Editorial Reviews

Rarely has a novel so completely captured America at a crossroads as has Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. It follows Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkus and his family through an epic journey from their impoverished homeland to America and the promised land of the Chicago stockyards. The promise of freedom and prosperity soon fades though as Jurgis and his family are trapped in a cycle of grinding poverty, sickness, and brutal working conditions.
Though beautifully written, the tone of the story is oppressive — but that's pretty much the point. Jurgis is transformed from a proud, hard-working man to a broken, used-up shell. The stockyard factories take everything a worker has and then tosses them aside. Interspersed throughout the main storyline we also find whole chapters cataloging corruption and the horrific working conditions of the time; other chapters detail the gruesome and grossly unsanitary practices of the meat industry. The Jungle did lead to many important reforms in food safety laws and even eventually to the creation of the FDA. Sinclair had hoped his novel would serve as a call for labor reform and towards the end it does become a bit of a love letter to socialism. The Jungle did however highlight very real labor problems and Chicago would become a center for union activity and labor reform.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Casey Affleck as narrator, yet he quickly won me over. He brings a very necessary everyman feel to the story, a much-needed human touch to the material that often takes you to very inhuman places. His reading of one of the pivotal scenes where a childbirth goes horribly wrong is one of the most utterly devastating, yet touching performances you will ever hear. Affleck brings an incredible depth and understanding as well as a welcome subtlety to much of the reading. In lesser hands this material could have been easily overplayed and maudlin. Affleck's buy-in and commitment to the characters and story are palpable.
Sometimes it's important to revisit our own history, and many of the issues addressed in The Jungle are important and fiercely debated topics again today. Lest we forget our past, The Jungle is here to remind us of a rather dark part of our history and some of the flaws and weaknesses in our own humanity. —Cleo Creech
Show More Show Less

Publisher's Summary

Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is a visceral and tragic story of immigrants trying to scratch out a living in the meatpacking plants of Chicago. The resulting public outcry led directly to the US government enacting changes in food and workplace safety practices still in place today.
With food production, business ethics, and immigration back in the news, Academy Award nominee Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) taps into the emotion behind these issues to breathe life back into the struggling inhabitants of Packingtown. Affleck, a committed vegan and animal rights spokesman, delivers a moving performance that connects with the book’s enduring legacy.
The Jungle revolves around the life and family of Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant whose dreams of a better life are crushed by punishing work in gruesome stockyards and an unforgiving city. Brilliantly written and vividly described, it provides a poignant and incredibly detailed snapshot of a striking point in American history.
Public Domain (P)2010 Audible, Inc
Show More Show Less

Regular price: $36.20

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – love a book or swap it for free
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $16.45/month
Select or add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $36.20

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.
No Reviews are Available

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Darwin8u on 22-10-2013

One of great social protest novels of 20th Century

One of the great social protest novels of the 20th Century. 'The Jungle' is at once an indictment on the treatment of immigrants, poverty, American wage slavery, and the working conditions at Chicago's stockyards and meatpacking plants -- and simultaneously an exposé on the unsanitary conditions of the meat produced in the plants and led to Federal real food reform. Did I like it? Well, it pissed me off, so I thought it was a great piece of writing. It reminded me of the time when I was 19 and lived next to the Swift stockyards and meat packing plants. The smells that seemed more terrestrial than dirt seemed to flood back into my brain. 'The Jungle' shows how persuasive fiction can actually lead to real world reform. The FDA was created largely due to the public outcry after the publication of this book.

Jack London said in his review at the time, that the Jungle was the Uncle Tom's Cabin of wage slavery. The interesting fact, however, is Sinclair was more concerned about the people, the exploitation of immigrants and children, but the power of this novel ended up being tied to the condition of the food, and not the people. Sinclair was quoted as saying "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." Regardless, Upton Sinclair throws a helluva punch.

Casey Affleck gives a strong performance in the Jungle. He is able to nuance through Lithuanian and Polish names and various emotions and tempos with ease and aplomb. He stays primarily in the background of the narration, but still gives power and emotion to his reading of this great American protest novel.

Read More Hide me

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Kamigaeru on 04-03-2011

Caveat emptor: Powerful book, subpar narration

Somehow I never read this book in high school or even college. I can't believe what I missed! If you haven't read this book, you should. But while the text of the book is a truly powerful work, this audio version of The Jungle has been ruined by the narrator: Casey Affleck's reading was exceedingly uninspiring. (I believe another reviewer used the word "underwhelming" which is a very apt description!) Please find a paper copy or another audio version and save yourself a credit.

Read More Hide me

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ian on 17-02-2016

Finally got around to it

What did you like most about The Jungle: A Signature Performance by Casey Affleck?

His reading is exceptional. He sounds weary, which lends itself nicely to a story of immigrants being slowly worn down.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Jungle: A Signature Performance by Casey Affleck?

Everything. The story is BRUTAL. As a listener, you are the steer and you're waiting for the hammer of misery to fall.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole book

Read More Hide me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Calum I. MacLeod on 07-07-2014

An Engrossing Story with Superb Narration

Upton Sinclair intended to introduce his readers to socialism. The amoral and unsympathetic characters don't really help his cause, but plenty of people have taken up vegetarianism after reading the gruesome abattoir scenes.

More importantly, this dark and depressing story is utterly gripping. Casey Affleck narrates it brilliantly, bringing exactly the hopeless, depressing tone that much of this novel needs.

The plot surrounds Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant in Chicago. He takes a job in a slaughterhouse and experiences brutal working conditions, unemployment, jail time and homelessness. It isn't jolly, but it is utterly engrossing.

Read More Hide me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews