As Ronald Gottesman points out in this discerning introduction, Upton Sinclair was a passionate believer in the redemption of mankind through social reform. His expose of the interlocking corruption in American corporate and political life was a major literary event when it was published in 1906, and caused an almost immediate reform in pure-food legislation.
Despite almost a century separating two publications on the meat industry in the United States, the works of Upton Sinclair and Eric Schlosser contain eerily similar accounts in attempt to expose the dangers behind our food.
As a young man of 26 years, Sinclair spent seven weeks observing the daily lives of individuals who worked in the meat packing industry in Chicago’s Packingtown. Being from the South, an area torn by the Civil War, he hated poverty and its effects on humans.