Muckrakers wrote books for the same reason that they wrote articles for magazines: to expose the social injustices of contemporary American society and alert the public of the need for change. Henry Demarest Lloyd was one of the first muckrakers and in 1894, turned a series of investigative articles that he had written for the Atlantic Monthly about the corruption of the Standard Oil Company into a book titled Wealth Against Commonwealth. Thorstein Veblen was also an early muckraker who authored The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), a book that attacked the growing gap between the rich and the poor in American society. In 1890, Jacob Riis published How the Other Half Lives, a striking portrayal of the raw poverty of New York slums. Lincoln Steffens wrote The Shame of the Cities (1904) in order to expose the political corruption that characterized big cities.
"The repeating [voting more than once] is done boldly, for the machine controls the election officers, often choosing them from among the fraudulent names; and when no one appears to serve, assigning the heeler [political hanger-on] ready for the expected vacancy. The police are forbidden by law to stand within thirty feet of the polls, but they are at the [ballot] box and they are there to see that the machine's orders are obeyed and that repeaters whom they help to furnish are permitted to vote without "intimidation" on the names they, the police, have supplied..."- Steffens, The Shame of the Cities
Muckraking novelists included Theodore Dreiser, whose novels The Financier (1912) and The Titan (1914) attacked the avarice of industrialists. Frank Norris, author of The Octopus (1901) and The Pit (1903), targeted the railroad monopoly and grain speculation, respectively. Ray Stannard Baker exposed the extent of African American oppression in Following the Color Line (1908), while John Spargo attacked child labor abuses in coal mines in The Bitter Cry of the Children (1906). One piece of muckraking literature that had clear consequences was Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906), an exposition of the conditions in Chicago meat-packing plants. Though Sinclair's motive was to inspire socialism in the United States by turning Americans against the current government, the result of his book was the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.
"As an extreme example of the entire disregard on the part of employees of any notion to cleanliness in the handling dressed meat, we saw a hog that had just been killed, cleaned, washed, and started on its way to the cooling room fall from the sliding rail to a dirty wooden floor and slide part way into a filthy men's privy. It was picked up by two employees, placed upon a truck, carried into the cooling room and hung up with other carcasses, no effort being made to clean it..." - Sinclair, The Jungle