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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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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 $[...Read more ›
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.Read more ›
The true beauty of this novel is in the subtle style in which Sinclair implanted his Socialist political views. After being gently set up throughout the text of the novel, Sinclair drives home Socialist views in the last two chapters. Later books, such as George Orwell's "1984", highlights the dangers of a Socialist government that ultimatley discredits Sinclair's opinions. Though I disagree with Socialist principles, the style in which they were presented in "The Jungle" is incomparable.
I recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for a good read. This is one book that can go as deep as you want it to, whether you're reading it for pleasure or for English class. It will always be one of my personal favorites, and will hopefully become one of your's as well.
The book itself is pretty good. Rather easy to read in terms of language, and it draws you into the story of a family of Lithuanian immigrants and their struggles to survive in the early 1900's in Chicago. It tells of how the common worker is screwed at every corner, with scams of buying a house, losing his jobs at a moments notice, having to buy substandard, nutritionless food, and the dangers of working in factories with no concern for their safety or well-being. It was far too easy to get into an accident and lose a hand or get crushed it seems.
Jurgis, the main character, moves to America with the family of his love, Ona, to make their way in a new world. Having lost most of their prospects in their country, they decide to try and make it in America, a land rumored to be full of opportunity; there Ona and Jurgis could finally get married. Unfortunately, they didn't realize that most of the opportunities in America were not granted to honest workers. The book tells the entirely tragic story of the family as it is brought to its knees and torn apart, all the while exposing the treacheries of the industries in Chicago, mainly the meat packing business.
I don't want to give away too many details, so I won't go into specifics about the story of all that befalls poor Jurgis, but I do want to talk about the end a little bit. No worries, it has little to do with the story line. In the end, he discovers socialism through a town meeting, and the last portion of the book is devoted to a discussion of socialism, and how it will be America's saving grace.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
One of the most depressing books I've ever read. But essential reading for anyone living in a capitalist system.Published 16 days ago by C. Mank
I read the 'original' version decades ago, but the unexpurgated version is a revelation. An important book!Published 5 months ago by Dominic
This is a powerful book that makes no bones about being a polemic against uncontrolled capitalism. Sinclair manages to include every fact and rumour he has heard about the evils of... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Davidm
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 morePublished on March 20 2012 by Ronald W. Maron
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 morePublished on March 28 2011 by E. Hall
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 morePublished on Aug. 12 2006 by Christopher Phelps
This novel has so many meanings...Not only is it the story of a man that goes to America in search of a better life- it's the harsh critique of the reality of the American society. Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Maria E. More
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 morePublished on May 23 2004 by James Gallen
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