Sunday, May 11, 2014

Oil! - Upton Sinclair

I've been cleaning off my bookshelves, part of my "2014 in 2014" goal to get rid of 2014 things from my life in 2014.

This book was the basis for the movie, "There Will Be Blood" which I didn't watch bu made me pick up the book.  It was published in 1926 as a scathing criticism and thinly veiled commentary on the corruption of government and abuse of power by the big oil companies of California that led to the Teapot Dome scandal during the Harding administration.  The story is told from the perspective of the privileged son of one of the oil company owners, nicknamed Bunny.  He's a naive, idealistic, romantic innocent that has an inside seat to the wheeling and dealing of his father and his partners.  Farmers are cheated of their land rights, workers are exploited and politicians bought.  The news is manipulated to present only the story the owners wish to make known.

It's an astonishing parallel to politics today and the power of corporations in the lives of every citizen.  It also portrays the thinking about communism and socialism when it was emerging in the early 1900's as a political force.  I'm glad I read it.

Published:  1926  Read: April 2014  Genre: Fiction

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