Sep 22 2014

Upton Sinclair: California Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual

Feature Stories,Featured Book | Published 22 Sep 2014, 11:51 am | Comments Off on Upton Sinclair: California Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual -

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Saturday, September 20th would have been Upton Sinclair’s 136th birthday. The widely acclaimed author died at the age of 90 in 1968, leaving a legacy most notably marked by his 1906 book, The Jungle.

Sinclair published his highly controversial novel at the young age of 25, and with it, he ushered in a golden era of American muckraking investigative journalism. The Jungle focused on the lives of immigrants in the industrialized United States, at the turn of the 20th century, and covered some of the most important issues of the time – which still plague us today – from food safety, to poverty, to the corruption of capitalism.

However, his career did not end with that famous publication. He produced nearly 80 more books in his lifetime, and was active in the political, economic, and cultural spheres of his time. A filmmaker, playwright, political activist, socialist, feminist, and innovator, Sinclair was far more influential in his life than most people today realize.

A new biography, Upton Sinclair: California Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual, by Lauren Coodley, explores the full scope of his influential life, with a unique feminist perspective that has been omitted in previous biographies. Coodley counts as Sinclair’s “intellectual heirs,” people like Barbara Ehrenreich, Mike Davis, Alice Walker, Michael Moore, and Naomi Klein.

GUEST: Lauren Coodley has taught women’s studies and psychology at Napa Valley College. She is the author of Napa Valley Chronicles, and of course Upton Sinclair: California Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual which has just been published by University of Nebraska Press

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