It is not too much to say that today no daily newspaper in any large American city dares to attack the emoluments of the Catholic Church, or to advocate restrictions upon the ecclesiastical machine.
-from "Holy History"
Few readers have not heard of Upton Sinclair's 1906 book The Jungle, his fictionalized account of Chicago's meatpacking industry, which set in motion dramatic social and governmental changes and highlighted the power of investigative journalism. But his 1918 book The Profits of Religion, a viciously witty censure of religious institutions in America, remains unjustly obscure.
Drolly but bitterly subtitled "an essay in economic interpretation," this potent book condemns religious leaders for taking advantage of the credulity and hopefulness of ordinary Americans to line their own pockets and amass political influence. Not merely a brilliant work of persuasive journalism, this is also a document of the idealistic socialism that lingered after World War I, when the triumph of the movement's ideal still seemed possible.
American writer UPTON SINCLAIR (1878-1968) was an active socialist and contributor to many socialist publications. His muckracking books include The Moneychangers (1908), King Coal (1917), Oil! (1927), and Boston (1928).