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    First State of the First Edition, Signed by Upton Sinclair and with a Fiery Inscription by Jack London to His Sister

    Upton Sinclair. The Jungle. New York: The Jungle Publishing Co., [1906].

    First edition, first state, with "Sustainers' Edition" label to front pastedown (stating that this is one of approximately 5,000 copies printed privately and published concurrently with the Doubleday, Page trade edition). Signed by Upton Sinclair on front free endpaper. Also, inscribed by Jack London to his sister Eliza. Octavo. 413 pages, plus three pages of publisher's ads.

    Original dark olive pictorial cloth, stamped in black and white, and lettered in white; with Socialist Party symbol of two clasped hands before a map on front board. Binding a little loose. Cloth rubbed, extremities worn; a few scratches and blue stains to rear board, some stains to rear endpapers. White stamping -- particularly the lettering -- is rubbed; lettering on spine barely legible. A couple of spots to page edges. A fantastic association item that appears to have been well-read, in better than good condition.

    The Jungle -- a powerful exposé on conditions in the Chicago meat-packing industry -- was both an instant bestseller and a monumentally influential book. Sinclair's graphic descriptions of the dire conditions in the nation's slaughterhouses caused a huge public outcry and led directly to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 and, ultimately, to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration.

    When Sinclair had difficulty selling his politically-charged manuscript to publishers, he decided to publish it himself, asking payment from readers in advance in order to raise the needed funds. This "Sustainer's Edition" is the result. In order to excite readers, Sinclair had fellow Socialist Jack London write what he later called a "tremendous endorsement." London wrote, in part: "[What] Uncle Tom's Cabin did for black slaves, The Jungle has a large chance to do for the wage-slaves of today. It depicts not what our country ought to be [...] but it depicts what our country really is, the home of oppression and injustice, a nightmare of misery, an inferno of suffering, a human hell, a jungle of wild beasts."

    It is no surprise, then, to read London's inscription, written to his sister Eliza Shepard directly beneath Sinclair's signature on the front free endpaper: "Dearest Sister Eliza -- This is a true book, and it smashes a sledge-hammer blow for the Revolution. Jack London, March 8, 1906." Eliza was the executor of her brother's estate after his death in 1916. An important book and an incredible association copy.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
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