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The Jungle Hardcover – 2 Nov 2006
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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
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"
"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
-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
From the Inside Flap
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.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
A book that will change you, and take you places you never knew existed, a book about the inhumanity of man towards man an animal. A Book that exposed the worst in capitalism and changed laws in the USA. A powerful indictment to greed and abuse for profit.
At the same time a demonstration that freedom of speech and expression can change things and will triumph over regimes that oppress the forces of change the fifth state.
Human nature is not what we would like it to be; so we need checks and balances like this book or 1984 by Orwell; we need to expose our baser instincts confront them not as if they were the shortcomings of others but our own. This book is a must read, a warning from the past to the present and the future.
There are a handful of characters whose names will be familiar, but the stories are somewhat different to what I thought they were going to be and in a nice way. I thought I would have to trudge through the book, but it wasn't like that. There are a few different thoughts as to hidden meanings in the stories, but I just took it for what it was and didn't try interpreting it. A book worth reading for enjoyment
The book can seem a little dated; it was written over a hundred years ago and the language and attitudes reflect those of the time. However, the book is still very readable and contains some wonderful images of animal behaviour when seen through the eyes of human realtionships. Rudyard Kipling was a great writer and this book was aimed at educating and entertaining children and it does that in a very straight forward way. It's also noticecable that some of the ideas in the book could be seen from the view of an environmentalist trying to encourage people to think about what is happening in the world.
I found that the Kindle version was not quite as well partitioned as I would have liked; the various sectiosn run into one another without having an obvious break. This can be a little confusing, although it doesn't spoil it too much.
I would suggest that if you are a parent with young children and wnat something suitable to read to them before bedtime, this book could something that they will learn to love and enjoy for many years.
Disney did a wonderful job of turning Kipling's dark and violent story into a jolly children's cartoon with lots of singing and fun. In the book things are far from gentle - there's a lot of fighting, animals wanting to kill their own kind and other animals, Akala the wolf-pack leader being threatened with death and the pack turning against each other. Mowgli and Shere Khan are destined to move towards a final countdown in which only one can survive. We want Mowgli to survive and thrive but this is the story of an outsider, someone who doesn't fit with his adopted species or his biological species. I certainly didn't expect to feel so moved by this small boy raised amongst wolves.
The language will be a barrier to many as it doesn't sit easily on the 21st century tongue or in the modern ear - we're just not used to phrases like "thou goest to thy mother...lamer than ever thou camest into the world". It's all 'thou' and 'thy' and complicated old-fashioned sentence construction. I don't doubt that Kipling was making a point by giving these voices to the animals but they sound very clunky to the modern reader.
There's another half of the book still to go when Mowgli's story reaches its end and the shorter stories in the collection take over. The problem is that the e-book is very poorly laid out and you'll need to really be paying attention to realise that you've just finished one story and started another because there are no chapters or breaks between tales. One moment I was merrily egging Mowgli on in his show-down battle and skipping over the annoying `songs' which were almost unreadable due to the dodgy layout then the next I was wondering where the story of a seal on the ice-flow fitted into the Indian jungle. Similarly the transition into the story of Rikki Tikki Tavi the mongoose popped up without any warning and then along came a story of a boy who wanted to be a mahout (elephant handler). It was extraordinarily confusing.
The stories that follow Mowgli's main event are cute, endearing and rather charming - if you can work out where they start and finish. The info that I found on my kindle about the book informed me that it had been converted from book to kindle format by a group of volunteers. At times it reads like those volunteers might have been the infinite number of monkeys locked in a room trying none too successfully to recreate the works of Shakespeare. I'm guessing it may have been one of the earlier books to be converted because there's a big problem with a lack of chapters, a lack of spacing and layout and a general sense that the whole lot has just been shoved into one big block of text. I mentioned the songs and poems that intersperse the Jungle Book - these would probably be really fun if they'd been laid out on the page better. Instead you find yourself wondering if they are prose or poetry.
I can't grumble too much after paying the grand sum of not one single penny for my copy but I am now inspired to go out and buy it in book form, just to read again and get the more authentic experience of the stories as they were written and originally presented.