I recently began reading his 1927 Oil! and instantly fell in love.
I have never read anything by him before, but now I have a slate of his more than one hundred books that I'd like to read.
My first gleaning was that Sinclair died in the mid-1920s, but today I learned that he actually died in 1968 (oh, thw irony).
Thusly Sinclair went from being a useful idiot to a dangerous book.
Assuming he had died in the tender years of the Bolshevik Revolution, and that Oil! had been posthumously published, I gave Sinclair's unabashed Socialism a pass. "It was a simpler time; he didn't know any better; he hadn't seen what Solzhenitsyn had seen."
As it happens, he really did have the opportunity to know better, and he could have heeded the prophet Solzhenitsyn.
But, instead, he preferred to enjoy the benefits of his crony capitalist motherland (America) so that he could be an apologist for his dreamy Soviet heartland, whilst millions of Russians would have instantly traded places with Sinclair.
The upside of trudging through Sinclair's Leninist water-carrying in the midsection of Oil! is that I am now aware of America's audacious, largely unknown, but sadly predictable expeditionary intervention in Siberia near the end of WWI.
It is an ugly tale, penned with the ink of American soldiers' blood. It is also a tale of how oligarchic capitalism can be just as ruthless as the communism against which it is allegedly pitted.
Just because two stray dogs are fighting over the same bone, doesn't mean the older one is more to be trusted.
Capitalism and communism share one soul, animated by the spirit of secular internationalism. Essence is finality, which is to say that a thing's proper end is a thing's proper nature. As such, capitalism and communism partake of the same nature—namely, that of oligarchic material concentrationism (to coin a term).
Ask a capitalist what values besides the just distribution of money bespeak a healthy social order.
Now ask a communist the same thing.
You will get the same answers.
This is because neither ideology includes a conception of society that necessarily favors the nuclear family as the fundamental social unit and the well-being thereof as the primary social good.