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The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
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The Jungle (1906)

by Upton Sinclair

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,901104545 (3.81)1 / 382
  1. 60
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (kxlly)
  2. 30
    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (meggyweg)
  3. 10
    The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Theme of workers' rights
  4. 10
    For the Win by Cory Doctorow (weener)
    weener: For the Win is kind of like a modern-day version of the Jungle: a heavy-handed, painful, yet readable book about labor rights.
  5. 10
    The Death Ship by B. Traven (owishlist2)
  6. 10
    The People of the Abyss by Jack London (meggyweg)
  7. 00
    My Year of Meat by Ruth Ozeki (TheLittlePhrase)
  8. 11
    Independent People by Halldor Laxness (rwjerome)
    rwjerome: These books share surprisingly similar main characters who both experience extreme misfortune. Interestingly enough, both books also showcase slightly misplaced political overtones.
  9. 00
    Yonnondio by Tillie Olsen (quilted_kat)
  10. 12
    Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health by Marion Nestle (starboard)
    starboard: If you are interested in the non-fiction current state of food science and regulation, read Marion Nestle's books. She writes well and is not overly technical.
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English (102)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (103)
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
This book is widely considered a classic, and with good reason. Sinclair follows the fate of Jurgis and his extended Lithuanian family as they try to make a decent living in the Packingtown district of Chicago. They’re swindled in every sphere, and the innocent suffer the most. The book exposes the abysmal working conditions that the men in the meat-packing plants faced and the extent of the political corruption designed to keep businessmen happy and the general electorate downtrodden. It’s vividly written and feels relevant today, too, unfortunately.

I’m rating this a 3.5 because the content is a 4, but the book just kind of stops. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jun 21, 2019 |
Sinclair, Upton (1906). The Jungle. Library of Alexandria. 2008. ISBN 9781477665879. Pagine 409. 2,27 €

Con questo libro completo, in realtà, una mia personalissima trilogia di Chicago, iniziata più di 10 anni fa con la segnalazione (e poi il dono) da parte di AD del bel saggio di Marco D’Eramo, Il maiale e il grattacielo (ne abbiamo parlato qui), proseguita lo scorso settembre con la mia visita di quella città (dove ho visto più grattacieli che maiali).

Upton Sinclair, scrittore socialista americano (1878-1968), è stato testimone di una parte consistente della tumultuosa crescita che ha portato gli stati Uniti a essere la prima potenza industriale del mondo. Scritto come un romanzo, The Jungle è la narrazione dell’accumulazione originaria del capitalismo americano e proprio per questo mi ha fatto immediatamente pensare a La situazione della classe operaia in Inghilterra di Friedrich Engels. Upton però, a differenza di Engels, organizza la sua narrazione come un romanzo, e non come un documentario: romanzo a lieto fine, naturalmente, perché siamo pur sempre dentro a una storia americana, anche se il lieto fine coincide con la scoperta del socialismo da parte del protagonista, l’immigrato lituano Jurgis Rudkus, e se l’unico a vivere felice e contento sarà (forse) lui (tutti gli altri della famiglia sono morti, per lo più tragicamente, o finiti male). Il romanzo si chiude, comunque, con il grido – ripetuto 3 volte – «Chicago will be ours!»

Scritto nel 1906, il romanzo mostra la corda nel linguaggio utilizzato, spesso gonfio e retorica, talora più attento agli effettacci strappacore che alla gelida documentazione, e nella prevedibilità della vicenda, che alterna folate di ottimismo e speranza a lunghi capitoli di angoscianti sequele di disgrazie. Resta, però, una bellissima prova di storytelling e di docufiction: parole e concetti che all’epoca non esistevano, e che quest’opera di Upton Sinclair ha contribuito a fondare.

Curiosa la ricezione che il romanzo ebbe all’epoca negli Stati Uniti: gli americani si preoccuparono piuttosto delle condizioni igieniche dell’industria alimentare che delle condizione degli operai immigrati e delle loro famiglie. L’opinione pubblica – nonostante e resistenze del presidente Theodore Roosevelt – portò all’adozione di 2 leggi nel 1906 (il Meat Inspection Act e il Pure Food and Drug Act), e in ultima istanza all’istituzione della Food and Drug Administration nel 1930. Sinclair fu deluso di questo esito del suo appassionato lavoro e commentò così: «I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.»

* * *

Qualche passo degno di nota (riferimento alle posizioni sul Kindle).

