National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 46-48.


Sinclair, Upton.  World’s End.  New York: Viking, 1940.

Now known primarily for his muckraking fiction and journalism, in particular for his novel The Jungle, Upton Sinclair also produced a series of eleven espionage novels featuring an operative named Lanny Budd.  What is most unusual about the series is that Sinclair sought to chronicle systematically the political history of the Western democracies from the build-up to the First World War to the beginnings of the Cold War and that he chose to do so not through a political operator but through an intelligence operative.  This decision is rooted in Sinclair’s view of international politics as a covert as well as overt contest between democratic and totalitarian ideologies.  In his view, the titanic conflict between fascism and communism in mid-century served only to confuse the issue for democratic peoples, who felt compelled to support one totalitarian system over the other…

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