Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is a vivid portrait of life and death in a turn-of-the-century American meat-packing factory. A grim indictment that led to government regulations of the food industry, it is Sinclair's extraordinary contribution to literature and social reform. For those who think this book is not fit for high school reading because it's "gross, boring and hard to read," please take a moment to think. This is one of the most impactful books on American history after Appeal to Reason by Thomas Paine (for those who think that I forgot Uncle Tom's Cabin, that had no direct effect on the abolition of slavery. It, along with Bleeding Kansas, John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry, Senator Brook's attack on Sumner in Congress, the election of Abraham Lincoln, and numerous other events that led up to the secession of seven states and the form of the Confederacy ultimately leading to the Civil War.) This actually brought a direct reform on the meat packing industry. Also you must remember that you did not have a piece of contaminated meat before you opened this book and started reading. I'd bet you would be somewhat more interested in the book if you did. And of course it's going to be gross, how else are you supposed to rouse the public to action? Bottom line, it is a vital piece of history that needs to be appreciated and understood.--Submitted by John Kean
I remember reading this book as a summer assignment when I was in elementary school some 40 years ago. It was so informative and lifelike since I lived in Chicago and was very familiar with the Stockyards of Chicago. Children need to read more books of this nature so they can realize what history our cities have.--Submitted by Here In DC
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