King Coal is a 1917 novel by Upton Sinclair that describes the poor working conditions in the coal mining industry in the western United States during the 1910s, from the perspective of a single protagonist, Hal Warner. As in his earlier work, The Jungle, Sinclair uses the novel to express his socialist viewpoint. The book is based on the 1914-1915 Colorado coal strikes. The sequel to King Coal was posthumously published under the title, The Coal War.
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Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. (September 20, 1878 – November 25, 1968), was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He achieved popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, acquiring particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle (1906). It exposed conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry, causing a public uproar that contributed in part to the passage a few months later of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. In 1919, he published The Brass Check, a muckraking exposé of American journalism that publicized the issue of yellow journalism and the limitations of the “free press” in the United States. Four years after the initial publication of The Brass Check, the first code of ethics for journalists was created. Time magazine called him "a man with every gift except humor and silence." In 1943, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Sinclair also ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Socialist, and was the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of California in 1934, though his highly progressive campaign was defeated rather soundly.
''Sinclair's achievement was impressive . . . He saw through the lies of his era and exposed a world long hidden from view. He showed compassion for the weak and the poor, the powerless and the despised. He created images and characters that are poignant and memorable. He fueled anger at injustice. It is no fault of his that the old lies have lately been repeated, that important lessons have been forgotten, and that somehow we now find ourselves back in the jungle, with and odd feeling of deja vu.'' --Eric Schlosser, New York Times bestselling author of Fast Food Nation, praise for the author
''The Jungle. . .captures something essential about the American immigrant experience and the workings of a brutal industrial system. It transcends the specifics of one historical era and sadly remains relevant to our own.'' --Eric Schlosser, New York Times bestselling author, on The Jungle
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