The Lanny Budd series is written by a renowned American novelist and the greatest muckrakers of the 1900’s, Upton Sinclair. The series traces the history of Lanny Budd, the son of American arms manufacturer, Rubby Budd, and his beautiful mistress Beauty Budd. Sinclair portrays the protagonist to impinge in many ways on the world leaders of his time. He is placed within the most critical time of the world history, but most importantly the series covers in sequence the political events of the Western world, particularly Europe and the Unites States in the first half of the twentieth century. The narrative begins in 1913 and ends in 1947. Therefore, the reader is witness to the two world wars, of which the Lanny interacts with many of the seminal people of his time in the art and politics like the Isadora Dunkan, Giacomo Matteotti, Hitler, FDR, Hurst, Mussolini, Harry Hopkins, and many others.
Throughout, Lanny uses his art expertise, his excellent command of foreign languages and his Fathers’ manufacturing company as the cover, to do the impossible.
The series’ first novel the “Worlds’ End” was published immediately after the world war begun in Europe. The story covers events from 913 to 1919, the period before and after the World War I. In this novel, Lanny is a precocious teenager, in one of the renowned private boarding school in German taking music and dance lessons. When not in school, Lanny lives with his mother, the father’s former mistress, on French Riviera. His parents are divorced, which is why Lanny receives cosmopolitan upbringing leaving him well versed in different foreign languages. Just like many teens under his situation, Lanny is unable to find himself; he is unable to decide whether to follow his father’s family business footsteps or to draw a chart of his own. Most of the early chapter of the novel, Lanny spends most of his time traveling with his mother and her friends, until the world War I break out. The narrative follows Lanny, and his close friends through the World War I.
Although much of the chapters in this series revolve around Lanny’s adolescence, where he begins to consider the merits of socialism and capitalism, the plot, and all the characters are developed to reveal most world war historical facts and ideological tensions of the time. You can see how Lanny is troubled to know how his best friends are deeply involved in the opposite side of the major war. Sinclair has explained the epic account of the world history in a way every reader understands.
The second novel in the series “Between two worlds” was published in 1941, with the storyline covering the period from the year 1919 to the year 1929 following Lanny through his twenties into thirties. Many of the other characters from Worlds end are further developed in this second novel. The narratives deal with the World War I aftermath in the Europe with most important conferences happening during this time. One of the Lanny’s oldest friends Rick is a Journalist, which grants him access to some of the most important conferences. Lanny, who never stay out of politics goes along with him. His other friend who just like Rick was on the other side of the war is healing his wounds after the defeat of the war. The influence on both his friends makes Lanny’s political views drift to the left while the rest of the world is moving to the right. He continues to see the rise of fascism and Nazism and the systematic elimination of opposition to the Bolsheviks, which many around him perceive this opposition and movements to be good for business. In Italy, he finds himself becoming more and more involved with the socialist movements, where he witnessed the murder of one of the political leader in Italy, Matteotti by Mussolini’s Gangsters.
He continues to experience conflicting emotions between his pleasant life and the exploitations he sees with the rest of the world. He could see the spread of discontent working class in Europe to the rise of communism in Russia, where much of the lesson about such movements he learns comes from his uncle, Jesse.
Her mother Beauty tries to entice him to marry a million dollar American heiress, after the death of his French Ami, where he end up choosing the United States due to its booming economy, but he fails to predict the financial disasters afterward following his family and his marriage.
In the novel Between two world, Sinclair portrays Lanny as innocent, and intelligent young man. But the story seems to concentrate too much on the world affairs more than his social life. The ensemble cast is frequently changing, as Lanny sails all around Europe, to New York, but you cannot stop getting to know all the character and their social lives. The detail Sinclair puts on every event is astonishing. On every character he writes everything, from what he eats, wears, reads, listens to, which forms a vivid experience of the time of the writing, also forming a rich cast of unforgettable characters.
‘Between the world’ is one among the fascinating novels on the Lanny Budd series, with a spellbinding mix of adventure, romance, world history, and economy. This portrays Sinclair as one of the talented storyteller of his time, which justifies the prize he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1943, for the third Novel of the series, which captures the nightmarish march after the Second World War. The Lanny Budd series books were the best international sellers when they were published, but have become obscure. The series was optioned for television series in 1962. Although Sinclair several bids for political office were often successful, he was termed as the best author of his time, because of his consistency in excellent writing and characterizations and the feels he gave to historical events around his many other novels. Many other renowned authors regarded him not just a great novelist, but more of a historian. Most of the characters in his books are said not to exist, but in a way they did, just that Upton Sinclair individualized and expressed in a better way. The journey of reading the epic accounts of the world history in a narrative form is something one would not want to miss.Book Series In Order » Characters » Lanny Budd