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The jungle [Hardcover]

Upton Sinclair
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1995 Singular Textbook Series
Upton Sinclair Jr. (1878-1968), was a prolific American author who wrote over 90 books in many genres and was widely considered to be one of the best investigators advocating socialist views and supporting anarchist causes. He achieved considerable popularity in the first half of the 20th century. He gained particular fame for his 1906 novel The Jungle, which dealt with conditions in the U. S. meat packing industry and caused a public uproar that partly contributed to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act in 1906. An early success was the Civil War novel Manassas, written in 1903 and published a year later. Originally projected as the opening book of a trilogy, the success of The Jungle caused him to drop his plans. Sinclair created a socialist commune, named Helicon Hall Colony, in 1906 with proceeds from his novel The Jungle.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The right version for our time Oct. 1 2006
Format:Paperback
In 1904 the editors of The Appeal to Reason, a Socialist newspaper, gave Upton Sinclair $[...] and sent him to Chicago to write about the meatpacking industry. Sinclair's book, The Jungle, was subsequently published in 1905 in The Appeal and in another socialist magazine, One Hoss Philosophy, both published by J. A. Wayland.

Sinclair also got a contract with Macmillan to publish The Jungle in book form. However, the editors at Macmillan, apparently horrified at the radical nature of some of Sinclair's material, gave Sinclair a list of changes that they wanted him to make in the novel. After Sinclair made the changes, the editors at Macmillian went ahead and cancelled their contract with Sinclair anyway. The circumstances are suspicious, and it seems likely that Macmillan was pressured to drop the novel by the meatpackers.

After Macmillan cancelled its contract, Sinclair approached several other publishers. None of them were interested. Sinclair then decided to ask the readers of The Appeal to send him money for a "Subscribers edition," which he would publish himself, and which (because of the language of the subscription offering and where it appeared) would likely have been the original, uncut version of the novel. (Many 19th-century books were published by subscription, including some of Mark Twain's novels.) It seems likely that this "Subscribers edition" never got beyond the planning stage, because Sinclair didn't raise enough money to publish the book without taking a loss.

Finally, Sinclair obtained a publishing contract from another commercial publisher, Doubleday, Page. According to publisher Frank Doubleday's memoir, published in 1972 after his death, agents for the meatpacking industry threatened to sue Doubleday, Page for $[...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "But I'm glad I'm not a pig!" Jan. 2 2004
Format:Paperback
Originally published in 1906 by Upton Sinclair, THE JUNGLE sent shockwaves throughout the United States that resulted in cries for labor and agricultural reforms. It is indeed rare that a book should have such a political impact, but although Sinclair may have been surprised at the results, it is apparent while reading this novel that his words form a political agenda of its own. It should be noted that Sinclair was a devout Socialist who traveled to Chicago to document the working conditions of the world-famous stockyards. Sinclair originally published this book in serial form in the Socialist newspaper, The Appeal to Reason. But as a result of the popularity of this series Sinclair decided to try to publish in a form of a novel.
Sinclair widely utilized the metaphor of the jungle (survival of the fittest, etc.) throughout this book to reflect how the vulnerable worker is at the mercy of the powerful packers and politicians. Mother Nature is represented as a machine who destroys the weak and protects the elite powerful. To illustrate his sentiments Sinclair wrote of family of Jurgis and Ona who immigrated to Chicago from Lithuania in search of the American dream. They arrive in all innocence and believe that hard work would result in a stable income and security. But they soon realize that all the forces are against them. During the subsequent years Jurgis tries to hold on what he has but he is fighting a losing battle. It is not until he stumbles upon a political meeting that his eyes upon the evils of capitalism and the sacredness of socialism.
If one is to read THE JUNGLE, then they should do themselves a favor and seek out this version. It is the original, uncensored version that Sinclair originally intended to publish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll never look at a hotdog the same again ... Sept. 15 2003
Format:Paperback
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Feb. 24 2004
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. Near the end I had more of a struggle to stick with the story. The story just pulls at your heart and I found myself continually shaking my head saying, "What can possibly go wrong now?" It is very disturbing to even think that scenes like this actually happened. It makes me terribly sad.
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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
1.0 out of 5 stars Falsely Marketed Edition
I wrote the below review-article for the History News Network (26 June 2006), and I share it here so that Amazon customers will know the truth about this flawed edition of this... Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2006 by Christopher Phelps
4.0 out of 5 stars An Antiquated, And Flawed View, But A Worthwhile Read
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... Read more
Published on May 23 2004 by James Gallen
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and accurate historical portrayal of immigrants.
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. Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2004 by "stoner67767"
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!
Too boring? Congrats, you are now part of the machine.
Published on Dec 24 2003 by Leon Phelps
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 cori@waterville-valley.sau48.k12.nh.us
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Factual Account; Mediocre Novel
Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," a tale of poverty and politics in early 1900's Chicago has many good and bad facets to it. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2003 by Dominic
2.0 out of 5 stars The Truth About the American Industrial Revelution
This book is about Jurgis Rudkis, a Lithuanian, who comes to America to get his fortune. Unfortunatly, a series of events leaves him poor and in jail. Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2003 by Christa Coffman
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