Home > Uncategorized > Upton Sinclair: What it costs a woman to keep the world at war

Upton Sinclair: What it costs a woman to keep the world at war


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Upton Sinclair: How wars start, how they can be prevented

Upton Sinclair: The lost people are those who go to be shot, killed in big war (Dante through Vanzetti)

Upton Sinclair: War’s one-sided boost to the economy

Upton Sinclair: World war as a business enterprise


Upton Sinclair
From Boston (1928)


There came days when the trip to her work and back again were infernal experiences, recalling those regions of Dante where the lost souls are frozen solid in ice. But in the great poet’s story it is possible to see the damned, while here they stumbled through pitch darkness, at half past six in the morning and the same hour in the evening. Cornelia would get her coat buttoned tight over a sweater and the family would pin her shawl over her head and ears, leaving just a peep-hole for the eyes and nose. Then with her hands in her mittens, and these tucked under her shawl, she would start the long journey, with Brini’s big hand grasping her under the arm. They would go staggering through snow-drifts, sliding on the ice and packed sleet; her hands would be half frozen, yet she would have to jerk them out to catch Brini and keep from breaking her bones. The pitiless winds would howl and buffer her and stab through her clumsy garments: the whirling snow would blind her – yet there was not much danger of getting lost, there being a stream of bundled figures plodding to the same goal. In was January of 1916, and out across the storm-lashed ocean the ships were being sunk, so there must be more cordage to keep the world at war. Any woman who failed to complete the journey twelve times per week would not have her pay-envelope with the six dollars on Thursday night…

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