"The Jungle" belongs with books such as "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Oliver Twist", written with the serious political aim of improving the conditions of the lowest in society. Written in 1906, it portrays the harsh conditions and exploited lives of meat packing industries in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. Readers were appalled by the exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices in the industry, and this contributed to a public outcry which ultimately led to reforms including the (US) Meat Inspection Act. Sinclair famously said of the public reaction "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." In the book, working class poverty, the lack of social support, harsh and unpleasant living and working conditions, and a hopelessness among many workers, are contrasted with the deeply rooted corruption of people in power.
Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. (1878–1968) was an American writer who wrote nearly 100 books and other works in several genres. Sinclair's work was well-known and popular in the first half of the twentieth century, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1943. Many of his novels can be read as historical works. Writing during the Progressive Era, he describes industrialized America from both the working man's and the industrialist's point of view. Novels like King Coal (1917), The Coal War (published posthumously), Oil! (1927) and The Flivver King (1937) describe the working conditions of the coal, oil and auto industries at the time. An outspoken socialist, Sinclair ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a nominee from the Socialist Party.
Our book is in very good condition for its age, and comes with its dust jacket; this latter is fairly worn, with wear, tears, and some frank loss here and there. The book itself is bound in green cloth with a black publisher's emblem on the front cover, and titles etc in black with black dividing lines, on the spine. There is some evidence of wear (slightly crumpled corners) and a slight fading at top & bottom of the spine, but otherwise externally the condition is very good. Page tops are green. Inside, there is a faint pencilled name on the front fep and some very slight foxing to the edges of the text block, but otherwise the binding is tight and all pages clean and bright.