic projects by radical conservatives suffer from the exact same problems; it's not the left or right I have a particular problem with, but rather those who claim that a political purpose excuses an artistic project from needing to have any artistic merit.) And so it is with The Jungle as well, which I plainly confess is one of the handful of books in this essay series I eventually gave up on long before actually finishing, after first spending an entire month reading it and still not being able to choke down even fifty pages of the dreck. And to make it clear that I'm not the only one who feels this way, let's remember that no less than TIME magazine once called Sinclair "a man with every gift except humor and silence;" because that in a nutshell is what reading The Jungle is like, a ponderous accidental self-parody that is just so unrelenting and overly obvious in portraying the inner sweetness and outer misery of its main characters, you can't help sometimes but to laugh at inappropriate moments at its sheer sense of outrageousness. Like I said, there used to be literally thousands of such writers, and hundreds of them once nationally famous, back when the entire "Social Realism" movement reached its height in the 1910s through '30s, and now with all but a handful of them completely forgotten by society and history at large; and that's for the same reason that only a handful of poetry slammers from the 1990s and early 2000s will be remembered a hundred years from now, the same reason that we humans compile these kinds of "classics" lists in the first place, because ultimately what entertains a crowd of contemporaries in the heat of the original moment is far from the same thing that makes a piece of writing stay relevant for years and decades afterwards. The simple fact is that The Jungle is not even an ounce better than any of those other hundreds of forgotten melodramas that were cranked out in those same years, and that it really is only remembered at all anymore because of the effect it had on the real topic of workplace hygiene; and I agree with its critics that this isn't nearly enough of a reason to consider a book a timeless classic, which is why I firmly come down in the negative on the subject today. Definitely check it out if it sounds up your alley, but feel more than free to skip if you don't and still consider yourself a decent human being. Is it a classic? No (And don't forget that the first 33 essays in this series are now available in book form!)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Argos

    Şikago Mezbahaları sert bir sosyal roman ve sanırım benzerlerine göre (J.Steinbeck ve J. London’ın bazı eserleri gibi) oldukça sarsıcı. 1906’da yazılmış olan bu kitap 1900’ün hemen başlarında ABD’de sanayi devriminde otomasyon ve kas gücünün ortaklaşa kullandığı yıllarda geçer. Şikago’da Litvanya’dan göç eden bir ailenin insanlık dramı anlatılıyor. Olayların geçtiği yer kitaba adını veren et endüstrisinin merkezi mezbahalardır. Açlık, hastalık, cahillik, çaresizlik, fakirlik ile yolsuzluk, fuhuş Şikago Mezbahaları sert bir sosyal roman ve sanırım benzerlerine göre (J.Steinbeck ve J. London’ın bazı eserleri gibi) oldukça sarsıcı. 1906’da yazılmış olan bu kitap 1900’ün hemen başlarında ABD’de sanayi devriminde otomasyon ve kas gücünün ortaklaşa kullandığı yıllarda geçer. Şikago’da Litvanya’dan göç eden bir ailenin insanlık dramı anlatılıyor. Olayların geçtiği yer kitaba adını veren et endüstrisinin merkezi mezbahalardır. Açlık, hastalık, cahillik, çaresizlik, fakirlik ile yolsuzluk, fuhuş, rüşvet, hilekarlık gibi insanlık hallerinin kapitalist bir düzende nasıl acımasız ve vahşi birer unsur olarak ortaya çıktığını ibretle ve bazen tedirginlikle okuyorsunuz. Vahşi kapitalizmin devletin tüm idari yapılarını, polisi, adaleti, siyasetçiyi nasıl kolayca satın aldığını, sosyal ve politik yolsuzluk ve yozlaşmayı anlatıyor. Bu romanın yazıldığı tarihteki sermaye-emek arasındaki çelişkinin yarattığı resim ile günümüzdeki resim arasındaki net fark bence daha evcilleşmiş ve şeytani akılla insancıllaştırılmış bir kapitalist düzenden başka bir şey değil. Kitabın dili çok basit, metafor, gönderme, alıntı, geriye dönüş vb edebi öğeler yok denecek kadar az. Dil zaman zaman çok dramatize edilmiş, hatta abartılmış ki kitabı biraz da bu üslup etkileyici ve hatırlanır kılıyor. Ben bazen yüreğimin daraldığını, içimin bulandığını hissettim gerçekten. Erken dönem sosyalist eserlerden biri olan bu romanı herkese şiddetle tavsiye ediyorum.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion

