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Upton Sinclair Quotes


Upton Sinclair
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Upton Beall Sinclair
  • Born: 20th September 1878, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
  • Died: 25th November 1968, Bound Brook, New Jersey, U.S.
  • Occupation: Author and novelist
  • Alma mater: City College of New York and Columbia University
  • Marriage resume: Meta Fuller 1900 - 1912), Mary Craig Kimbrough 1913 - 1961 and Mary Elizabeth Willis 1961 - December 1967
  • Books: During his 90 years on the planet he authored 90 books
  • Genre: His novels served as social protest books giving life to his views on socialism including the eradication of poverty
  • Politics: He was a staunch socialist who also ran for the California governorship in 1934 as a Democrat
  • Major awards: His 1942 novel Dragon's Teeth was awarded the 1943 Pulitzer Prize for fiction
  • Height: 1.7m (5' 7")
  • Trivia: To pay for his education and help to support his family he wrote articles for magazines and dime novels for cheap paperback publication
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"Fascism is capitalism plus murder"

Upton Sinclair

"The supreme crime of the church to-day is that everywhere and in all its operations and influences it is on the side of sloth of mind; that it banishes brains, it sanctifies stupidity, it canonizes incompetence"

Upton Sinclair

"My cause is the cause of a man who has never yet been defeated, and whose whole being is one all-devouring, God-given holy purpose"

Upton Sinclair

I would enlist to that end, if ever there be a situation where I believe I could do more with my hands than I could with my pen"

Upton Sinclair

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it"

Upton Sinclair

"One of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption"

Upton Sinclair

"I assert that the difference between the ruling class of Germany and that of America is the difference between the seventeenth century and the twentieth"

Upton Sinclair

"All art is propaganda. It is universally and inescapably propaganda; sometimes unconsciously, but often deliberately, propaganda"

Upton Sinclair

"Journalism is one of the devices whereby industrial autocracy keeps its control over political democracy"

Upton Sinclair

"Man is an evasive beast, given to cultivating strange notions about himself"

Upton Sinclair

"I am not a giant physically; I shrink from pain and filth and vermin and foul air, like any other man of refinement"

Upton Sinclair

"I just put on what the lady says. I've been married three times, so I've had lots of supervision"

Upton Sinclair

"I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach"

Upton Sinclair

"What life means to me is to put the content of Shelley into the form of Zola"

Upton Sinclair

"The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label"

Upton Sinclair

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Upton Sinclair Biography

Upton Sinclair was the Pulitzer Prize winning author who drew his writing inspiration from social injustice and used his novels to highlight to the world how capitalism exploited the working classes feeding off the impoverished who were desperate to feed their families.



Sinclair started his writing career as a teenager by penning short story's and selling them into the dime novel industry. After leaving Columbia University he wrote 4 books in as many years and although they did not receive any negative press they were all commercially unsuccessful.

His 1906 novel "The Jungle" was a commercial success and went on to become a best seller even getting the attention of high ranking politicians such was the strength of the social injustice message it portrayed. Sinclair had spent several weeks incognito in a Chicago meat packing plant researching the poor conditions the workers were subjected to.

The novel resulted in legislation being passed in 1906 with the Pure Food and Drug Act which was a pre-cursor for the Food and Drug Administration to be created. At the time Upton Sinclair was quoted as saying of The Jungle: "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach".

In all he published around 90 books and both his library and collection of letters with multiple correspondents are now housed in the Lilly Library at Indiana University. Great authors are also good for one liners, so here is my compilation of 15 of the best Upton Sinclair quotes

Quotes About Upton Sinclair

The British writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle rated him highly: "I look upon Upton Sinclair as one of the greatest novelists in the world, the Zola of America"

George Bernard Shaw was impressed to say: "I have regarded you, not as a novelist, but as an historian; for it is my considered opinion, unshaken at 85, that records of fact are not history. They are only annals, which cannot become historical until the artist-poet-philosopher rescues them from the unintelligible chaos of their actual occurrence and arranges them in works of art"

Adam Cohen wrote these words in the New York Times 100 years on from 'The Jungle': "When “The Jungle” was published, the public reaction was instantaneous. Outraged readers deluged President Theodore Roosevelt with letters. Roosevelt was ambivalent, but he invited Sinclair to the White House for lunch, and promised to send his labor commissioner and assistant Treasury secretary to Chicago to investigate"

Mark Twain was one of the outraged: "and finally today’s lurid exposure, by Upton Sinclair, of the most titanic and death-dealing swindle of them all, the Beef Trust, an exposure which has moved the President to demand of a reluctant Congress a law which shall protect America and Europe from falling, in a mass, into the hands of a doctor and the undertaker

The satirist H. L. Mencken took aim at Sinclair's politics: "You protest, and with justice, each time Hitler jails an opponent; but you forget that Joseph Stalin and company have jailed and murdered a thousand times as many. It seems to me, and indeed the evidence is plain, that compared to the Moscow brigands and assassins, Hitler is hardly more than a common Ku Kluxer and Benito Mussolini almost a philanthropist


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