November BoM – The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Well, well, well. Here we are again.

Our November banned and/or challenged book is: 

Title: The Jungle
Author: Upton Sinclair
Genre: Political Fiction
Publication Date: February 1906

“I aimed for the public’s heart and by accident hit their stomach” is what Sinclair said about the reaction to his Pulitzer Prize winning novel.

Appeal to Reason first published The Jungle in serial form between February 25, 1905 and November 4, 1905. Sinclair spent seven weeks in 1904 working Chicago meat packing plants gathering information to expose working conditions. But what he found was so much more.

The Jungle centers on Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant working Chicago’s infamous Packingtown. Instead of finding the American Dream, Rudkus and his family inhabit a brutal, soul-crushing urban jungle dominated by greedy bosses, pitiless con-men, and corrupt politicians.

So, why in the world would a book that exposed poor working conditions be banned or challenged?

Maybe because of it’s socialist views or maybe, just maybe it was because it exposed not only unsafe working conditions, but the meat packing industry, too. Who knows the real reason for its ban, but one thing is for sure The Jungle certainly raised awareness to things people in power would have rather kept quiet.

The Jungle was one of the first works of fiction to directly lead to Federal legislation and the creation of the federal meat-inspection law and the Pure Food and Drug Act which later became the Food and Drug Administration.

I find it a bit interesting that I couldn’t find any information (as yet) on The Jungle being banned/challenged in the United States. (Still digging). However, according to the ALA.org it was banned and burned in the following countries.

  • Banned from public libraries in Yugoslavia (1929).
  • Burned in the Nazi bonfires because of Sinclair’s socialist views (1933).
  • Banned in East Germany (1956) as inimical to communism. 
  • Banned in South Korea (1985).

Online Discussion Prompts Post on the following Mondays:

October 27 — Chapters 1-10
November 3 — Chapters 11-20
November 10 — Chapters 21-31

Please stop by and join the discussion. If you have any questions you’d like to ask or have any comments about The Jungle let us know in the comments area.

HAPPY BANNED BOOK READING!!! 

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