The quintessential muckraking novel, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle changed the course of history. With its gruesomely detailed picture of the meat-packing industry, the book prompted the immediate passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act, caused a drop in American's consumption of meat, and launched Sinclair's long career as a champion of the working class. The book introduces us to Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian peasant who brings his family to America in search of a better life. Rudkus believes that with his strong back, powerful arms, and determined spirit, he can make his way in America. He soon finds himself in the urban jungle of Chicago, where workers are pitted against each other for fear of losing their jobs and facing starvation; where men, women, and children are used up and discarded by greedy, soulless bosses. By following Rudkus's descent thorugh the brutal, bloody hell of 'Packingtown' and Chicago's seamy web of graft and corruption, Sinclair paints an unforgettable picture of the dark side of the American dream. Rudkus and his family fall victim to unscrupulous con men, and a pitiless, cold-hearted system whose only purpose is to enrich those at its summits. The Jungle, with its historical accuracy and timeless spirit of humanism, remains an invaluable mirror by which we can still examine ourselves and our society today.