Dan Henk's Reviews > The Jungle

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
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Sep 27, 2012

it was ok
Read in September, 2012

I read many of the standard high school required reading fare, Grapes of Wrath, Cry Beloved Country, Hearts of Darkness, Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby, and so on. All held their own rewards and witticisms. Some were better than others, but I could see why all were required reading. I actually had never read this book in high school. I had heard about it, and always meant to, but it took me a good 20 years to get to it.
It starts out alright. You can tell it's written by a journalist, not a novelist. The prose is stiff and unadorned, the dialogue is lackluster and amateurish, but it seems to be documenting an era in American history, so that is forgivable. It's bleak, and the lack of depth to the characters robs much of the bumpy ride of it's impact, but it is enlightening. It reminded me a bit of Low Life, a much better book about the troubles in early New York. Then it falls over the deep, into bad Michael Moore territory, and starts spending pages spouting socialism at you. It reminds me of when I read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States". I had read several other works chronicling the same events, and could plainly see what Howard was leaving out or putting in, just to make his point. Which was that he thinks socialism is the best system ever. That at least was readable. The Jungle is not. It is pure, made up propaganda, and not very well told propaganda at that.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Scott Ortell You are wrong. It was not "pure, made up propaganda." President Roosevelt commissioned an investigation into the books claims and the result the "Neill-Reynolds Report" sided with him and shortly after, the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act were passed in 1906. The latter created the FDA. Sinclair did meticulous research and worked the jobs in Chicago undercover. Perhaps you could have bothered to research yourself.

message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan Henk Scott wrote: "You are wrong. It was not "pure, made up propaganda." President Roosevelt commissioned an investigation into the books claims and the result the "Neill-Reynolds Report" sided with him and shortly..."

I did research, and you are being a snide little prick. If you were to closely read my review, not skim over it and so you could find out what angers you, you would see that I am not saying anything about the conditions of the time. They were horrible. Politicians were corrupt, industrialists were petty and warped by money. It was a rough life. I even recommend a book that points out all those things, and in a much more realistic fashion. The problem I had with The Jungle, and I also say this in my review, is that it takes a downturn at the end and suddenly tries to force feed the author's solution to the reader. Not only is he trying to advocate what I would argue is an unworkable system, but he doesn't even have the writing chops to make his final diatribe on the subject readable.

Mark Goldstein Not sure I agree that this is made up propaganda, but I agree that it is not well told. I could barely make it through to the end. Painful.

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