    What a disservice that this book is mostly read and remembered as a mere historical reference and expose on socialism and the meat-packing industry! The final four chapters which lapse into doctrine, preaching, and recruitment don't help any in casting off the label, but otherwise the book goes well beyond the Socialist politics which motivated Sinclair to write it. The first three hundred pages focus on hardened descriptions of the physical and emotional tragedy of working class immigrants losi What a disservice that this book is mostly read and remembered as a mere historical reference and expose on socialism and the meat-packing industry! The final four chapters which lapse into doctrine, preaching, and recruitment don't help any in casting off the label, but otherwise the book goes well beyond the Socialist politics which motivated Sinclair to write it. The first three hundred pages focus on hardened descriptions of the physical and emotional tragedy of working class immigrants losing everything in the face of overwhelming economic adversity. While the book can also be criticized for its somewhat higgeldy-piggeldy and hodgepodge organization, as well as forgetting that readers and characters need to breathe (non-toxic air) on occasion or eat a pickle (not tainted with formaldehyde) once in a fortnight (without frostbite), the heavy force of constant tragedy never lets up and who can dispute its power or basis in reality? To read Sinclair's lucid, almost poetic, description of the slaughterhouses in Chapter 3, or the lard-producing toxic creek, hush money for tubucular steers, and embalmed beef productions of Chapter 9, makes Dickens' melodramatic bugger tales and Zola's impecunious driftwood seem like lullabyes. There is no consumption without blood, but ironically those who feign the greatest fear of blood often consume the most. Who wants to get their diamond ring dirty or imagine where it came from? As such, The Jungle would be particularly excellent reading when stuck between the cell phone calls of mall shoppers on their way to get their Zoloft prescription filled. At least they won't be eating vienna sausages or potted ham.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    I found the first half of the book better than the last half. It turns into a tract proselytizing socialism. Upton Sinclair has a message to deliver. The message is loud and clear. The first half focuses upon an immigrant family from Lithuania. Twelve people - six kids and six adults, two of whom get married. These two are Jurgis and Ona. The central protagonist is Jurgis. We follow him from the beginning of the book to the end. We watch Jurgis and Ona and the other six adults in their struggle I found the first half of the book better than the last half. It turns into a tract proselytizing socialism. Upton Sinclair has a message to deliver. The message is loud and clear. The first half focuses upon an immigrant family from Lithuania. Twelve people - six kids and six adults, two of whom get married. These two are Jurgis and Ona. The central protagonist is Jurgis. We follow him from the beginning of the book to the end. We watch Jurgis and Ona and the other six adults in their struggle to survive. They have little education, no money and cannot speak English. They come to America with high hopes...... and they are (view spoiler)[destroyed (hide spoiler)] . All twelve of them? Read and see. This family and this couple may be viewed as particular individuals, but in reality they represent just a sample of the thousands who immigrated to the burgeoning American cities in the first decade of the 1900s. Rapid industrialization led to exploitation of workers, corruption and impossible living conditions. It is this that is the central focus of the book. This particular family came to the Chicago stockyards, and thus the secondary theme is the unsanitary conditions of the meatpacking industry. This book caused such public uproar that President Theodore Roosevelt was forced to investigate meat packing facilities. The result was the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. Both themes are equally upsetting to read about. In the beginning of the novel there is hope. Lithuanian wedding traditions are wonderfully described. This helps balance the gruesome depiction of the slaughterhouse which, meticulously described, is hard to read, but not long. Upton Sinclair first published the story in serial format in 1905 in the socialist newspaper Appeal to Reason. In 1906 it was published as a book, but it was condensed, shortened from the original thirty-six to thirty-one chapters. The reasons for the changes are disputed. Some say to make it more acceptable to capitalist views. Others say that the author himself wanted to tighten it to make it more engaging. In 2003 an edition based on the original serialization was published by See Sharp Press: The Jungle. The Blackstone Audio version I listened to has thirty-one chapters and I really do not think a more detailed rendition is necessary. Grover Garner does an excellent narration. Good speed, clear and beyond reproach. He intones different dialects perfectly. He captures the urgency of the text and the culminating speech, with which the story ends, wonderfully.

