I read this book after reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. I had always thought this book was mainly about the meatpacking plants and how disgusting they were AND, while this was a part of the book and the plants are definitely disgusting, this book is much more than that. It follows an immigrant family from Lithuania as they try to make their way in America. Sinclaire really reels you in with his narrative and you can't help but feel for this family that quickly finds out that the American dream is not quite what they imagined.
The stockyards are long gone but the unsavory dark side of Chicago lives on. Chicago machine politicians recently elected to high offices in Washington confirm that beneath the glitz Chicago's the same town it was when Sinclair analyzed it.
If I had been alive and able to read during (many could not then as now I suppose)this time I think I would have stopped eating meat. Thank goodness for the FDA now to regulate how our meat is processed! It breaks my heart reading how people lived during this time and how immigrants were treated, I just can't imagine the struggles nd sacrafices they had to make. Overall its a great book and I am glad I read it.
I had to read this in high school, and it was probably the only required reading book that I ever finished AND liked. It was an eye-opening, sometimes emotional, enthralling look into the life of a fictional immigrant family. I plan to read this again soon.
Fast food nation....before there was fast food.
A look into the culture of early America, and potential communism. You will really feel for the families involved.
(my high school history teacher didn't believe I read the entire book. He didn't know about my biblophile tendancies!)
Tom D. reviewed The Jungle (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations (Paperback)) on
This book is a tough read. it's easy to understand why it has become a classic. Definitely not a casual book to take to the beach, but more a cold fisted commentary on urban life at the beginning of the 20th century. The book hits hard at the plight of the emmigrants and could apply to our current culture.
Ken M. reviewed The Jungle (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations (Paperback)) on
The book is a stark portrayal of the realities of the immigrants who were trampled in the industrial revolution in America. It is extremely well-written and powerful -- definitely worth reading even if the subject matter is rather depressing.
This is the way it was during the early years of imigration by Europeans and the hell they had to put up with in order to make a living. You think there is a problem with todays meat processing? You haven't even got a clue!!!!!
I read parts of this in high school, and picked it up again years later. It was surprising to me how much of it was still relevent. There were things I learned about our modern world that dates back to when this book was written. While some of the conditions may have improved, the desires and greed have remained in our country today.
This book was recommended by one of my co-wrokers. I stumbled upon this unabridged copy and I was glad that I read it instead of an abridged version. I think that because this book was written by a socialist, that we get a clearer view of what was going on in America at that time. Not only does this book give the reader insight into the meat processing companies of the day, it also talks to the over all plight of the American immigrants and how American industry and politics were slanted towards corruption. You can feel the anguish of the characters as they struggle for just the basic requirements for survival. This is a good history lesson and is a good read.
Bernie N. (Bernie) reviewed The Jungle (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations (Paperback)) on
put to the American public the fundamental questions raised by capitalism in such a way that they could not escape them. When it was first published in 1906, The Jungle exposed the inhumane conditions of Chicagos stockyards and the laborers struggle against industry and wage slavery. It was an immediate bestseller and led to new regulations that forever changed workers rights and the meatpacking industry.
This was a real eye opener to what immigrants were experiencing in everyday life in the slums of Chicago. Their family's encounters with what they thought would be a great new start was depressing and disappointing. This book made me appreciative of the labor laws and regulations we have today. Very good read overall.
This book is a classic historical fiction book. The book depicts the life of an immigrant family in the meat packing industry in the 1800's. The "muck rakers" revelations led to the passage of various food health laws in the U.S.
What a trap the immigrants fell into as they moved to the promising city of Chicago. It explains why the city burned even across the river, and illustrates the gap between the classes. We have it so easy now! And this is why the USDA came about...
Upton Sinclair wrote this book to bring attention to the problems within the meat-packing industry, and to describe the type of life new immigrants endured. It is well-written, very descriptive and not a "happy" read, but an excellent book for its purpose.
This is probably my favorite book of all time. I found myself trapped in this tale and unable to put this book down. It is a classic in every way. You want to learn about America at the dawn of the industrial revolution, the treatment of immigrants or coporate greed? Do you want to read a book with happiness, heartbreak and great adventure? It's all right here!
This is one book that everyone should read. It details the life in the meat-packing district of Chicago in the early 20th century and the horrific conditions under which the men had to work. The women's lot was no better, and this was the impetus for the labor movement that brought about so much change. It's been said that America's meat consumption dropped by 25% after this book was published because of the graphic details of the conditions in the plants.
In this powerful book we enter the world of Jurgis Rudkus, a young Lithuanian immigrant who arrives in America fired with dreams of opportunity, wealth, and freedom. And we discover, with him, the astonishing truth about "Packingtown," the busy, flourishing, filthy Chicago stockyards, where New World visions perish in a jungle of human suffering. Upton Sinclair, master of the muckraking novel, here explores the workingman's lot at the turn of the century: the backbreaking labor, the injustices of "wage slavery," the bewildering chaos of urban life.
Man, socialism in the twentieth century is going to rock! That's the ultimate message of Sinclair's preachy tome, which is remembered for its nauseating depictions of the meat trade in Chicago and its influence in getting food laws enacted and trusts busted.
He had a chance to make a great vision of bleakness, and would have if he'd ended about four chapters earlier. It would have been "The Grapes of Wrath," but less subtle. In fact, you know what would make for the shortest essay ever? The title, "The Subtle Aspects of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle." This thing is not subtle. Out hero, Jurgis, goes through an increasingly unlikely set of events so that we can see every facet of the meat industry in Chicago at the turn of the century (hint: it's not pretty). You just see the inevitability of the downward journey from the very beginning, and there's just no way out of it.
Then, for the last four chapters, we get several sermons disguised as conversational dialogue among very smart and good socialists.
Still, the thing is worth a read, and I dearly thank Sinclair for writing this every time I open a can of meat.
I picked this up because I had heard of it but never read it. I admit I skimmed a lot as I am not interested in socialism. But the story of the suffering family was beautifully done; more than enough to keep me reading to the end.
By putting faces via the characters of Jurgis and family to the plight of the workers suffering at the hands of greed and the imbalance of wealth, Sinclair sets the stage for the most eloquent argument in favor of socialism I have ever read.
It is also an early work arguing in favor of vegetarianism, although this is a secondary cause in the book and thus easily forgotten if one is not on the look-out for it.
This book profoundly demonstrates how fiction can work for a cause and humanize, familiarize, and bring to home the faces and reality behind the issues of the day. I highly recommend this powerful work to all.
FROM PAPERBACK SWAP: "1906 best-seller shockingly reveals intolerable labor practices and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago stockyards as it tells the brutally grim story of a Slavic family that emigrates to America full of optimism but soon descends into numbing poverty, moral degradation, and despair. A fiercely realistic American classic that will haunt readers long after they've finished the last page."