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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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.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
I had heard that this book made the US look into the meat business and I can certainly see why. However, this book is so much more than just an expose of dirty business dealings. It's a wonderful story of our immigrant ancestors life in the mid west during the late 1890's through about 1910. I have so much respect for all they survived. My family were factory workers in Michigan and had to learn English also. They came from Sweden, Poland, and Holland.
This book would have gotten a glowing review from me if it wouldn't have included the last 3 chapters, which contained propaganda about socialism. I wouldn't have minded even if they said that the hero found strength in socialism in his later years and left it at that. Instead we have to listen to an entire speech on socialism in the 29th chapter and then Jurgis' new job with a socialist employer and the final chapter another speech leading up to election day and ending with a rallying cry that they would prevail. Oh, brother! The whole tone of the novel changes and is told in this pie in the sky manner that it no longer is believable. Very disappointing.
Casey Affleck does an adequate job as narrator. Sometimes his inflections were a little off and it was hard for me to get enthused.
For the most part this book is wonderful especially for genealogists who have found relatives that came to America in this time period. That is why I gave it 4 stars. The last 3 chapters I would give a 1 star.
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.
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.
I've downloaded this book to two separate iPods. In each, when I reach a certain point in the narrative, my iPod shuts down. I've reported this to Audible early this year. They didn't seem much interested in correcting the problem. I would not recommend anyone download and try to play this book.
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