The Jungle

Publisher: Modern Library
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 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. The  Jungle, a story so shocking that it  launched a government investigation, recreates this  startling chapter if our history in unflinching  detail. Always a vigorous champion on 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.

From the Paperback edition.


Chapter I

It was four o’clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive. There had been a crowd following all the way, owing to the exuberance of Marija Berczynskas. The occasion rested heavily upon Marija’s broad shoulders—it was her task to see that all things went in...
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“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