I read the book last summer. I'm surprised that you didn't comment on the whole meat packing industry thing. Sinclair intended for the book to be a condemnation of capitalism, but in actuality it's expose on the condition of the beef caused quite a stir and someone (Calvin Coolidge or Herbert Hoover) created the FDA or some such federal department because of this book. There were some pretty disgusting passages in the book -- the sausage part, the rotten meat in the drain, the canned beef -- and yes, he did push the limits of reality, but it WAS quite a read. I also agree that the last part of the book was political bullshit. I think the story was a great story and a fabulous read, but I was disappointed when he started to preach. I felt like I had been duped or something. I felt like the whole book was written as an opening act for the final pages. Having said all that, I still would definitely recommend this book.