Originally best known as Ben Affleck's little brother, Casey Affleck has firmly established himself as a talented actor in his own right. Roles in the Ocean's Eleven trilogy and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award), have made their critical mark in Hollywood. In his Signature Performance of Upton Sinclair's classic The Jungle, Affleck's diverse family ancestry (English, Irish, French, Swedish, German, and Scottish) is on display in his command of the multifarious languages of immigrants in early-1900s Chicago. In his distinctive boyish timbre, he even pronounces Lithuanian like a native.
Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is a visceral and tragic story of immigrants trying to scratch out a living in the meatpacking plants of Chicago. The resulting public outcry led directly to the US government enacting changes in food and workplace safety practices still in place today.
With food production, business ethics, and immigration back in the news, Academy Award nominee Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) taps into the emotion behind these issues to breathe life back into the struggling inhabitants of Packingtown. Affleck, a committed vegan and animal rights spokesman, delivers a moving performance that connects with the book’s enduring legacy.
The Jungle revolves around the life and family of Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant whose dreams of a better life are crushed by punishing work in gruesome stockyards and an unforgiving city. Brilliantly written and vividly described, it provides a poignant and incredibly detailed snapshot of a striking point in American history.
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I am made by my choices and that which I read, or listen to in the car on my long commute
Not having Casey Afflect read this!
Too heavy handed with propaganda but a classic to read regardless
So monotone it hurt!
I'm sorry but did anyone bother to test out or listen to Casey Afflect read a damn book? He's monotone through the entire book; from the happy wedding to start the book to the final battle cry at the end there's literally no waiver in his voice. I've heard more emotion from military history readers!
The story is an eye-opening look at what many working class individuals suffered in the early 1900s America. It is not on my list of favorites due to the graphic nature of the story. Although it is not a light-hearted story, I find it valuable from a historical fiction perspective.
The perspective of how difficult the life was for so many at that time.
Absolutely not. I almost stopped listening several times in the beginning of the book because I found his voice annoying and his reading flat.
No. I had to stop at certain points because it was so graphic.
Casey does a great "third grade teacher" impression with his character voices and reads the foreign words and names pretty well.
Well, I felt for Jurgis the most since he was the protagonist. He was such a genuine character all the way through. It is sad to such such a good man turn sour after life continued to hand him rotten lemons.
Sadly, The Jungle doesn't have "favorite" scenes as all good things quickly turned into horrible situations.
When Jurgis was given a $100 bill and in his joy realized that there was danger in using it. It was heartbreaking to see what happened. Poor Jurgis. Can't catch a break.
Just over and over again Jurgis was screwed over.
I could easily follow along with the story and not get lost.
I don't Know.
All of them. He was very good.
I really enjoyed listening to his performance and reading the book. He made everything come together for me.
Ghost writer of over 100 unpublished works...;).
In short: The narration makes this book a "pass" to anyone except those with a real interest in the novel. Those just perusing, looking for a good read, might want to move along.
In detail: The Jungle tells the story of an immigrant trying to make his way in America during the turn of the 20th century. What follows a fable of how the power struggle between the US Railroad Trust and Meat Packing Trust took its toll on the goods manufactured and the workforce that manufactured the goods. Upton then makes the case for his solution.
Whether or not you or I agree with this solution, I think Upton does a fantastic job in outlining his concerns with completely unregulated capitalism (and specifically the lack of anti-trust laws).
If you're interested in the difficulties of immigrants in settling in America, fiscal policy or economic philosophy, this is a great novel for you. In the same vein as Atlas Shrugged (albeit from the exact opposite perspective and a historical instead of futuristic viewpoint), The Jungle is food for thought for those with an open mind and an interest in politics.
Likewise, if you are interested in a story about humanity at its best and worst, or if you're looking for a story about the struggle of human spirit against soul crushing odds, you can't go wrong with this pick.
However, if you're looking for a lighthearted or fanciful novel, you'd be better off looking elsewhere. The Jungle is bleak, depressing, and not for the faint of heart (or weak of stomach).
The narration was, at first, pretty bad. Like the reviewer Kosina before me, I am not sure whether he got better or I just got used to it, but there were still times where I found Mr. Affleck's stilted style difficult to endure. I truly hope this book gets a better treatment from another narrator.
This is the jungle that is my personal history being of slavic (Polish) extraction. My personal history is with the steel mills and coal mines nearby. In this story we see the struggle of the immigrants to an earlier America in another industry. If you do not realize that this is a historical retelling of the actual lives of people in America you missed a big part of American history. This is not fiction.
Here's a reality check. You know how Julian Assange leaked secret documents about the war in the middle east. You remember how the Watergate Scandal led to the resignation of Nixon as president. Well "the Jungle" was as big an expose' in it's time for telling the truth aobut the meat packing industry. This led to the current involvement of the Food and Drug Admin in our daily lives (yes thank you )... So you owe it to yourself to read the history of where we were back then and how greed is truly a deadly sin, and not just for the greedy.
A little less monotone.
Interesting percept, but contradictory reasoning.
The Jungle makes salient points about the unsanitary, precarious and corrupt nature of the beginnings of one of America’s industries in one of our most corrupt cities, Chicago. Contradicting itself, The Jungle provides examples of immigrants bringing that same industry to its knees by refusing conditions others seemed compelled to accept.
The Jungle also makes a good case for governmental regulation, while unintentionally providing many contradictory examples of regulatory corruption. The author’s solution? The endless dictatorial corruption of socialism.
Exploited, the main character turns to crime and participation in regulatory corruption, and fails to understand the opportunities provided him in the peace and sanity of rural America.
Anyone can drone on endlessly about the ugliness in any human or human endeavor. It takes a good writer to strike a balanced description of human frailty so the reader wants to turn the page. I got so I did not.
Never read it.
When they learned how they were cheated when buying their house.
More than a little depressing but a great listen, still.
Riveting story in a larger socio-political backdrop that Tea Party fans should listen to at some point.
That said, I did not like Affleck's narration too much. His tone is almost dis-interested at the beginning, with a lazy pronunciation of sorts. However, it somehow gets better (or I just got used to him) later on and the distraction is not enough to ultimately get in the way of this classic.
I only persevered to the end as I wanted to know how wretched and how low the characters in the novel would become! The narrator started the story in a style that I thought any moment he would fall asleep. His mono-syllabic tones nearly put me to sleep quite often and I wanted to give him a virtual nudge him so that he would remain on task! However he finished (probably no fault of his own but the author's), ended the oration with a loud shouting tone of someone on a soap-box. Someone who did not take a breath and was an absolute unionist zealot with a pinch of Lutheran/Methodist fervor thrown in!! Had a 'downer' for days after!! Did not enjoy this book at all as it was very disjointed, depressing, and bible-bashing.
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