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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (54,656 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Upton Sinclair Narrator: J. Paul Boehmer, Paul Boehmer Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9781400180400
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An ardent activist, champion of political reform, novelist, and progressive journalist, Upton Sinclair is perhaps best known today for The Jungle—his devastating exposé of the meat-packing industry. A protest novel he privately published in 1906, the book was a shocking revelation of intolerable labor practices and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago stockyards. It quickly became a bestseller, arousing public sentiment and resulting in such federal legislation as the Pure Food and Drug Act. The brutally grim story of a Slavic family who emigrates to America, The Jungle tells of their rapid and inexorable descent into numbing poverty, moral degradation, and social and economic despair. Vulnerable and isolated, the family of Jurgis Rudkus struggles—unsuccessfully—to survive in an urban jungle.

A powerful view of turn-of-the-century poverty, graft, and corruption, this fiercely realistic American classic is still required reading in many history and literature classes. It will continue to haunt readers long after they’ve finished the last page.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Blankminds | 2/19/2014

    " Definitely not what i was expecting but kinda cool execpt for the propaganda bit toward the end. Sorta ruined the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jodi | 2/15/2014

    " This is how history books should be written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cierra | 2/14/2014

    " At first I could not get into the book... the reading at times became very tedious and I just wanted to give up. If it wasn't for me using schmoop.com to pull me through the book, I don't think I would remember anything except for the very graphic explanation of the meat packing industry during that time. No wonder people missed Sinclair's point of writing this book to be a Socialist book. Overall good read, though it was boring at times. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tim Patrick | 2/11/2014

    " It's no wonder that this book brought about government action. It reads like a Department of Transportation feasibility study. Moral of the story: everyone is corrupt, only the Socialist party can save you. Lots of emotion, lots of injustice, lots of hype. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick Hammond | 2/10/2014

    " This is a good book, but it's to sad for five stars "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Courtney | 2/7/2014

    " The beginning of the book was great! then Ona died and their son also died. After that I felt like the book just wasn't the same. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gerry Czerak | 2/6/2014

    " With over 1,000 reveiws on Facebook, you don't need mine too. Read this long ago and it had a defining influence on my views about justice and society, and made me sooooo grateful to be living in our times instead of 100 years ago. If you have not read it, you should. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather Somers | 1/31/2014

    " Amazing. I can't believe I never read this until now. The conditions Jurgis and his family were subjected to were horrible. I kept wondering why they stayed in Chicago, and didn't go someplace warmer. I guess that was part of their helplessness. There are so many injustices in this book, I can only imagine what it must have really felt like to be starving, freezing, and no end in sight. Thank you, Upton Sinclair, for opening the public eye to the mess that was Packingtown. Written over 100 years ago, while many things have changed, politics is still just as crooked as ever! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leigh | 1/31/2014

    " I first read this in high school & did not remember any of the details. I had only general knowledge of the book and its impact. When I reread it I was engrossed. The story line is sad, yet at times I wanted to throttle the characters for their stupidity. I am glad I went back to this classic. It is very unnerving, but a book I could not put down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gary Dale | 1/30/2014

    " I thoroughly enjoyed the first three quarters of this book but then Sinclair Lewis became Michael Moore for all intents. There was nothing subtle about the ending. The author went from telling a story to recruiting for the socialist cause. I'm uncomfortable with narratives that don't want you to draw your own conclusions. There is a name for those: propaganda. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 1/27/2014

    " i don't read many classics or much "literature" but this was great. maybe the the best book i've ever read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristyn | 1/27/2014

    " The story of a family of Lithuanian immigrants who come to Chicago with dreams of prosperity, only to be repeatedly exploited by everyone. The rich people in the book all seem to have earned their livelihoods by destroying families like this. Although this is known principally as a book that has, perhaps more than any other, brought forth a demand for industrial regulation, I really felt that was secondary to the story of the tragedies that these people endured. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachella Sinclair | 1/24/2014

    " I read this as an impressionable high school student so it's literary merit, or lack thereof escaped me. It stoked the embers of socialist leaning I was already feeling and is the main reason I became a vegetarian. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gary Dale | 1/22/2014

    " I thoroughly enjoyed the first three quarters of this book but then Sinclair Lewis became Michael Moore for all intents. There was nothing subtle about the ending. The author went from telling a story to recruiting for the socialist cause. I'm uncomfortable with narratives that don't want you to draw your own conclusions. There is a name for those: propaganda. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Malia! | 1/22/2014

