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The Jungle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) [Paperback]

Upton Sinclair , Charles Burns , Eric Schlosser
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 28 2006 Penguin Classics Deluxe
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 apalling 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, 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.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Originally published in 1991 as part of a short-lived revival of the Classics Illustrated line, this adaptation of Sinclair's muckraking socialist novel succeeds because of its powerful images. When Kuper initially drew it, he was already a well-known left-wing comics artist. His unenviable task is condensing a 400-page novel into a mere 48 pages, and, inevitably, much of the narrative drama is lost. Kuper replaces it, however, with unmatched pictorial drama. The story follows Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkis and his family as they are eaten up and spit out by capitalism (represented by Chicago's packing houses). Kuper uses an innovative full-color stencil technique with the immediacy of graffiti to give Sinclair's story new life. When Jurgis is jailed for beating the rich rapist Connor, a series of panels suffused with a dull, red glow draw readers closer and closer to Jurgis's face, until they see that the glint in his eye is fire. Jurgis, briefly prosperous as a strong-arm man for the Democratic machine, smokes a cigar; the smoke forms an image of his dead son and evicted family. Perhaps most visually dazzling is the cubist riot as strikers battle police amid escaping cattle. Kuper infuses this 1906 novel with the energy of 1980s-era street art and with his own profoundly original graphic innovation, making it a classic in its own right.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up–In 1906, Sinclair published The Jungle, a realistic and scathing portrayal of the life of an immigrant worker. Kuper's revised adaptation focuses solely on its hero, Jurgis Rudkus. Readers follow him from his emigration from Lithuania to downtown Chicago, eager to find the American Dream he's heard so much about. But the harsh world of Chi-town quickly shatters his hopes; forced to take a job at a slaughterhouse, he performs the most menial and vile tasks. An injury pushes him to unemployment and, unable to provide for them, he leaves his family in shame. Rudkus transforms from a starry-eyed dreamer into a cynical but valiant man who fights for workers' rights. Kuper's artwork effectively mimics some of the major art movements of the day. The book opens in a Chagall-inflected form of cubism, lending a folksy, dreamy, and hopeful quality to the early pages. Then, the visuals become increasingly jagged and frenetic until they reach the Futurist-inspired panels that illustrate the story's climax. Well-plotted and beautifully illustrated, Kuper's adaptation breathes new life into this classic American story.–Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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It was four o'clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By James Gallen TOP 100 REVIEWER
Having read this as a high school freshman, I decided to take a new look at "The Jungle". "The Jungle", a model of the propongandistic novel, is the tale of Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant to the Packing house district of Chicago. Written in 1905, it tells the story of Jurgis' working class family which had come to America in search of a better life.
Arriving full of hope, Jurgis sought advancement through a home with the family, the Lithuanian Community, the Church, the industrial machine and politics. Time after time, the naive workman was taken by those whom Upton Sinclair regarded as the oppressors of the people. Every time Jurgis thought that he was a cog in the machine, he ended up being discarded when he was no longer useful to those in whom Jurgis had placed his trust.
Upton Sinclair was disappointed with the results of his book. Intended to win converts to socialism, it was his description of conditions in the packing houses which aided in the enactment of the Pure Food and Drug Act.
"The Jungle" can be appreciated on a number of levels. The action is well paced and holds the reader's interest. As a work of propaganda, it is a model specimen. As an historical insight, it lets the reader into the mind of an early Twentieth Century Socialist reformer. As a report of the life of the early industrial worker, it is entertaining, even if its details are exaggerated for effect. As a political statement, "The Jungle" is in the eyes of the reader. For the true believer, it conveys the truth. For the modern conservative, it is an antiquated and flawed view of the world, which, as time has shown, proposed a remedy which was never right. Which ever camp you fall into, or somewhere in between, "The Jungle" is worth a first, or a second, reading.
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This book is a wonderful look into the lives of an immigrant family in the early 1900's. Upton Sinclair was assigned to do an expose on the meatpacking industry in Chicago. The amazing part, what some people do not realize, is how factual the book really is. Since the book was published, only one discrepancy from the truth has been found; the inspector wore a different uniform. Sinclair's original topic was to inform the world of how "workingmen", as called by Sinclair, of the time were treated in the meatpacking plants of Chicago. Instead, the public centered on his description of how the meat was processed and reacted to that part of the story. This is one of the direct causes of the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act. Sinclair is noted as saying, "I aimed for [the public's] heart, and hit their stomach."
