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The Jungle (Paperback)
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Set in the early 1900's in working class America, a young immigrant couple, full of hope for a better future, are faced with the real life struggle of achieving the American dream from the bottom up. The dark and dangerous working conditions of the meatpacking district, along with the impossibility of pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps leads the protagonist, Jurgis Rudkus, to join a union. Soon, corruption and bribery reveal themselves as the foundation for business and politics of the time, and Jurgis comes to understand that the American dream is far out of his reach unless he changes course.