    " If it weren't for the soapbox-socialist closing chapters of the book, it would have earned 5 stars. The ideas he belabors in those chapters are valid for a man like Jurgis, keeping it in context but still, it was a little heavy-handed and set apart noticeably from the tone and writing style of the rest of the book. It was like all that beautiful writing and those woeful tales were all just a set-up for socialist propaganda. Once the real motive was revealed, the rest of the book seemed like a trick. Tell us how you really feel Sinclair :) However, before those chapters, Sinclair's writing of Jurgis's helplessness, hopelessness and poverty is heartbreaking and really unlike anything I've read before. If you hate your job or your boss: read this book. If you're thinking of going vegetarian: read this book. If you're thinking of voting democrat: read this book. It was invaluable perspective-reading for a capitalist like myself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tommy Darby | 1/21/2014

    " After reading this book, not sure if I want my favorite meal again. Chicken Fried Steak. This is a bleak brutally open look at the slaughter houses and meat packing plants in early Chicago. Probably before the FDA came into existence. Also a stor of what happened to poor immigrants when first landing upon US shores. If these packing houses still exist in Chicago, I would want to tour one some day. Might be an incentive to become a vegetarian. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Courtney | 1/20/2014

    " The beginning of the book was great! then Ona died and their son also died. After that I felt like the book just wasn't the same. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marty Monahan | 1/20/2014

    " Read this, its an eye opener. Free on the kindle as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennie | 1/17/2014

    " Definitely not a happy book but well written and eye opening. I didn't enjoy the last 10% which was all socialism propaganda. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Derek | 1/15/2014

    " This was the most awful, laughably overdramatic, mind-numbingly boring political tirade I have ever struggled through. This book deserves a single star for its wonky ending that derails all plot resolution, so that the author may engage in an overly verbose mental masturbation of political philosophy at his lead character's expense, probably because he couldn't find a creative way to kill him off. I wish Sinclair would have written in that Jurgis had a brain hemorrhage from having to suffer through the last 15% of the novel and just ended it. At least then the reader would be able to relate after having to trudge through sloppy, pulled-out-of-ass statements made by singularly unimportant characters that had no place in this novel at all. The only reason I give this book two stars are for three reasons: it is important, historically; there is, on rare occasion, a very good quote; there is a bulldog that is an admiral. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anthony M. | 1/14/2014

    " A bleak story that describes turn-of-the century working conditions and especially the circumstances in meat packing. Its enough to make you want to be a vegetarian. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sheri Hansen | 1/14/2014

    " This book rips your heart out--it really shows what it was like when the American dream died for immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. Depressing, but beautiful in its own way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Juli | 1/9/2014

    " The prose is wonderful but the story is occasionally too depressing. The last pages ignore any attempt at story and become blatant propaganda, which was a difficult way to finish an execellent novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Noelle Chaban | 1/9/2014

    " This book made me become a vegetarian. It disillusions you concerning where your food comes from. Without regulations (hurr hmmm, Republicans) we'd be back to the time described in this book. You can't even imagine in your wildest dreams what they were feeding people in the 1900s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Geoffrey | 1/2/2014

    " Effective enough, though the second half is on the aimless side. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 1/2/2014

    " A must read. History repeats itself. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Peggy Johnson | 1/2/2014

    " Glad I read it - but not a fan. It was just a circle of depressing situations with the drawn-out ending nothing but a bunch of propaganda. I felt cheated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julia Frederick | 12/30/2013

    " A great, challenging read. Definitely made me think twice about what goes into our food. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ishita | 12/22/2013

    " This book had some great parts, but it was just wayyyyy tooooo long ! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jaclyn | 12/21/2013

    " Very well written classic book. But I did not eat meat for a month after reading it; still don't eat beef to this day. ....now that I think about it, probably should give it a higher rating since my health is better bc of it "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adan | 12/9/2013

    " Helped me realize what happened in the meat industry as well as other related industries in the expansion of the Industrial Revolution, I think. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gary Patella | 12/9/2013

    " I very much enjoyed this novel. Jurgus Rudkus is introduced as a large, strong, proud man. His struggles, tragedies, and downfalls show him transform from someone strong, powerful, and almost invincible to someone completely and totally broken down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lywana | 12/5/2013

    " The Jungle is one of the most depressing books i've ever read. Its not only digusting because of how the meat is packed with all sortes of filth,but also because everything bad that could happen to someone happens to poor Jurgis. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jody Lee | 11/30/2013