The novel itself chronicles a Lithuanian family who immigrates to America in an effort to make a better life. Though this is not a factual family, many of it hardships were shared by families of this time period. The story is told through the experiences of the protagonist, Jurgis Rudkus. Jurgis is a good man at heart and tries his best to support his family. His efforts are met only with defeat. In many instances his family is taken advantage of because they cannot speak the language and do not understand the culture. Sinclair did a wonderful job describing the horrific conditions of immigrants and the "workingmen" in this time period.
The scenes in the meatpacking facilities get quite graphic and gruesome at some points. Though this may disturb some, I believe it does a good job of giving the story some meat, no pun intended. The original basis of the story was to expose bad working conditions.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great Factual Account; Mediocre Novel Nov. 18 2003
By Dominic
Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," a tale of poverty and politics in early 1900's Chicago has many good and bad facets to it.
To give a brief synopsis of the book:
A Lithuanian family ignorant to the ways of the "free" world moves to America in hopes of something better than they had back home. Upon arriving, they find out that things are worse than they could ever imagined being in America, and for that matter back home in Lithuanian. Horrendous troubles ensue.
Most people associate this book with the the cliché renderings of the meat packing plants detailed in the book. Sinclair was given $500 by a newspaper for rights for a novel he had yet to write, and spent only five weeks in Chicago researching material for his account. After writing it and being turned down by many companies who were too afraid of what might happen had they published it, the factual portrayals Sinclair wrote were investigated by higher authorities, and upon finding that they were valid, Sinclair teamed up with Doubleday and his classic came to be, a classic that prompted government officials into making regulations still held today for food packaging and handling.
The story revolves around Jurgis, the young husband who has come with his faithful (even younger at age 16) wife and his experiences. He realizes that there is no way he as an immigrant can obtain a suitable job, and is left to working in "Packingtown," the area where the meats of many states and major cities are developed.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Exaggerated symbolism is not meant to mirror realism....
I am quite amused when I read the personal reviews of this book by people who struggle with whether or not Upton Sinclair was truthful or not about the conditions in the Chicago... Read more
Published on March 20 2012 by Ronald W. Maron
2.0 out of 5 stars Great book, annoying voice.
I got this audiobook to listen to in the car after listening to "Oil!" and was very excited to get into it, but, the man reading drove me crazy. Read more
Published on March 28 2011 by E. Hall
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall
The Jungle was a powerful tale about an immigrating family with high hopes and dreams that come crashing down on them. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2003 by
4.0 out of 5 stars Cow Tastes Good
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is a great book. It focuses on the hardships and despair of a family of Lithuanian immigrants, although in the end you're not quite sure what his focus... Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2003 by keith
2.0 out of 5 stars Socialism... WHAT?
When I was assigned THE JUNGLE as one of my Summer reading assignments I was told that it was about the slaughter houses and expected it to be all about the gross things that go... Read more
Published on Sept. 14 2003 by Cedric
5.0 out of 5 stars The Horrors of Meatpacking
I read The Jungle about 15 years ago as a sophomore in high school. And yet, flashes of the book still come to me. Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2003 by Adam Shah
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
Upton Sinclair tottaly changed the meat-packing industry forever with his book "The Jungle". Read more
Published on June 25 2003 by "rudkus"
3.0 out of 5 stars It's decent.
I chose to read this book because it is so historically important. It gives an in-depth look at Chicago's meatpacking industry and the struggles for immigrants at the beginning of... Read more
Published on May 26 2003 by "tedthebear"
3.0 out of 5 stars Historically Imporant
One of the more important historical primary sources pertaining to the understanding of public opinion around the turn of the century; it is a classic example of effective... Read more
Published on May 12 2003 by Mark Bowden
5.0 out of 5 stars Rebutle to the stupid people who write reviews for this book
The Jungle is a classic piece of American literature, and Upton Sinclair's ideas on Socialism not only inspired changes in the food laws but also workers rights. Read more
Published on April 24 2003
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