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Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair Hardcover – 6 Jun 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (NY) (6 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400061512
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400061518
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.2 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 561,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. J. Partington on 3 May 2007
Format: Hardcover
Anthony Arthur is to be roundly praised for his wonderful study of the life and thought of Upton Sinclair. An American radical novelist and thinker, Sinclair is shamefully overlooked today in academia, where he could serve usefully as both a seismograph of his age and an important novelist in the social realist tradition. Sinclair links the two great American radical traditions of communitarianism (in the case of his Helicon Hall experiment) and state interventionism (in his support for the New Deal and his own campaign for the governorship of California, promoting his 'End Poverty in California' platform). While more willing to roll his sleeves up and get his hands dirty, Sinclair in many ways comes across as an American H. G. Wells, self-consciously using literature as propaganda and, while never ceasing to be a novelist, privileging journalism, sociology and political tracts at different times of his career when his principles and objectives commanded him to do so. This biography is a most readable work for the general public, while being an excellent provacteur to the academy, making the case for a re-examination of Sinclair's significance in American letters and indeed within world social literature. My only quibbles with the book are that it perhaps lacks the international context of Sinclair's significance, and occasionally lacks depth on important subjects. Thus, while it is several times mentioned that Sinclair was widely read across Europe, that reception is ignored and the dialogue between Sinclair and European artists and thinkers is skipped (except when the European's went to him, as with Einstein and Eisenstein).Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Well written and fascinating biography of Upton Sinclair 11 Aug. 2006
By B. B. WHITEHEAD - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was not familiar with the works of Upton Sinclair, but drawn to this book via a review in the New York Times. Sinclair was definitely a man out of sync with his times, as he would be if he were living now. I did not know that after many years as a socialist, he switched to the Democratic Party to run for Governor in California in 1934. He was involved in all types of progressive causes concerning labor/industry, the media, civil liberties, and health care. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his historical novel, Dragon's Teeth, which is a fictional account of the beginning of Adolph Hitler's Third Reich. I've tracked down a copy of that (now out of print) and am reading it due to the parallel with our time and the rise of what some are calling American fascism. (There, I've shown my hand). Nevertheless,

this biography is very well written and compelling. I took it with me on a beach vacation and had no problem finishing it.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Upton Sinclair the author of the Jungle is well served in this fine biography 11 Aug. 2006
By C. M Mills - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Anthony Arthur has written a superb biography of Upton

Sinclair (1878-1968) whose long, colorful and controversial career in writing novels and in California politics takes the

reader through the twentieth century.

Sinclair was born to a fading southern family with aristocratic pretensions in Baltimore. His father died a drunk;

he was not close to his mother. Sinclair grew up in New York

graduating from CCNY and attending the Columbia Law School. As

an only child he was coddled at home. Sinclair was an eccentric

who always had self confidence in his amazing intellectual gifts.

Sinclair married Meta Fuller in 1900 with the union producing a son David (who later became a scientist) They lived in tents in Princeton where Sinclair labored on his novels and articles.

The couple divorced after they both had several affairs. The

lifestyle of the Sinclairs was bohemian with the young family living in communal situations as Helicote in New Jersey

and others.

Sinclair would wed two more times in his long life. His reputation is solidly based on his expose of the meat industry in 1906's "The Jungle" and the Lanny Budd novels beginning with

"World's End". Sinclair won a Pulitzer Prize. He was a friend of

such luminaries as Albert Einstein; Jack London; HG Welles and

George Bernard Shaw. He dabbled in film work getting to know Chalrie Chaplin and many other directors and actors.

Sinclair was arrested several times for marching in union

protests. He was high strung and a man who valued his privacy.

He wrote several novels in his career but is little known by

the general public in the twenty- first century. He is often

confused with Sinclair Lewis.

Sinclair was the Democratic candidate for governor in California in 1934 promoting his End Poverty in California

agenda (EPIC). He was defeated by big business and the moguls of


Upton Sinclair was an avid tennis player who enjoyed the outdoor life. He was tough, eccentric and blessed with a genius

for putting words on paper which the general public could comprehend.

This is a worthy biography for persons interested in American literature an history.
purchased for a reference book, but found it to be much more 14 May 2015
By C.Hamilton - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book if you want to learn more about this author and the impact his writing had on our lives.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
hopelessly biased 30 Mar. 2014
By maximilianus - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book endlessly praises Sinclair's socialism, blindly ignoring his soft spot for Stalin and propaganda in the service if Marxism. Author is taken with his subject.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Haven't read it yet. 6 Jun. 2013
By Robert Allen - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I haven't read this work yet - but have read books written by Upton - so I want to know more about the influences that shaped his orientation. Sinclair Lewis in "It Can't Happen Here" (written in 1935) presents a rather scathing cratique of Upton - and I want to know why - since both were contemporary authors of an interesting period within American History.
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