For nearly a century, the original version of Upton Sinclair
's classic novel, which gave impetus to the Progressive Movement
, has remained almost entirely unknown. When it was published in serial form in 1905, it was a full third longer than the censored, commercial edition published in book form the following year. That expurgated commercial edition edited out much of the ethnic flavor of the original, as well as some of the goriest descriptions of the meat-packing industry and much of Sinclair's most pointed social and political commentary. The text of this new edition is as it appeared in the original uncensored edition of 1905. It contains the full 36 chapters as originally published, rather than the 31 of the expurgated edition. A new foreword describes the discovery in the 1980s of the original edition and its subsequent suppression, and a new introduction places the novel in historical context by explaining the pattern of censorship in the shorter commercial edition.
Upton Sinclair wrote about the seamy underside of food production in the United States and was one of the best knocn muckrakers. The Progressive Movement grew out of belief, following the Gilded Age, the government could and should do more to promote the common welfare.