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In school circa mid 1970's I'd read a then-classic novel which I would like to read again if I can identify it.

I believe it was set around the time of the US Great Depression but I don't think it was Steinbeck's 1939 The Grapes of Wrath (though I could be wrong on that).

From what I remember there was a lot of discussion of the meat packing industry and the city of Chicago.

The only specifics I can remember is a hungry person (the protagonist?) opening some canned meat, which released some gas and "green ooze" indicating it had gone bad, and due to hunger they still ate it.

I have a hunch someone familiar with American literature literate will find this question trivial; if so, my apologies!

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Upton Sinclair The Jungle. Set in Chicago

Famous for its treatment of the meat packing industry and producing the FDA by horror stories such as you mention. (He was actually trying to induce socialist revolution, and complained: "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.")

It was actually published around the turn of the century.

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  • Yes indeed that's it, thank you! I recall this particular book cover i.stack.imgur.com/5OVMV.jpg (from here) Next step is to get my hands on a copy, read it, find the bit about the green ooze that didn't kill the person who ate it and ask what it could possibly have been.
    – uhoh
    Jul 4 at 3:02
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    It's in public domain. There's also a longer version than was initially published, marketed as "uncensored", published in 2003. Jul 4 at 17:19
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    @uhoh neither here nor there, but ...is that not Edgar Allen Poe on that cover? Certainly not but it does look like him
    – BruceWayne
    Jul 4 at 20:35
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    @SpehroPefhany oh that's excellent! I'm one of those people who likes to hold and smell and feel actual pulp, but of course I'm gonna go there first. Thanks!
    – uhoh
    Jul 5 at 0:45
  • Personally I don't remember the green ooze, I remember the wife giving birth and then having to go into to work the next day for a full meat packing shift. It's a depressing/insightful read for sure. Jul 5 at 14:09

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