The Jungle

Read by Tom Weiss

(4.5 stars; 246 reviews)

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 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…….

(Summary by Tom Weiss) (16 hr 2 min)


Chapter 1 57:04 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 2 27:44 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 3 33:10 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 4 33:27 Read by Tom Weiss
Chaper 5 27:36 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 6 26:36 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 7 30:13 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 8 20:54 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 9 25:27 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 10 27:09 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 11 26:37 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 12 20:07 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 13 22:39 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 14 20:17 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 15 35:44 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 16 24:48 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 17 26:15 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 18 27:11 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 19 25:28 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 20 27:43 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 21 26:01 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 22 30:06 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 23 27:19 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 24 31:15 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 25 51:20 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 26 44:51 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 27 37:56 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 28 40:51 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 29 24:54 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 30 33:31 Read by Tom Weiss
Chapter 31 48:35 Read by Tom Weiss


gut wrenching.

(5 stars)

this audio book makes you so thankful for what you have. should be required reading for anyone saying that we shouldn't regulate companies, that they can regulate themeslves in a fair and humane manner. It won't work like that, any more than pure communism or pure socialism works. You need a mix to create a humane and stable country.

The Jungle

(5 stars)

This is great novel. It's a condemnation of the working conditions endured a hundred years ago before the advent of unions, worker's rights and decent labor legislation. It scares me to think that it might also be a vision of the future the way things have been going lately. When listening to this, remember, even though it's fiction, it's based entirely on fact. With that in mind be prepared for a gut wrenching emotional experience as Tom Weiss's marvelous, top-notch job with the reading really brings it all to life.


(5 stars)

This was a very interesting look at the inside life of a poor man and reviled a lot about society and corporation at the time. The reader is great, he has a smooth voice that easy to listen to and matches the story very well.

Would recommend

(5 stars)

Great experience with this audio book. Was initially skeptical of how I'd take to the narrator's presentation, but I thought that Tom's careful delivery yielded itself well to the often grim details of the novel. Thankful to all those involved for the opportunity to learn from this influential work!

A different way to enjoy The Jungle

(5 stars)

The Jungle has been one of my favorite novels for the last 13 years and this is the first time I have had the oppurtunity to enjoy an audio version. Weiss's reading is quite well done. Very good!

Bravo from Borneo

(5 stars)

This is indeed an epic tale of struggle and the daily fight that thousands of workers undertook simply to get a toe hold on life's slippery slope to ruin. Clearly, this is also an important book in terms of its impact upon food safety and work conditions in the US in the early 1900s, leading as it did to the ultimate formation of the FDA. It is a harrowing tale for the main character Jurgis and his family who encounter a series of calamities. My only criticism of this book is that we are left in the end not knowing the fate of Jurgis. Having invested 27 chapters into his life, the author devotes the final 3 chapters to summarising the benefits of socialism. Jurgis' seems forgotten and his life feels a little unresolved. Nevertheless, this book is certainly a very worthwhile listen. Chapeau as always to Tom Weiss for his wonderful narration.

Important Book

(5 stars)

Glad I finally got to listen to Upton Sinclair's Magnum Opus. Still relevant today with the exploitation of workers especially in the gig economy. Also many States in the US still have no minimum wage and there is still a long way to go in terms of the rights of people to universal health care and racial equality. Enjoyed Tom Weiss' interpretation, especially his heroic attempt at the Dutch midwife! Couple of observations. In light of the passage of 120 years, Sinclair's optimism about a socialist future looks a little hollow, and I wonder if the racist undertones when discussing the strike breakers were supposed to be the thoughts of our protagonist, or Sinclair's himself. You could argue that if the latter, it could just be a reflection of contemporary attitudes, but if so, seems to be in conflict with his professed socialist ideals.

Good book and awesome reader

(5 stars)

Book does great job of describing life of ordinary folk back in 1900. Time when companies maximized their profits by cutting wages to ridiculously low numbers on which no family could survive. Kids had to work to help survive, instead attending schools. Despite all that they were barely scraping by, starving and freezing in winter. Bosses could abuse and exploit their employees in return for sexual favours. It is allot better now, but was it not for welfare and other safety nets, many would be starving and freezing nowdays. Minimum wage is not high enough to feed family. Even these days politicians are paid to push and stop wage increase and cut benefits to low income population so they can increase their profits.