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The Jungle (1906)

by Upton Sinclair

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,132121546 (3.81)1 / 414
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.
Recently added byLindseyKD, Vendola, private library, RunLonger, ecb06c, MadelineB, jenniferw88, pgpriyam, bragiv
Legacy LibrariesTheodore Dreiser
  1. 80
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (kxlly)
  2. 30
    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (meggyweg)
  3. 20
    My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki (TheLittlePhrase)
  4. 10
    Germinal by Émile Zola (Cecrow)
  5. 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.
  6. 10
    The Death Ship by B. Traven (owishlist2)
  7. 10
    The People of the Abyss by Jack London (meggyweg)
  8. 10
    The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Theme of workers' rights
  9. 00
    Blood on the Forge by William Attaway (susanbooks)
  10. 00
    Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica (susanbooks)
  11. 00
    Yonnondio by Tillie Olsen (quilted_kat)
  12. 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.
  13. 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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» See also 414 mentions

English (117)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (119)
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
Sinclair is a master at depicting the plight of the working class in such a way that we feel deeply sorry for the characters whose lives are ruined by the avarice of the Beef Trust. This novel is gorgeous in its depiction of what can happen to people who are caught in the crossfire when greed is left to run amok, and in many respects, these same troubles (in mitigated forms) still exist today, both domestically and internationally. These bits of praise notwithstanding, Sinclair tips his hand a bit too heavily (for me, at least) near the end of this book, and those who wish a rich read free of "painfully obvious" propaganda can stop at the end of the twenty-eighth chapter. Much to my disappointment, the last three chapters are a shameless manifesto for socialism that hardly bears any weight on or relevance to the plot and characters to which we readers grow so thoroughly attached. Case in point, by the end of the piece, our beloved Jurgis is little more than a supporting character, shifted to the background to allow more "eloquent speakers" to defend the merits of socialism. However, if articulate arguments for socialism are your delight (and I must confess they are not mine), then the last three chapters of this book should bring you as much pleasure as the beauty of the plot which precedes it, for it is quite apparent that Sinclair had both thorough knowledge of and unbridled passion for this ideology he so unabashedly preached. ( )
  djlinick | Jan 15, 2022 |
This is the book that should have made the United States a nation of vegetarians. The harrowing story of how Chicago’s industrial stockyards took an immigrant family from Lithuania and ground them up and spit them out was the impetus for the investigation (and ultimate break-up) of the meat trusts by the Theodore Roosevelt administration as well as the legislation that created the FDA. It was also a vehicle for Sinclair to promote the Socialist Party of which he was a member.

Even though this book was written 116 years ago its descriptions of the horrific working conditions in the stockyards and the wanton disregard for working conditions or the safety of employees by the factory owners still makes for a powerful novel that sill has relevance today. ( )
  etxgardener | Aug 15, 2021 |
Fiction
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
I read this book while working as a bike messenger, often at the time delivering in what was historically the meat packing district of Chicago, now the west-loop. A location for expensive apartments, mixed used office spaces and very expensive dining. And there is still a few places that chop up dead animals. I think feeling the historical connection to space added a since of depth to this book for me. One of my favorite books of all time. ( )
  rhizomefarmer | Feb 14, 2021 |
I feel the need to review this book in two ways: as an impactful literary work, and as a pleasurable read. Clearly The Jungle had an enormous impact on food safety in America. (Perhaps less immediate impact on worker rights and Socialist politics than Sinclair intended.) I did learn a lot about the state of factories, living conditions, and immigration during the early 1900s. Truly awful! Definitely a cautionary tale of the evils of unbridled Capitalism. Though the purist Socialist dogma at the end didn't really speak to me either. Perhaps this is due to hindsight and my own bias as a child of the Cold War Era.

I found the writing and narrative of The Jungle to be decidedly old fashioned. Could have used a heavy edit and cut by >100 pages. (I think it was published serially in a newspaper?) The episodic adventures of Jurgis got a little tired by the end. I had some sympathy for him, but not as much as I feel I should have. I found myself skimming over long passages of woe and preaching.

Definitely a worthwhile read to appreciate how far the U.S. has come, and still see a glimmer of how easily we could go backward! Not a pleasure read for a vacation though. (Note: Not an easy read if you have a weak stomach). ( )
  technodiabla | Nov 8, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (160 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
Wilck, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the workingmen of America
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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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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.

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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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