The Jungle

The Jungle Summary

The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878–1968).[1] Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. Many readers were most concerned with his exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century, based on an investigation he did for a socialist newspaper.

Book Reviews


Lithuanian Family During the Industrial Age5 star

This novel is a must read. I missed out by not reading all of it in my high school days but I am sure glad I went back to read it. The main character goes through a series of trials. Jurgis learns from death, obstacles, life and politics. I do not want to go into full detail about the story but Upton Sinclair is a brave soul for exposing the meat packing industry along with several other subjects.55


Ode to Socialism3 star

Over-dramatized, narrow minded, full of exaggeration. It’s a ride of sorrow and woe for a fictitious immigrant family, where everything goes wrong. The last few chapters are wholly disconnected from the story as he lays out his naive arguments on what he calls socialism. Meanwhile, he viciously attacks capitalism that has been the motor behind so much wealth, industry, and technological advancement in the world. Want to know why he’s wrong? Check out Atlas Shrugged, written a couple generations after this yahoo’s ideas had actually been implemented.35


More than a book about the meat-packing industry5 star

The Jungle is often brought up solely for its horrific depiction of meat-packing plant, but this novel is so much more than that. Truly an American classic, it tells the story of an immigrant trying to achieve the “American Dream,” only to be hit by hardship again and again. The Jungle should be required literature in schools.55


It was good4 star

The novel was very interesting in terms of plot but it was also written very much like a textbook. It was hard to understand without rereading parts or without the audiobook.45


Socialism4 star

The history is amazing, it describes the struggles of an immigrant in America in the early 1900s. However, in the last 50 pages the author completely ignores the story of the principal character and all he does is spread socialist propaganda, and portray it as the solution for all the problem. Anyways, the book was written in 1906 and socialism wasn't tried and failed.45


The Jungle4 star

Huge eye-opener..45

Raeka Grifa

Wow!5 star

I work at a meat processing plant in the QA department and this book really changed the way I viewed history. I had no thoughts to where USDA began or labor unions, no idea what life was like for my great great grandparents. This is a must read for anyone. The gruesome life these people lived is heartbreaking and stirred up a lot of emotions within me. I have a much deeper gratitude for the society we live in now. Our generation is spoiled compared to 4 generations before us. This book was captivating and had me hooked from the first page. It is very well written. Perhaps a little difficult to read if someone has never heard some of the words used, but the emotion of it is very easy to follow. Enjoy!55


Propaganda???2 star

I was dissappointed. I thought I was reading a really well written story about the struggles of immigrants in this country at the turn of the 20th century. With vivid characters I really cared about. But then, in the last 50-75 pages it transforms from novel to socialist recruiting propaganda. Too bad. Didn't one of the "S's" in U.S.S.R stand for "socialist"?25


School1 star

We read this book for school and it sucked.15


Truly A Classic4 star

I am amazed that during my five years of undergraduate studies, I was never required to read Upton Sinclair's classic novel, "The Jungle". Well, now that I have read it, I can certainly understand why it has been labeled a classic. The primary character, Jurgis Rudkus, is a Lithuanian immigrant who has come to Chicago with his father and another Lithuanian family, all of whom hoping to find America to be the land of great dreams and opportunities. I was able to identify with this scenario because my maternal grandfather's family emigrated from Lithuania to Chicago, where my grandfather and my mother were born. Sinclair paints a very stark and depressing picture of the area of Chicago called Packingtown (because of the concentration of meat packing businesses in the district). He also tells the reader how local businesses swindled immigrants such as Jurgis and his family. 'The Jungle' is very much a tale of survival as Jurgis and his family attempt to stay alive through long periods of unemployment, near starvation and horrific weather. Toward the end of the novel, the author gets into a detailed discussion of the benefits of Socialism as Jurgis stumbles upon a party meeting by coincidence. I found this section to be rather dry and uninspiring for the most part. I was pleasantly surprised when Sinclair described the dramatic increase in votes the Socialist candidates received in 1904, compared with the previous election. This is definitely a novel I recommend to the serious reader, especially those with an interest in American history and sociology.45

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