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The Jungle (1906)

by Upton Sinclair

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,432109543 (3.81)1 / 392
A documentary novel portraying industry's conditions at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Sinclair's novel prompted public outrage which led President Theodore Roosevelt to demand an official investigation. This eventually led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug laws.
  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
    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.
  4. 10
    My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki (TheLittlePhrase)
  5. 10
    The People of the Abyss by Jack London (meggyweg)
  6. 10
    The Death Ship by B. Traven (owishlist2)
  7. 10
    The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Theme of workers' rights
  8. 00
    Germinal by Émile Zola (Cecrow)
  9. 22
    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.
  10. 00
    Yonnondio by Tillie Olsen (quilted_kat)
  11. 11
    Independent People by Halldór 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.
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English (107)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (108)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
The first half of this book is amazing, five star stuff. The characters are carefully drawn and the book has a wonderful poetry and suprising humor. Alas, the litany of horrors suffered by the characters becomes a bit numbing in the second half of the book. It's such a list of misfortune that you stop feeling that the world is unfair, and start wondering why the author is stacking the deck to make his characters suffer so.

Then, the last five or six chapters of the book, the characters almost vanish as the book becomes a treatise of the glories of socialism. It's as tedious John Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged.

From a historical perspective it's interesting to compare and contrast today's world with conditions from a century ago. The good news is that many of the horrors portrayed in the novel have been improved. There are laws now that protect workers from the nightmarish working conditions shown in the book. For anyone who thinks that our social safety nets cause poverty should read this book to be reminded what the world used to look like before the modern welfare state. (This isn't to say I'm in favor of the modern welfare state, only that libertarian purists who imagine the world would be Utopia if governments left people to fend for themselves are fooling themselves.)

On the other hand, when Jurgis and his family get trapped into a bad mortgage with a lot of clauses they don't understand that is a major cause of their financial woe, I can't help but think about the housing market of just a decade ago, or most people's credit card contracts, for that matter.

The creepiest part of the book is near the end, when it's argued that working men shouldn't become attached to families, that the cause of socialism should be thier sole pursuit. Jurgis kind of disappears as a character with his own hopes and dreams and becomes a socialist robot with barely even a line of dialogue in the closing chapters. Read in the right light, this book is as powerful as Animal Farm in showing the dehumanizing flaws of socialism. ( )
  James_Maxey | Jun 29, 2020 |
A depressing classic about working class immigrants around the turn of the 20th Century, exploring the deplorable working and living conditions in the Stockyards section of Chicago. It's a bit over the top, as one would expect from a work from an activist. (It also reminded me of the melodrama of 19th Century novels I've read.) But any single episode recounted in the book should be enough to make one feel outrage. Even if it's not an enjoyable book, it's definitely worth reading for its historical value.
--J. ( )
  Hamburgerclan | Feb 10, 2020 |
i know it's a classic, but....listened to about an hour of this--it's not my kind of book. If it weren't so old, I'd turn it in for an audible.com refund. ( )
  buffalogr | Dec 4, 2019 |
So, the first thing you need to know is that if you’re reading this version in place of the original version that you’re supposed to be reading, you are missing some major plot points, including the horrific deaths of at least two major characters, some key conflicts and complications, as well as the ending chapters on socialism. That being said, I still really enjoyed this adaptation. It had enough of the original storyline to make it worthwhile and the artwork is just fantastic, but go into it understanding that it’s just a sliver of the original. ( )
  SandSing7 | Nov 30, 2019 |
Yep, pretty revolting. I can see why it made a difference in its day, that's for sure. ( )
  JBD1 | Oct 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
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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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Disambiguation notice
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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Average: (3.81)
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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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