Upton Sinclair is one of America's best-known novelists, the author of The Jungle,
the notorious 1906 "muckracking" novel of social realism. While most people credit The Jungle
for exposing the horrible, unsanitary practices of America's meat-packing industry at the turn of the 19th century, the story spends far more time on the slum conditions and employer abuses heaped upon the immigrants who worked in the slaughterhouses and packing houses at that time. Sinclair wrote Jimmie Higgins
in response to the First World War. He broke with the main body of the American Socialist Party at that time, favoring U.S. involvement in WWI, because of the threat of German militarism. After the war, however, he opposed any interference to the developing Bolshevik regime in Moscow. The title character of Jimmie Higgins
enlists in the army and fights bravely, but is tortured into madness following the war, for espousing the same policies as did Sinclair himself. Upton Sinclair was one of America's most prolific writers -- by the time of his death in 1968, he had written and published millions of words, and dozens of books. Although some readers feel that the character of Jimmie Higgins
is not one of Sinclair's more convincing portrayals, the story of a war protestor and hero remains relevant today.