I had never heard of Phillips. There may be good artistic reasons for his relative obscurity but there may be political reasons too. The ' muckrakers' were interested in creating a climate of opinion for social reform just as later American novelists were aiming to draw support to various left-wing positions. They must have made enemies in high places as those in high places were often their targets. The term 'muckraker' is definitely pejorative and makes them sound no more than shabby gutter journalists but the abuses they exposed were real enough and blighted lives. Sinclair is mentioned in the article as another of the group. Sinclair was a very good writer and had impeccable democratic credentials. He could tell a good yarn as well as make political points. Generally it is more satisfying for the reader of novels if the characterisation is well done but perhaps the writer on a mission spends more effort depicting society than the individual psychology so there may be truth in the criticism that Phillips was weak on that score. What an end! Why it's almost glamorous but for the fact that his attacker was mad. Poor Phillips. It is sometimes forgotten that America has a lot of worthy left-leaning writers to its name. Ben Traven, William Herrick, Edward Dahlberg, Howard Fast are four I reckon were good. Dahlberg particularly was highly literate and stylish. There are some I don't care for like the writer of 'Johnny Got His Gun' whom I consider a hypocrite.