Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I recently finished reading "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. The book was written in 1905 and is a story of an immigrant worker, and subsequently his family, and their experiences in the stockyards of Chicago. after its release in 1906 the book was refused by several publishers which lead to a simplified, censored version that was in circulation in a few different forms for more than 80 years. at some point along the line the original writtings were found and republished in an uncensored format beggining in 05. the writings are not for the weak at heart or stomach, and while the book touches on many things political, and the way that are country treated the immigrants who worked in these yards and elsewhere, i read the book for the absolutely horrifing accounts of the meat packing industry. the book contains some of the most foul situations that one could possibly imagine. the story goes that after the book was released President Roosevelt called the author to find out how much of the book was true, and Mr Sinclair simply exclaimed that all and more was true of the working conditions that people endured. in turn we passed the pure food and drug act in june of 1906. the book was one of the very reasons that the FDA was invented and the reason that our meat (especially beef) is graded by certifed USDA inspectors in a extremely rigourous process. now i know that the process isnt foolproof, nor am i naive enough to belive that there arent dark sided ventures going on in slaughterhouses, but i am positive that it no way is even remotely as bad as it could be. if you have the least bit of interest in history, food, politics, etc it is a great read. i was able to buy it from Amazon used for less than $5. i will warn you that the page layout is a tad overwhelming, and the language used takes a bit of getting used to, but it truly is worth the read.