Oil!

Introduction by Michael Tondre
Edited by Michael Tondre
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Paperback
$19.00 US
5.08"W x 7.67"H x 1.04"D  
On sale Apr 18, 2023 | 608 Pages | 978-0-14-313744-3
| Grades 9-12 + AP/IB
Upton Sinclair's searing indictment of fossil fuels that predicts our current warming planet while imagining a greener and more inclusive future

A Penguin Classic

Perhaps most well-known today as the inspiration for Paul Thomas Anderson’s film There Will Be Blood, Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil! burst into the literary limelight amid soaring petroleum profits and gaping inequalities in 1927. By turns an ardent family saga, scintillating potboiler, and anti-capitalist tirade, Oil! ranks among the most important critiques of fossil energy ever printed; and while anticipating how fossil fuels have shaped the dilemmas of our present, it also looks toward a greener, more inclusive, and altogether more livable world yet to come. This edition features a contextual introduction by Michael Tondre that illuminates the novel’s urgent timeliness in our warming world.
“You don’t have to be satisfied with America as you find it. You can change it,” wrote Upton Sinclair in 1962. He had spent his life doing just that through his writings and political activism. Born September 20, 1878, in Baltimore, Maryland, Sinclair began writing dime novels at the age of fifteen. By his death on November 25, 1968, he had completed more tan eighty books, twenty plays, and hundreds of articles dealing with virtually every social problem in the United States. He had helped establish the League for Industrial Democracy, gone to jail fighting for free speech a miner’s right, started the California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, and, almost won the governorship of that state by running on the platform “End Poverty in California.”

But Upton’s Sinclair’s fame rests on his muckraking novel The Jungle, a solidly research exposé of Chicago’s meatpacking industry. The public furor that followed it publication in 1906 led directly to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act later that year. Sinclair continued his attack on industrial evils and called for further reforms in The Metropolis (1908, The Moneychangers (1910), King Coal (1917, and Oil! (1927). His eleven-volume opus, Lanny Budd (1940-1953), dramatized world history from 1913 to1949. For the second novel in this series, Dragon’s Teeth (1942), he received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Throughout his life he remained a staunch Socialist and committed humanitarian, saying of his work “My efforts are to find out what is righteousness in the world, to live it, and try to help others to live it.” View titles by Upton Sinclair
“A classic tale of greed and corruption”—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation

“[Oil! is] probably his second best book and certainly his most readable.”—The New Yorker

“Anderson's film is a true American saga—one that rivals Giant and Citizen Kane in our popular lore as origin stories about how we came to be the people we are… Daniel Day-Lewis is at his brilliant best as the story's Daniel Plainview, a man whose humanity diminishes as his fortunes increase.”—Variety

About

Upton Sinclair's searing indictment of fossil fuels that predicts our current warming planet while imagining a greener and more inclusive future

A Penguin Classic

Perhaps most well-known today as the inspiration for Paul Thomas Anderson’s film There Will Be Blood, Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil! burst into the literary limelight amid soaring petroleum profits and gaping inequalities in 1927. By turns an ardent family saga, scintillating potboiler, and anti-capitalist tirade, Oil! ranks among the most important critiques of fossil energy ever printed; and while anticipating how fossil fuels have shaped the dilemmas of our present, it also looks toward a greener, more inclusive, and altogether more livable world yet to come. This edition features a contextual introduction by Michael Tondre that illuminates the novel’s urgent timeliness in our warming world.

Author

“You don’t have to be satisfied with America as you find it. You can change it,” wrote Upton Sinclair in 1962. He had spent his life doing just that through his writings and political activism. Born September 20, 1878, in Baltimore, Maryland, Sinclair began writing dime novels at the age of fifteen. By his death on November 25, 1968, he had completed more tan eighty books, twenty plays, and hundreds of articles dealing with virtually every social problem in the United States. He had helped establish the League for Industrial Democracy, gone to jail fighting for free speech a miner’s right, started the California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, and, almost won the governorship of that state by running on the platform “End Poverty in California.”

But Upton’s Sinclair’s fame rests on his muckraking novel The Jungle, a solidly research exposé of Chicago’s meatpacking industry. The public furor that followed it publication in 1906 led directly to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act later that year. Sinclair continued his attack on industrial evils and called for further reforms in The Metropolis (1908, The Moneychangers (1910), King Coal (1917, and Oil! (1927). His eleven-volume opus, Lanny Budd (1940-1953), dramatized world history from 1913 to1949. For the second novel in this series, Dragon’s Teeth (1942), he received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Throughout his life he remained a staunch Socialist and committed humanitarian, saying of his work “My efforts are to find out what is righteousness in the world, to live it, and try to help others to live it.” View titles by Upton Sinclair

Praise

“A classic tale of greed and corruption”—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation

“[Oil! is] probably his second best book and certainly his most readable.”—The New Yorker

“Anderson's film is a true American saga—one that rivals Giant and Citizen Kane in our popular lore as origin stories about how we came to be the people we are… Daniel Day-Lewis is at his brilliant best as the story's Daniel Plainview, a man whose humanity diminishes as his fortunes increase.”—Variety

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