It is the end of the 19th century. Like thousands of others, the Rudkus family has emigrated from Lithuania to America in search of a better life. As they settle into the Packingtown neighborhood of Chicago, they find their dreams are unlikely to be realized. In fact, just the opposite is quite likely to occur. Jurgis, the main character of the novel, has brought his father Antanas, his fiancée Ona, her stepmother Teta Elzbieta, Teta Elzbieta’s brother Jonas and her six children, and Ona’s cousin Marija Berczynskas along. The family, naïve to the ways of Chicago, quickly falls prey to con men and makes a series of bad decisions that lead them into wretched poverty and terrible living conditions. All are forced to find jobs in dismal working conditions for their very survival. Jurgis, broken and discouraged, eventually finds solace in the American Socialist movement.This novel was written during a period in American history when “Trusts” were formed by multiple corporations to establish monopolies that stifled competition and fixed prices. Unthinkable working conditions and unfair business practices were the norm. The Jungle’s author, Upton Sinclair, was an ardent Socialist of the time. Sinclair was commissioned by the “Appeal To Reason”, a Socialist journal of the period, to write a fictional expose on the working conditions of the immigrant laborers in the meat packing industry in Chicago. Going undercover, Sinclair spent seven weeks inside the meatpacking plants gathering details for his novel.The Reader wishes to gratefully acknowledge the assistance, and patience, of Professor Giedrius Subacius (University of Illinois) and the folks at Lituanus (www.lituanus.org) for their invaluable support as I struggled with Lithuanian pronunciations. Truly, this audio book would have been far more difficult, and far less authentic, without their help.And now, feel free to wander into The Jungle…….
Downloads on Classicly are completely free- these books are public domain.
We don’t pay a cent, so neither do you.
Pamela Spencer Stradley
March 12, 2013
Tragic story but wonderfully read. Amazing story made all the more interesting by the ring of truth to it all.
June 26, 2012
It is wonderful piece of history, tragic, slashed with glimpse of gentle love. Great depiction of immigration and immigrants destiny. Even better picture of the cruelty of the capitalism and what deregulation by government is capable of. Very good reading.
June 07, 2012
This is a great book! I used it in my unit plan "American Dream: Illusion or Reality? My students were in disbelief on the treatment of immigrants and the disregard for human life for profit.
May 08, 2012
Excellently Narrated! Intriguing and tragic (although started off a bit slow)... A true Classic
April 11, 2012
The narrator gives little to no emotion in this reading of a story of heart break and struggle.