Christopher's Reviews > Oil!

Oil! by Upton Sinclair
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's review
Dec 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: classics, fiction
Read in April, 2008 — I own a copy

This is a wonderful book on corruption and graft in the oil business and government of the early 20th century that is almost ruined a horrible ending. Before chapter XVIII, the book is great as we follow the main character, "Bunny" Ross, Jr., as he learns about the oil business and all of its corruption first hand from his father. We see Bunny struggle to convey truth to power, so to speak, and to stay good and honest in a world that is revealed to be more corrupt than the oil business itself. The narration is unique from most books I have read in that it is third person, but the narrator is both a part of and separate from the action, like someone telling a campfire story. Then after chapter XVIII, the story breaks down as Dad flees from investigations into the Teapot Dome scandal he has gotten himself into (despite the warnings of his son). Had the book ended more quickly, with Dad dying in America over a broken heart about his son's socialist stance and the investigations, if Vee, one of Bunny's girlfriends, made her exit from the stage sooner, allowing for Bunny and Rachel's romance more time to develop, and, especially, had the narration not turned from campfire story teller to an unabashed Socialist mouthpiece, I would have given this book five stars and made it one of my favorites. GOOD BUILD-UPS TO THE CLIMAX MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A GOOD ENDING!!!!
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