  24. 4 out of 5

    David

    With a hundred years of hindsight, we've learned so little. Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is famous for disgusting America with its tales of meat packing workers falling into vats and rendered into lard, and all the things that went into sausages and tinned beef. (Cigar butts and poisoned rats not even being the most disgusting ingredients...) But as Sinclair said about his most famous book, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." The Jungle is not primarily about With a hundred years of hindsight, we've learned so little. Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is famous for disgusting America with its tales of meat packing workers falling into vats and rendered into lard, and all the things that went into sausages and tinned beef. (Cigar butts and poisoned rats not even being the most disgusting ingredients...) But as Sinclair said about his most famous book, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." The Jungle is not primarily about the problems of an unregulated meat industry. It's about the crushing brutality of capitalism, and the problems of unregulated accumulation of wealth. No wonder that Americans prefer the less political vegetarian version. Although Sinclair was a muckraking socialist with an obvious agenda, The Jungle is still a compelling novel in its own right. Jurgis Rudkus is a Lithuanian immigrant who comes to America with his young wife Ona and his extended family of in-laws. Initially believing they have found the promised land of opportunity and plenty, they are quickly taken in by various schemes meant to impoverish, indebt, and enslave immigrants like them. At first only Jurgis has to work in Chicago's meatpacking district. He is young and strong and believes hard work will be rewarded, and those who warn him of how the meatpackers will use him up and dispose of him are lazy whiners. Of course, he soon discovers otherwise. The family undergoes one mishap after another, until within a year, even the children are reduced to selling newspapers on the street and still they are all barely staying alive. Then things get worse, and worse, and worse. Jurgis is a modern-day Job, with no God to blame his troubles on, only capitalism. He has several ups and downs, but every time he catches a break, it's quickly followed by yet another brutal smackdown. Sinclair was trying to make the reader feel sorry for Jurgis and his poor family ((view spoiler)[all of whom end up dead, prostituted, or beggars by the end of the book (hide spoiler)] ), and you will. The poor man just cannot win, and if he makes mistakes and chooses the less noble path when given a choice, it's pretty hard to judge him if you've never been homeless on the streets of Chicago in the wintertime. The Jungle is a grimly detailed look at early 20th century America. Sinclair was muckraking, so obviously he's showing the ugliest bits of America he can, but history proved that most of what he was alleging was true, even if his conclusions were questionable. Even if you are strongly anti-socialist, The Jungle is an eye-opening story, and still relevant after all these years. If you think that the horrors depicted in this book are relics of a previous era, just remember that to the extent that the very worst of these abuses are now curbed (somewhat) by government regulations, those government regulations are exactly what "free market" advocates hate and want to abolish. 4 stars. Knocking one star off because while Sinclair mostly kept his didacticism in check throughout the book, using gripping drama and only a little bit of exposition to arouse the horror he intended, the last chapter was nothing but socialist sermonizing, making it less a climax than the author climbing onto a soapbox to deliver his moral.

  25. 4 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    Everyone should read THE JUNGLE. This is an incredible story of the workers and families of the Chicago stockyards in the early 20th century. With the way working conditions were for average Americans at this time, is it any wonder that authors like Sinclair and Jack London looked toward Socialism as a means to an end? I'm not a Socialist, but these were pretty terrible times in our country when men and women were injured or killed on the job, and wages were a mere pittance. I still think about Everyone should read THE JUNGLE. This is an incredible story of the workers and families of the Chicago stockyards in the early 20th century. With the way working conditions were for average Americans at this time, is it any wonder that authors like Sinclair and Jack London looked toward Socialism as a means to an end? I'm not a Socialist, but these were pretty terrible times in our country when men and women were injured or killed on the job, and wages were a mere pittance. I still think about this book 14 years after I read it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

    Thank god this wasn't required reading in high school because I would have lost my mind.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marla

    This is a shocking story about the meat packing industry. The things that ended up in the meat. It was also hard to hear what the workers went through and how this family struggled just to survive. How their food was filled with nasty things, how people swindled them. It was a hard life back then for immigrants. Very good book to learn a little bit about America's history.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jose Moa

