Thursday, May 8, 2014

Book of the Month! (#6)


Title: The Jungle 
Author: Upton Sinclair 
Release Date: April 1st 2013 (first published 1905)
Published By: See Sharp Press
Page Amount: 335 pages, Paperback, The Uncensored Original Edition 

GoodReads Blurbs:
1-For nearly a century, the original version of Upton Sinclair's classic novel has remained almost entirely unknown. When it was published in serial form in 1905, it was a full third longer than the censored, commercial edition published in book form the following year. That expurgated commercial edition edited out much of the ethnic flavor of the original, as well as some of the goriest descriptions of the meat-packing industry and much of Sinclair's most pointed social and political commentary. The text of this new edition is as it appeared in the original uncensored edition of 1905. It contains the full 36 chapters as originally published, rather than the 31 of the expurgated edition. A new foreword describes the discovery in the 1980s of the original edition and its subsequent suppression, and a new introduction places the novel in historical context by explaining the pattern of censorship in the shorter commercial edition.  

2-Upton Sinclair’s muckraking masterpiece The Jungle centers on Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant working in Chicago’s infamous Packingtown. Instead of finding the American Dream, Rudkus and his family inhabit a brutal, soul-crushing urban jungle dominated by greedy bosses, pitiless con-men, and corrupt politicians.While Sinclair’s main target was the industry’s appalling labor conditions, the reading public was most outraged by the disgusting filth and contamination in American food that his novel exposed. As a result, President Theodore Roosevelt demanded an official investigation, which quickly led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug laws. For a work of fiction to have such an impact outside its literary context is extremely rare. (At the time of The Jungle’s publication in 1906, the only novel to have led to social change on a similar scale in America was Uncle Tom’s Cabin.)

Today, The Jungle remains a relevant portrait of capitalism at its worst and an impassioned account of the human spirit facing nearly insurmountable challenges.

My Semi-Quick Review: 
I read this book in my eleventh grade English class.  It was very, very graphic but in this book I appreciated that because it had to be graphic to really get its point across. This was also the first time that I had really seen a lot of social commentary in a book, and done very well. On top of that, this book had a huge impact on the meat packing industry and there was change that came about because of it. It was one of those times that I was really aware of how a book could bring about change on a large scale and I was once again amazed by the potential power of literature. 

<3 Amanda Leigh

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