Sinclair's _The Jungle_ is best known for its graphic and grisly details of the meat packing industry and the hazzards its products presented the public. This is all true, and those who are interested in looking for these descriptions will not be disappointed in the original edition of the book. However, there is another side to the story, one that is frequently overlooked: the social cost of industrialization, and the de-humanization of the labor force.
Equally horrifying to the processing of the food is the abominable working conditions and maladies those who worked in the packinghouses suffered - from those who de-boned shanks (with thier stubs of a thumb), to the workers who removed the hides from the caracasses (their hands all but eaten away from the chemicals they worked in) - and the list goes on and on ... not to mention the daily struggles the immigrants faced, at constant risk of being swindled or abused.
Sinclair was a socialist, and his political leanings are apparent in his classic book - yet this does not detract from the story; in fact, I would argue it only strengthens the force of his words. It is a marvelous read, but you'll never look at a hotdog the same again.