    The Jungle is the most brutal social novel i have read in my life and i think ever written,is a masterpiece of social realism and a masterpiece of USA literature ,between others as Germinal by Zola,The Mother by Gorki or The grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck going a step further that Dickens or Galdos. The novel describes in the most cruel and gritty and sordid form the two descents to the hell of a inocent ,ignorant,poor but full of humanity family of Lithuanians grinded by the rotten corrupted meat The Jungle is the most brutal social novel i have read in my life and i think ever written,is a masterpiece of social realism and a masterpiece of USA literature ,between others as Germinal by Zola,The Mother by Gorki or The grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck going a step further that Dickens or Galdos. The novel describes in the most cruel and gritty and sordid form the two descents to the hell of a inocent ,ignorant,poor but full of humanity family of Lithuanians grinded by the rotten corrupted meat industry of Chicago,the first descent is a physical descent from powerty to starvation,sickness and death,the second descent is a moral descent from good moral principles of his original land to vice ,corruption ,deliquency and prostitution,insolidarity and violence,only Jurgis reaches the redemption, taking consciousnes through information and a catharsis of the real culprits of the situation. The novel also tells the runaway social and political corruption of all administrative organisms,the police.the justice ,the legislative,the politics, buy off all by a extremely wild monopolistic capitalism. Of course we must to see this novel in the historical context of the industrial revolution in the USA in 1900,but in some aspects the book not have aged at all,many old tricks of the old capitalism are alive today and there are a school of think longing to coming back to the unregulated capitalism with free firing,high unenployement,low salaries,12hours of work and tamed sindicates. Now i dare to give my personal opinion on the meat industry and meat adiction of the western world. I think that this adiction is unhealhthy,immoral,promotes the hunger in the world , is against environement and antiecological. Is unhaealthy because is long ago knwn that is the cause of cancer,colorectal between others,aterosclerosis of hearth and brain,hearth infarts,ictus, and by that premature death.And yet today is full of scandals ,remember the mad cow affair. It is immoral because for the high standards of moral of the developed full democratic countries is a cruelty to kill millions of superior animals as pigs,cows horses,goats and so on,that posibly have some sort of consciousness. Promote the hunger in the world because to make a kilogram of meat are needed many kilograms of cereal and other vegetables that are extracted of the world production raising the prices and producing scarcity ,comdemnig many poor people to starvation and death. Is against environement because need extensive farming lands along the world that are destroying rainforests,forests ,echosystems,producing extinctions,reducing biodiversity and addind enormous quantities of carbon dioxide and methane enforcing fastly global warming and climate change. Tanks to Upton Sinclair and othe men as him we now live in a better world. A stronly recomended book to everybody.

  29. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    The Jungle wasn’t quite what I was expecting, having always thought of it as just a piece about the meat industry. In the beginning it seems to be a heart-breaking story about a poor immigrant family come to Chicago in pursuit of the ‘American dream’ who instead find themselves pawns of the corporate nightmare. Despite all their best efforts they aren’t going to beat the system, but still I found myself rooting for them and hoping against hope they would be able to make a go of things. As the si The Jungle wasn’t quite what I was expecting, having always thought of it as just a piece about the meat industry. In the beginning it seems to be a heart-breaking story about a poor immigrant family come to Chicago in pursuit of the ‘American dream’ who instead find themselves pawns of the corporate nightmare. Despite all their best efforts they aren’t going to beat the system, but still I found myself rooting for them and hoping against hope they would be able to make a go of things. As the situation becomes worse than desperate I wondered how Sinclair would be able to make an entire book out of so much wretchedness. That’s when the story changes focus to the male protagonist, Jurgis Rudkus, who is fleeing his tragic domestic circumstances. The rest of the book follows Jurgis in his existential struggles away from and back to Chicago. His flight from the horrors of Packingtown only lead him to similar conditions in other cities. In that respect, The Jungle reveals itself to be more than the exposé about the meatpacking industry I’d been led to believe it was. The reality is that Sinclair wanted to awaken the American people to the problems and the corruption in business practices overall and how the average worker was used as a piece of meat at best and less than garbage the rest of the time, puns intended. However when President Roosevelt sent investigators to check the situation in Chicago, owners had their workers thoroughly clean the factories prior to the inspection. Even so, conditions were so bad, ‘Roosevelt did not release the Neill-Reynolds Report for publication but submitted it directly to Congress on June 4, 1906. Public pressure led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906; renamed the Food and Drug Administration in 1930. Sinclair rejected the legislation, which he considered an unjustified boon to large meat packers. The government (and taxpayers) would bear the costs of inspection, estimated at $30,000,000 annually. He complained about the public's misunderstanding of the point of his book in Cosmopolitan Magazine in October 1906 by saying, “I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”’ The last part of The Jungle is the least interesting IMHO, being mostly Sinclair’s espousal of his socialist ideals, in many ways a foreshadowing of Ayn Rand in reverse. Other reviewers on GRs have commented that these two authors are counterpoints. They are certainly polar extremes who enjoy their soapboxes.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Renee M

    This was not an easy read. But it was riveting. Impossible to turn away as you watch the train heading toward disaster; screeching and desperate and bloody as it hurtles over the bridge and into the immovable mountain of heartless self-interest and unfair systems which let down the neediest. The story of this immigrant family looking to find a better life was the story of too many in dark times. But, what a powerful story! (Oh, and the meat-packing practices were disgusting!) **I came back to add This was not an easy read. But it was riveting. Impossible to turn away as you watch the train heading toward disaster; screeching and desperate and bloody as it hurtles over the bridge and into the immovable mountain of heartless self-interest and unfair systems which let down the neediest. The story of this immigrant family looking to find a better life was the story of too many in dark times. But, what a powerful story! (Oh, and the meat-packing practices were disgusting!) **I came back to add a star, because I've thought about this story quite often over the last several months.

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