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The Jungle (Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions)by Upton Sinclair
Synopses & Reviews
Two thousand six marks the one hundredth anniversary of one of the most powerful, provocative, and most enduring proletarian novels ever published in the United States.
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.
Features an introduction from Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser and dramatic cover illustrations by graphic artist Charles Burns.
"[A] brilliant study of the great industries of Chicago....The language Mr. Sinclair employs is appropriate to the scene, the action, and the characters of his drama....The experienced reader will at once perceive that Mr. Sinclair has taken Zola for his model. The likeness is more than striking — it fairly forces itself upon the attention of the reader." New York Times
"When people ask me what has happened in my long lifetime I do not refer them to the newspaper files and to the authorities, but to [Sinclair's] novels." George Bernard Shaw
One of the most harrowing novels ever written, this vivid depiction of the meatpacking industry in Chicago not only aroused the indignation of the public but was instrumental in bringing about the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act.
In this powerful book we enter the world of Jurgis Rudkus, a young Lithuanian immigrant who arrives in America fired with dreams of wealth, freedom, and opportunity. And we discover, with him, the astonishing truth babout "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.
The Jungle, a story so shocking that it launched a government investigation, recreates this startling chapter of our history in unflinching detail. Always a vigorous champion of political reform, Sinclair is also a gripping storyteller, and his 1906 novel stands as one of the most important — and moving — works in the literature of social change.
Documenting the brutal conditions in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the century, this centennial edition of The Jungle brings into sharp moral focus the appalling odds against which immigrants and other working people struggled for their share of the American dream.
About the Author
Upton Sinclair was born into an impoverished Baltimore family on September 20, 1878. At fifteen, he began writing a series of dime novels in order to pay for his education at the City College of New York. He was later accepted to do graduate work at Columbia, and while there he published a number of novels, including The Journal of Arthur Stirling (1903) and Manassas (1904).
Sinclair's breakthrough came in 1906 with the publication of The Jungle, a scathing indictment of the vile health and working conditions of the Chicago meat-packing industry. The work, which won him great literary praise, helped in the passage of the pure food laws during the Progressive Era. He also joined the company of several writers and journalists of the time who were branded as "muckrakers" by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Sinclair used the money from The Jungle to begin a utopian experiment, the Helicon Hall Colony of Englewood, New Jersey. In 1915 he moved to California where he unsuccessfully ran for public office on four occasions. He wrote several politically progressive pamphlets and became a powerful figure in California's Democratic party, almost winning the governorship in 1934. After his defeat he continued to write books. Later works include World's End (1940), Dragon's Teeth (1942), which won him a Pulitzer Prize, O Shepherd, Speak! (1949) and Another Pamela (1950).
Charles Burns, a former contributor to Art Spiegelman's Raw magazine, is an illustrator whose work has included the covers of major magazines and CDs. His most well-known comics are Black Hole, Big Baby, and Skin Deep.
Eric Schlosser is the author of Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness, and Chew on This. He has written for many publications including Rolling Stone, the Atlantic Monthly and the New Yorker and has recieved a number of journalism honors, including a National Magazine Award.
Ronald Gottesman was born in Boston and earned degrees from the University of Massachusetts and from Colgate and Indiana universities. He has taught literature, film studies, and humanities courses at Northwestern, Indiana, and Rutgers universities, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Southern California, where for nine years he directed the Center for the Humanities. Founding editor of the Quarterly Review of Film Studies and Humanities in Society, Professor Gottesman is editor and author of many articles and books on literature and film, including three on Upton Sinclair. He is currently completing a Ph.D. in psychoanalysis.
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