Wow. What more can you say about this book? The Jungle was the first "classic" I ever picked up on my own to just read for fun and it really hit me in the gut - no pun intended. The story really brings the nasty reality of life in the early 1900's to life. It also left me wondering how much better the meat processing industry is today.Don't let the books reputation of being all about meat packing deter you though - the story that surrounds the main character deals with politics and the hard scrabble life in Chicago at the turn of the century. It's a good story to go along with the expose' of the meat industry.