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Review: World’s End by Upton Sinclair

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About World’s End

The son of an American arms dealer and his mistress, Lanning “Lanny” Budd spends his first thirteen years in Europe, living at the center of his mother’s glamourous circle of friends on the French Riviera. In 1913, he enters a prestigious Swiss boarding school and befriends Rick, an English boy, and Kurt, a German. The three schoolmates are privileged, happy, and precocious—but their world is about to come to an abrupt and violent end.

When the gathering storm clouds of war finally burst, raining chaos and death over the continent, Lanny must put the innocence of youth behind him; his language skills and talent for decoding messages are in high demand. At his father’s side, he meets many important political and military figures, learns about the myriad causes of the conflict, and closely follows the First World War’s progress. When the bloody hostilities eventually conclude, Lanny joins the Paris Peace Conference as the assistant to a geographer asked by President Woodrow Wilson to redraw the map of Europe.

World’s End is the magnificent opening chapter of a monumental series that brings the first half of the twentieth century to vivid life. A thrilling mix of history, adventure, and romance, the Lanny Budd Novels are a testament to the breathtaking scope of Upton Sinclair’s vision and his singular talents as a storyteller.

My Review

Sinclair dishes out a huge chunk of history in this book, his layout is appealing and it describes more than any textbook. His vehicle to highlight events is the endearing protagonist Lanny Budd. Lanny is 14 years old in 1914 and as the story and events unfold Lanny becomes even more appealing as he enters adulthood through a trying time in history.

Lanny’s character is dramatized by his presence in nearly every major event or has the privilege meeting every notable figure of the time, however, this does not detract but rather creates a fascinating narrative with mystery, suspense, thrills. You can’t help but find yourself taken by Lanny.

If you’re interested in history but avoid nonfiction, you will completely enjoy Sinclair’s historical fiction masterpiece with the nonfiction well presented and researched. Not many know the real issue WWI was centered around – it was more than the assassination of Archduke Ferdindad, much more as traditional classroom textbooks fail to mention. Sinclair offers the opportunity to enjoy history in an easy to read manner through the eyes of impressive Lanny Budd. A wonderful prelude in an 11 book series.

Sinclair’s story is told from the Socialist perspective which adds an interesting spin creating an enthralling read.

About Upton Sinclair1450215048_upton_sinclair

Upton Sinclair (1878–1968) was a Pulitzer Prize–winning author, activist, and politician whose novel The Jungle (1906) led to the passage of the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act. Born into an impoverished family in Baltimore, Maryland, Sinclair entered City College of New York five days before his fourteenth birthday. He wrote dime novels and articles for pulp magazines to pay for his tuition, and continued his writing career as a graduate student at Columbia University. To research The Jungle, he spent seven weeks working undercover in Chicago’s meatpacking plants. The book received great critical and commercial success, and Sinclair used the proceeds to start a utopian community in New Jersey. In 1915, he moved to California, where he founded the state’s ACLU chapter and became an influential political figure, running for governor as the Democratic nominee in 1934. Sinclair wrote close to one hundred books during his lifetime, including Oil! (1927), the inspiration for the 2007 movie There Will Be Blood; Boston (1928), a documentary novel revolving around the Sacco and Vanzetti case; The Brass Check, a muckraking exposé of American journalism; and the eleven novels in the Pulitzer Prize–winning Lanny Budd series.

Published January 19th 2016 by Open Road Media (first published January 1st 1940)

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