Oil! a Novel by Upton Sinclair download pdf

Oil! a Novel by Upton Sinclair

Oil! a Novel by Upton Sinclair
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Pages: 533
ISBN: 0848823915
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Like many of the other reviewers here I also read this book after seeing There Will Be Blood. Enough has been said about the differences between the novel and the film, so there's no need for me to chime in on that topic.Sinclair definitely knows how to tell a story. The opening pages narrating Bunny's and "Dad's" high-speed drive through the hills of California en route to an oil lease signing, grabbed me and kept me turning the pages. It wasn't until about half to three quarters of the way through the novel that the narrative turned more towards a debate between socialism and communism, with some sprinklings of narrative that echoed the feel of the first half of the novel. Overall I enjoyed it and have recommended it to several of my friends who still believe in reading books.A couple of my impressions of the novel:While the oil industry and associated government corruption were portrayed in a damning light, I was surprised at how the majority of the main characters were portrayed in a balanced, human way - except for one particular character, I felt no one was portrayed as an extreme angel or villain. Being a muckraker, I had expected Sinclair to portray "Dad" as a sinister fat cat oil baron, rather than someone who was taking actions simply because that's how things were done in the oil industry, whether he agreed with them or not. In fact, Dad is the little guy who is - to a large extent - at the mercy of the large oil concerns who are really setting the rules of the game.The latter half of the book gets bogged down in what seems to be a comparison between socialism and communism. Although propaganda at the time was trying to paint him as a communist, it seemed to me that he was more firmly planted in the socialist camp, though not 100% committed (despite his real-life work with the Socialist Party). He constantly brings up the violent aspects of he Bolshevik movement in the States and in Europe, but never to the degree of total condemnation. Bunny's constant inner conflict over which camp was the "right one" for him, left me with the strong impression that this inner conflict was a direct mirror of Sinclair's frame of mind at the time, and writing this section of the book was his way of weighing both ideologies and working things out for himself. This novel paired with Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged would create a great opportunity for discussion in a lit. course or book group.

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