Sinclair Upton 1878 - 1968 (90)

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.


The jungle

Upton Sinclair (J 1878 - 1968) was an American author who sharply criticized American society and power. He was born on September 20, 1878 in Baltimore, into an aristocratic family on his mother's side but with an alcoholic father, due to whom he spent some periods in great poverty. He attended New York College and then Columbia. After finishing his studies, he engaged in journalism, while from his student years, he had started writing. In 1906 he was a candidate with the Socialist Party, the same year he published his 6th book which shocked America and made him widely known. It was the novel "The Jungle" that he wrote after a journalistic mission to Chicago where he had researched the meat industry and recorded the inhumane working conditions of workers and the criminal practices of industrialists who sacrificed the health of consumers on the altar of profit.

The result of the book was the passing of a law on the purity of food and medicine. He was a member of the socialist party from which he left in 1933 but remained faithful to the ideals of socialism throughout his life. At the time of the Great Depression, in 1934, he founded an anti-poverty movement in California in which he was a candidate for governor without being elected. Until then he had written many books dealing with well-known cases of political corruption; after 1934 he wrote a series of eleven novels based on historical events, such as World’s end (1940) and “Dragon’s Teeth” (1942), which dealt with Hitler's rise to power and awarded him the Pulitzer Prize. In 1962 he published his autobiography.

Sinclair wrote a total of 90 books - novels, studies, articles, essays - with a strong social and political character. He married three times and died a year after his third wife, in a nursing home, on November 25, 1968.