Oil!

Oil!

3.9 27
by Upton Sinclair
     
 

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In Oil! Upton Sinclair fashioned a novel out of the oil scandals of the Harding administration, providing in the process a detailed picture of the development of the oil industry in Southern California. Bribery of public officials, class warfare, and international rivalry over oil production are the context for Sinclair's story of a genial indepent oil developer and

Overview

In Oil! Upton Sinclair fashioned a novel out of the oil scandals of the Harding administration, providing in the process a detailed picture of the development of the oil industry in Southern California. Bribery of public officials, class warfare, and international rivalry over oil production are the context for Sinclair's story of a genial indepent oil developer and his son, whose sympathy with the oilfield workers and socialist organizers fuels a running debate with his father. Senators, small investors, oil magnates, a Hollywood film star, and a crusading evangelist people the pages of this lively novel.

Author Biography: Upton Sinclair (1878-1968), novelist and journalist, is best known for his novel about the Chicago meatpacking industry, The Jungle. A paperback edition of his I, Candidate for Governor is available from California. Jules Tygiel is the author of The Great Los Angeles Swindle: Oil, Stocks, and Scandal during the Roaring Twenties (paperback California, 1996) and The Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy. He is Professor of History at San Francisco StateUniversity.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Sinclair's 1927 novel did for California's oil industry what The Jungle did for Chicago's meat-packing factories. The plot follows the clash between an oil developer and his son. Typical of Sinclair, there are undertones here of socialism and sympathy for the common working stiff. Though the book is not out of print, this is the only paperback currently available.
From the Publisher
“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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520207271
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
04/30/1997
Series:
California Fiction Series
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
528
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.25(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“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

Meet the Author

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) was born in Baltimore. At age fifteen, he began writing a series of dime novels in order to pay for his education at the City College of New York. He was later accepted to do graduate work at Columbia, and while there he published a number of novels, including The Journal of Arthur Stirling (1903) and Manassas (1904). Sinclair’s breakthrough came in 1906 with the publication of The Jungle, a scathing indictment of the Chicago meat-packing industry. His later works include World’s End (1940), Dragon’s Teeth (1942), which won him a Pulitzer Prize, O Shepherd, Speak! (1949) and Another Pamela (1950).

