John Wilson of Books and Culture has an excellent article on the socialist American author Upton Sinclair in today’s edition of National Review Online.

Sinclair is best-known, of course, for his 1906 novel The Jungle which brought public attention to the unpleasant working conditions in the nation’s meat-packing industry.

Wilson’s article includes some things I hadn’t known or had forgotten, such as Sinclair’s authorship of three series of novels centered on adventure. Wilson provides a balanced view of the author and even includes a suitable moral to Sinclair’s story:

Unwieldy and imperfect as our democracy may be, Sinclair’s life testifies to the genius and robustness of the American polis. And impervious to irony as he often seemed, I suspect that Sinclair himself came to recognize his good fortune: to live and work for 90 years in a country that honored its principled critics instead of shooting them.