Brown and Durham were supposed by all the world to be deadly rivals — were even required to be deadly rivals by the law of the land, and ordered to try to ruin each other under penalty of fine and imprisonment! [691]

Jurgis, who knew nothing about the age-long and everlasting hypocrisy of woman, would take the bait and grin with delight […] [1960]

But a big man cannot stay drunk very long on three dollars. That was Sunday morning, and Monday night Jurgis came home, sober and sick, realizing that he had spent every cent the family owned, and had not bought a single instant’s forgetfulness with it. [3150]

There is one kind of prison where the man is behind bars, and everything that he desires is outside; and there is another kind where the things are behind the bars, and the man is outside. [4632]

[…] the curse of the wage-slave […] [5015: se non sbaglio, questo è il passo in cui Sinclair usa per la prima volta il termine wage-slave, comparando esplicitamente la condizione operaia alla schiavitù, argomento tuttora molto connotato emotivamente nell'America di inizio Novecento. Jack London, in una recensione del romanzo, lo definì «the Uncle Tom's Cabin of wage slavery.»]

Allowing five to a family […] [5625: giusto per avere l'idea della demografia dell'epoca…]

[…] most of the ills of the human system are due to overfeeding! And then again, it has been proven that meat is unnecessary as a food; and meat is obviously more difficult to produce than vegetable food, less pleasant to prepare and handle, and more likely to be unclean. But what of that, so long as it tickles the palate more strongly?”
“How would Socialism change that?” asked the girl-student, quickly. It was the first time she had spoken.
“So long as we have wage slavery,” answered Schliemann, “it matters not in the least how debasing and repulsive a task may be, it is easy to find people to perform it. But just as soon as labor is set free, then the price of such work will begin to rise. So one by one the old, dingy, and unsanitary factories will come down—it will be cheaper to build new; and so the steamships will be provided with stoking machinery, and so the dangerous trades will be made safe, or substitutes will be found for their products. In exactly the same way, as the citizens of our Industrial Republic become refined, year by year the cost of slaughterhouse products will increase; until eventually those who want to eat meat will have to do their own killing—and how long do you think the custom would survive then? [5651: sorprendentemente, e per quanto lui si sia lamentato di questa sua lettura, il romanzo di Sinclair ha una vena, se non animalista, preoccupata degli effetti insalubri della macellazione di massa; e la soluzione, proposta come socialista, ha in realtà una logica fortemente economicistica] ( )
  Boris.Limpopo | Apr 29, 2019 |
As a novel, this book is less than perfect. The protagonist is more of a plot device than a character. In spite of that, I am glad I read this book as historical fiction, and as an important work that led to food safety reforms. The author was hoping for labour law reform, but his work nonetheless provides a chilling perspective into the food industry and it is not surprising that it created a push for reform. In my view, it is worth reading. ( )
  LynnB | Apr 2, 2019 |
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. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
OMG. This story goes from bad to really bad to worse. It is so bleak and horrid it left me in a foul mood. Sinclair made it points and more. The essential truth that our economic system impacts the lowest income people more harshly is still true but I hope there was exaggeration in the story. ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (61 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Upton Sinclairprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boomsma, GraaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dickstein, MorrisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kagie, RudieAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spiegel, MauraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To the workingmen of America
First words
It was four o'clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive.
Quotations
Into this wild-beast tangle these men had been born without their consent, they had taken part in it because they could not help it; that they were in gaol was no disgrace to them, for the game had never been fair, the dice were loaded.  They were swindlers and thieves of pennies and dimes, and they had been trapped and put out of the way by the swindlers and thieves of millions of dollars.
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This book was written by Upton Sinclair, not Sinclair Lewis. To have your book show up on the correct author page, please change the author name. Thank you.
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Book description
In 1906, The Jungle was published and became an immediate success, selling more than 150,000 copies. A best seller overseas, it was published in 17 languages over the next few years. After President Theodore Roosevelt read Jungle, he ordered an investigation into the meat packing industry, and ultimately the passing of the Meat Inspection Act was a result of Sinclair’s book.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743487621, Mass Market Paperback)

ENDURING LITERATURE ILLUMINATED

BY PRACTICAL SCHOLARSHIP

Upton Sinclair's unflinching chronicle of crushing poverty and oppression set in Chicago in the early 1900s.

EACH ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES:

• A concise introduction that gives readers important background information

• A chronology of the author's life and work

• A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context

• An outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations

• Detailed explanatory notes

• Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work

• Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction

• A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience

Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential.

SERIES EDITED BY CYNTHIA BRANTLEY JOHNSON

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:18 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Describes the conditions of the Chicago stockyards through the eyes of a young immigrant struggling in America.

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