    " Read in Junior High this book make an indellible impression on me and has been formative in my views regarding politics and social justice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yang Chu | 11/30/2013

    " every one of my obsessions neatly bound in book form: cities, pollution, poverty, exploitation, human suffering, animal suffering, and a society on the brink of epic transformation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 11/28/2013

    " well didn't this just bum me out. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill Whitman | 11/23/2013

    " One of my favorite books. I have read it more than once and each time it has evoked strong emotions for the characters "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Madison | 10/25/2013

    " Read for APUSH. The story was actually pretty good. It was the lectures on Socialism that ruined it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kayla | 10/17/2013

    " This was really informational and a great read. However, it takes an abundance of concentration to read due to Sinclair's deep descriptions. Other than that, I definitly recommend this book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kris | 10/17/2013

    " An all time favorite. I wanted to take these people home and help them and FEED them! The ending tends to become a political rant but, the main story is compeling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pascal Marco | 10/6/2013

    " Sinclair describes Chicago in March so well I felt cold and shiverred when I read the pages, looking for a warm place to hide. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Patrick John | 9/20/2013

    " Take the communist manifesto and wrap a thin little plot around it. Historically interesting. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sandi | 9/14/2013

    " I invested myself in these characters only to find out at the end that this book was solely propaganda. Badly done, Mr. Sinclair. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 9/4/2013

    " i don't read many classics or much "literature" but this was great. maybe the the best book i've ever read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 8/28/2013

    " A modern version of Dante's Inferno with Capitalism as Satan, Chicago's 'Packingtown' as Hell and Socialism as Virgil. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Swood Cpsprofessionalscom | 8/27/2013

    " One of my favorite books of all time---worth reading again at least once a year. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristine | 7/21/2013

    " So I loved this book when I first read it in high school and it's amazing how relevant it is today. But this time I found myself skimming the end when Jurgis became a Socialist. I was more interested in his personal life at that point and not so intrigued by politics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom | 6/26/2013

    " Good read. This was a timely look at corporate power and the abuse of the working poor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adan | 2/28/2013

    " Helped me realize what happened in the meat industry as well as other related industries in the expansion of the Industrial Revolution, I think. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Zoe | 1/11/2013

    " Not the worst book I've read. I wouldn't have read it if it weren't for class though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam Sink | 12/25/2012

    " I liked the first half of the book, but the second half was long-winded and boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristina | 10/11/2012

    " A classic that still speaks to societies many ills...Loved reading about the area I live in but had trouble not getting really upset at just how unfair life can/has/will continue to be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lywana | 10/8/2012

    " The Jungle is one of the most depressing books i've ever read. Its not only digusting because of how the meat is packed with all sortes of filth,but also because everything bad that could happen to someone happens to poor Jurgis. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 7/30/2012

    " Just finished this one. I am thinking about becoming a vegan. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marianna | 7/16/2012

    " Depressing and gross, but very interesting nonetheless. My Irish ancestors started off in Chicago, so I am getting a glimpse of what it could have been like for them at this period. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aunnalea | 4/28/2012

    " I had a tough time getting into this book until about half way through. Then, I was hooked, but mostly depressed. Worth reading for sure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kurt | 4/9/2012

    " I know this book made a huge impact because of the unhealthy conditions it exposed at meat-packing plants, but it's really much more concerned with the unhealthy conditions in the capitalist society of which the plants are a part. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jaclyn | 4/6/2012

    " Very well written classic book. But I did not eat meat for a month after reading it; still don't eat beef to this day. ....now that I think about it, probably should give it a higher rating since my health is better bc of it "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Fatherkronus | 3/28/2012

    " Not a very good book. Pretty obvious when you get into it that Sinclair compiled all miseries and piled them on one family. Makes a good point of extreme capitalism and the effects on the honest working man. Ending was a huge disappointment. Pick up a Steinbeck! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Frank | 2/13/2012

    " A creepy, necessary look at times and places where society crushes the human state. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrew G | 2/1/2012

    " Sick tale on the corrupt underbelly of the Chicago meat industry at the turn of the century. It's kind of dated now and in the last 50 pages it suddenly turns into a socialist propaganda rant that is very forced. It's worth reading for the insight into how immigrants lived in Chicago then. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 George | 1/20/2012

    " Really good book until the last few chapters, where Sinclair begins to expound on Socialism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gary Patella | 1/16/2012

    " I very much enjoyed this novel. Jurgus Rudkus is introduced as a large, strong, proud man. His struggles, tragedies, and downfalls show him transform from someone strong, powerful, and almost invincible to someone completely and totally broken down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gus | 11/4/2011