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Oil 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
rmishou More than 1 year ago
Sinclair is best know for his novel The Jungle, a staple in American history and literature classes that shows the horrors of the immigrant experience in the meat packing industry of Chicago. Oil! is a novel that needs to be placed next to The Jungle in importance- the film There Will Be Blood will help with this. Sinclair follows his familiar formula: well drawn characters drawn in by the lure of riches. He sets a clear purpose by digging into the turn of the century oil industry and all of the manipulation and graft involved in it. He has excellent passages that describe the oil drilling process and some of the pitfalls involved. Yes, Sinclair jumps on his socialist soapbox and shows the exploitation of the workers and the need for unionization - no surprise. As much as The Jungle is known for the disgusting horrors of the meat packing plants, many forget the stronger message of the mistreatment and abuse of the working poor -same thing in Oil! The focus shifts to Bunny, Ross's son who could easily inherent his father's oil fields and millions of dollars. Instead he sympathizes with the workers who are underpaid but run the entire operations. He turns his back on the elite (even a Hollywood starlet) and dives into the world of protest and fighting American business. This is a strong novel written in a fashion that in no way hides Sinclair's intent. His intent is unabashedly obvious - to defend the working class - a socialist, yes, but solid writing. He offers logical (for the time) arguments that reflect a timely struggle that may yet exist. The film There Will Be Blood is loosely adapted from the novel. It takes a different focus in ignoring the socialist angle and focusing instead on the conflict with Eli's evangelical hypocrisy. Both the novel and film are must reads (views) but are, in essence, different pieces of literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Remember the first 10 pages of East Of Eden where you can feel the wind and smell the grass of the Salinas Valley? Reading Oil! will take you to Southern California and will drive you through the same feeling of being there. An amazing story about nature, politic, human behaviour... Tells you a lot about what America was in the 20's and still is today: the power of money, the corruption in politic, the lights of Hollywood. Oil! is a classic American novel.
Salvo85 29 days ago
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/oil-upton-sinclair/1009180899?ean=9780143112266#reviews-header
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arcade_veteran70 More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Mr. Ross Jr., a.k.a "Bunny", the son of a successful oil tycoon. Bunny is an impressionable idealist who, as a young man, falls under the spell of Paul Watkins. Paul is a mountain boy, not much older than Bunny. When Paul returns from Siberia, with horror stories of how the US Army was used to protect the interests of bankers, rather than protect freedom and liberty, Bunny's view of the World takes a wild swing to the Left. It's ironic that Bunny uses his father's oil money throughout the book to publish Socialist newspapers and bail organized workers out of jail. What I loved about this book is the realization that Big Money has been starting wars, raping foreign lands, exploiting blue collar workers, and just being professional thugs and thieves for as long as there's been currency and/or some form of money.
DSCHwins More than 1 year ago
A massive work of prolific proportions, Upton Sinclair's Oil! is a captivating read with surprises and shock-value not undermined by its length. The book is a handful - but that only increases your satisfaction when you are done. This is an important work for people to read, and I think that it is one which the history of American Literature has sold short and overlooked. Do not be daunted by the size of this book or its subject matter - both only serve to increase the value of the read. You will find that this book was the inspiration of the Oscar-winning picture There Will Be Blood. However, do not pick up this book with the movie in mind. They are very different, and the director has admitted to only including events from the first 150 of over 500 pages from the book. However, this book has its own value, and should not be tackled under the film's shadow. The characters are brilliant - some you will love and support the whole way despite their view points and opinions and actions . . . and some you will loathe till the very last page despite any "acts of kindness". This is a heavy book. It is about business and politics, corruption and the fight for innocence, labor and war. The journey of the main character and all of the other colorful people he interacts with is brilliantly told by Sinclair's mastery of language and voice. Sinclair sold this book. He was the reason I picked up the book in the first place, and he was what kept me reading it. Make no mistake: this is a major literary accomplishment. The length is not unnecessary. Sinclair uses every page to add to the book's drama and purpose. The book was very effective. If the whole of the book doesn't hit you hard enough, at least the very last chapter will more than assert the fact that human corruption and greed are truly the roots of all evil. If you like to feel accomplished when you finish reading a book, pick up Oil!, a forgotten American epic with a message that the whole world needs to hear. Five stars for Sinclair!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is different from the movie. It's also a lot better than the movie. If you love great prose and a great story, you'll love this novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was drawn to the book, after seeing the movie trailer for 'There will be blood.' I originally read 'The Jungle' years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly, so I decided to give this book a try, and was very impressed. Although I consider myself extremely conservative politically, I can cut throught the socialist propaganda in Sinclair's novels and still enjoy the well-written plots and memorable characters he is known for. The movie adaptation, on the other hand, is supremely disappointing, as it in no way follows the storyline of the novel 'Oil.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again we discover what a wonderul writer Upton Sinclair was. But without the movie we would never have Oil! out there to read again. It seems The Jungle is about all one can find in the bookstores. Bring back the Lanny Budd books!! That is some of the best World War II stuff around. Anyone remember DRAGON'S TEETH, the 1943 Pulitzer Prize winner?
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you`re looking to flesh out the back story of milkshake drinker extraordinare Daniel Plainview then dont bother with this one. Typical Sinclair socialist rhetoric. Those readers who came to this title after seeing the film might be better served to check out The Dark Side of Fortune by M. L. Davis. The subject of said book is one Ed. Doheny whose early life was the partial basis for P. T. Anderson's embodiment of the bowling pin slinging third revelation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is such a great book. Upton Sinclair, who was a great writer, is most famous for two books: 'The Jungle' and 'Oil.' This is a great book about greed, among other things.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply outstanding! A good book to read on the subject of greed and oil.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Years ago I read this book. The writer's perception on materialism and idealism in the daily life is gorgeous. The complexity of the things is given very simply. The only thing is to be taken to the consideration the age of the writer, that times were the severe period of the conflict between CCCP and Capitalism which is paused for a while.