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About the Author: Upton Sinclair

Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He achieved popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, acquiring particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle (1906). To gather information for the novel, Sinclair spent seven weeks undercover working in the meat packing plants of Chicago. These direct experiences exposed the horrific conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry, causing a public uproar that contributed in part to the passage a few months later of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. The Jungle has remained continuously in print since its initial publication. In 1919, he published The Brass Check, a muckraking exposé of American journalism that publicized the issue of yellow journalism and the limitations of the “free press” in the United States. Four years after the initial publication of The Brass Check, the first code of ethics for journalists was created. Time magazine called him "a man with every gift except humor and silence." In 1943, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Sinclair also ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Socialist, and was the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of California in 1934, though his highly progressive campaign was defeated.


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Goodreads rating: 3.71

Paperback, Published in Jul 1985 by Penguin Books

ISBN10: 0140390316 | ISBN13: 9780140390315

Page count: 412

One of the most powerful, provocative and enduring novels to expose social injustice ever published in the United States, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle contains an introduction by Ronald Gottesman in Penguin Classics.

Upton Sinclair's dramatic and deeply moving story exposed the brutal conditions in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the nineteenth century and brought into sharp moral focus the appalling odds against which immigrants and other working people struggled for their share of the American Dream. Denounced by the conservative press as an un-American libel on the meatpacking industry, and condemned for Sinclair's unabashed promotion of Socialism and unionisation as a solution to the exploitation of workers, the book was championed by more progressive thinkers, including then President Theodore Roosevelt, and was a major catalyst to the passing of the Pure Food and Meat Inspection act, which has tremendous impact to this day.

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) was born into an impoverished Baltimore family, the son of an alcoholic liquor salesman. At fifteen, he began writing a series of dime novels to pay for his education at the City College of New York, and he was later accepted to do graduate work at Columbia. While there, he published a number of novels, but his breakthrough was The Jungle (1906), a scathing indictment of the vile health and working conditions of the Chicago meat-packing industry. After a dalliance with politics, Sinclair returned to novel-writing, winning the Pulitzer Prize for his account of the Nazi takeover of Germany in Dragon's Teeth (1942).

If you enjoyed The Jungle, you might like Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March, also available in Penguin Classics.

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