    " I liked it, especially as far as the historical context and the insight into socialism in America, the beef industry and 1900s Chicago, but I don't think he gives people -- even poor people -- enough credit for their ability to affect their world and it pissed me off and lost him a star. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pascal Marco | 10/13/2011

    " Sinclair describes Chicago in March so well I felt cold and shiverred when I read the pages, looking for a warm place to hide. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Parish | 10/12/2011

    " Ugly capitolist... only thing worse is socialism... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine Treadwell | 9/17/2011

    " Astonishing how much of this has cycled back around again and is happening today in this increasingly selfish, greedy society a whole century later. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nanci Robertson | 8/9/2011

    " This book was good, but depressing way, as it depicts how miserable life could be for new immigrants in Chicago during the late 1890's. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heidi Thies | 8/4/2011

    " The Jungle is disgustingly informative, but it is an eye-opener to those who don't know about the turn-of-the-century economic situation for immigrants in America. It provokes skepticism and suspicion toward "Beef Trusts" that exist still today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allen | 7/23/2011

    " The book was pretty good until I got to the manifesto at the end. Too preachy at that point. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Blake | 7/17/2011

    " One of my favourite novels. A striking criticism of capitalism and labour at the turn of the 20th century. Gave my copy to a friend in hopes that he would read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cydney | 7/13/2011

    " So interesting. Another book I missed in my young years. The commentary on immigration, the meat packing industry, living in poverty - and more. Surprisingly a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristine | 7/3/2011

    " So I loved this book when I first read it in high school and it's amazing how relevant it is today. But this time I found myself skimming the end when Jurgis became a Socialist. I was more interested in his personal life at that point and not so intrigued by politics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liv | 6/30/2011

    " This book encouraged me to stay a veg. for 3.5 years. NOOO MEAT. sooooo gross. This book is a classic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wade | 6/30/2011

    " the un-edited version has a lot more political comments/views than the original. i prefer the original. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pascal | 5/20/2011

    " Sinclair describes Chicago in March so well I felt cold and shiverred when I read the pages, looking for a warm place to hide. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Zach | 5/10/2011

    " Plot summary: Meat-packing and capitalism suck, and everything goes wrong. I only got halfway through before giving up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 5/4/2011

    " Read it back in junior year of high school. Remember it was pretty eye-opening to the plight of immigrant workers in industrial cities. Opens with a scene of a Polish wedding, I believe.

    Enjoyed it but don't remember too many specifics of it.

    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris | 4/28/2011

    " Without question, the most depressing book I've ever read. I enjoyed most of it, but the last 20-30 pages strayed so far from the narrative that it sort of ruined it for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kayla | 4/27/2011

    " This was really informational and a great read. However, it takes an abundance of concentration to read due to Sinclair's deep descriptions. Other than that, I definitly recommend this book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rosie | 4/23/2011

    " I read this many years ago and decided to read it again. I understand it alot more now than I did back then. Very informative and I really learned alot the second time around. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rayna | 4/22/2011

    " The grossness of this book made it hard for me to read. However I did finish it. It was memorable but for all of the wrong reasons. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany | 4/19/2011

    " Loved it! Great story and kind of eye opening about the food industry and labor in the early 1900's. Didn't care for the ending so much but overall really enjoyed the book. "

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About the Author
Author Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair (1878–1968) was a journalist, a prominent social and political activist, and the author of over two dozen books, including the novel Dragon’s Teeth, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1943. He is perhaps best known for The Jungle, the dramatic exposé of the Chicago meat-packing industry that prompted the investigation by Theodore Roosevelt that culminated in the pure-food legislation of 1906.

About the Narrators

Paul Boehmer is an American actor best known for his numerous appearances in the Star Trek universe. He began his audiobook work in 2000 and has since lent his voice to many fiction and nonfiction titles. He has won nine AudioFile Earphones Awards as well as the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration in 2009 and 2014. Between books, he is active in regional theaters across the country. His television appearances include guest spots on Nip/Tuck and Numb3rs.

Paul Boehmer is an American actor best known for his numerous appearances in the Star Trek universe. He began his audiobook work in 2000 and has since lent his voice to many fiction and nonfiction titles. He has won nine AudioFile Earphones Awards as well as the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration in 2009 and 2014. Between books, he is active in regional theaters across the country. His television appearances include guest spots on Nip/Tuck and Numb3rs.