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3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  28,206 Ratings  ·  1,659 Reviews
Published in 1975, Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century & the First World War. The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, NY, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerve ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 28th 1997 by Penguin USA (first published 1974)
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Paul Bryant
Nov 22, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Today I was thinking of the 101 reasons why I love books, the actual physical papery pagey spiney things with words all over them, and one of the reasons was that they're not machines. Everything i seem to have to do these days is with some kind of machine. At work, of course, chained to the pc - actually it's a laptop on a docking station with two screens, I wonder when they'll add me a third, and although I'm emailing and talking to people all day long (sexy voiced nurses from France and Argen ...more
"Patriotism was a reliable sentiment in the early 1900's. Teddy Roosevelt was President. The population customarily gathered in great numbers either out of doors for parades, public concerts, fish fries, political picnics, social outings, or indoors in meeting halls, vaudeville theatres, operas, ballrooms."

This relatively short novel is jam-packed with a myriad of characters – some fictional and some real-life individuals. It is a grand undertaking that introduces us to the events and people of
داستانى به شدت لذت بخش، به طورى كه دو روزه با ولع خوندم و تمومش كردم. با ترجمه ى دلنشين نجف دريابندرى.

دكتروف و ماركز
عنصرى كه داستان رو بسيار دلچسب مى كرد، شيوه ى دكتروف بود در روايت كه مكرراً من رو به ياد گابریل گارسیا ماركز مى انداخت. خلق يه دنياى پر از آدم، كه هر كدوم داستانى پر ماجرا دارن كه تلفيقى از واقعيت تاريخى و افسانه است، و دوربين روايت مدام از روى يكى روى ديگرى ميره.
نثر هم من رو به ياد ماركز مى انداخت: نثرى پر نشاط و در نهايت ايجاز كه بيشتر به واقعيات عينى مى پردازه، به جاى غرق شدن د
Sep 23, 2016 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2016

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Sep 22, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometime early in his career E.L. Doctorow figured out a great formula for historical fiction. He takes real life iconic figures from whatever era he’s covering and has them interact in believable ways with his fictional characters. It makes for a “show, don’t tell” scenario that brings history alive. With Ragtime, we get to peek inside the heads of Houdini, Freud, J.P. Morgan, Emma Goldman, Henry Ford and others. In the process, we learn the issues of the day and get an authentic feel for the s ...more
Mar 14, 2016 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
― E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime


So my first book of 2014 isn't even on my to-read list. Must be good. Yes, in fact it is the killer historical novel of the Ragtime era. It is the big uncle to late 90s Philip Roth ('I Married a Communist', 'American Pastoral') , Don DeLillo ('Libra', 'Underworld'), Gore Vidal ('Empire, Hollywood') & Norman Mailer* (Executioner's Song & H
Ragtime is a historical fiction with a heavy focus on the history. Large stretches of the novel are narrative digressions on contemporary figures ranging from Houdini and Emma Goldman to Freud, Ford, and Morgan, but also a look at the farce of race and justice with a heavy homage from Michael Kohlhaas.

Doctorow wants to create here an authentic yet critical look at the transformation of the United States at this time, and he does so with a choking degree of irony. If I'll quote sentences from th
Jun 14, 2014 Agnieszka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2013, reviewed

And though the newspapers called the shooting the Crime of the Century, Goldman knew it was only 1906 and there were ninety-four years to go.

Ragtime is a colourful patchwork - like picture of America in the early XX century, when …Patriotism was a reliable sentiment…Everyone wore white in summer…There were no Negroes.There were no immigrants. It’s a story in which fates of fictitious heroes intertwine with authentic figures of epoch like magician Houdini, tycoons J.P.Morgan and Henry Ford,an ana
Sep 23, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A raging feeling I had during the first half of "Ragtime" was... oh-my-gawd, this may possibly become my favorite novel all year. Yeah. That overwhelmingly delicious feeling last year achieved during my "Where'd You Go Bernadette"/"The Godfather" double whammy was reproduced, until it, almost organically, chose to focus on a specific era in U.S. history! Ragtime is just so majestically beautiful, taking on the whole of America between 1903 and 1915, AKA the dawning of the 20th century, displayin ...more
Allie Riley
Apr 01, 2014 Allie Riley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just stunning. One of the best books I've read in a long time. Beautifully written and utterly engrossing, I didn't want it to end (which is one reason I took so long reading it). Very cleverly plotted and extremely atmospheric. The way Doctorow weaves together all the loose ends is masterful. His blending of fact and fiction works superbly well. A wonderful novel.
Apr 11, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-novels
Very enjoyable semi-historical novel set in America at the turn of the 2oth century.
The novel revolves around the fortunes of three families; a white family who are unnamed and referred to as father, mother and mother's younger brother, a jewish family and a black family. Their lives intersect in happy and tragic ways. Interspersed are real life characters such as Houdini, Peary,Ford, Morgan (JP), Emma Goldman and part of the fun is spotting the real life characters amongst the fictional.
Jan 05, 2008 rinabeana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This is a fantastic work of historical fiction. My (somewhat stricter than other people's) definition of historical fiction is a novel in which historical figures not only play a part, but interact with the fictional characters in the story. This novel delivered that in spades! I don't have a large amount of background on the historical figures in the novel, but I read up a little on them and it became clear to me how well Doctorow had fit his fictional characters into their lives. None of what ...more
Mohamad Yoosofi
Jan 07, 2016 Mohamad Yoosofi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: داستان
اساسیترین ترفند روایی این رمان، درهمآمیزی واقعیت بیرونی و شخصیتهای تاریخی است با واقعیتِ داستانی. فضای داستان از شخصیتهای جوراجور تاریخی و غیرتاریخی، اصلی و فرعی، سیاسی و غیرسیاسی آکنده و آشوبناک شده است. حادثههای تاریخی و تخیلی در این رمان آنچنان هنرمندانه در هم تنیده شدهاند که در پایان، در سرشت حقیقت تاریخی تردید افکنده میشود. شخصیتهایی چون پیر مورگان، هنری فورد، هری هودینی، اِما گُلدمن، هری کیتو، ایولین نسبیت و رابرت پیری کسانیاند که هویت تاریخی دارند و در این داستان نقشهایی ایفا کردهاند. در ...more
Amerika zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Einwanderer aus aller Herren Länder, die afroamerikanischen Nachfahren ehemaliger Sklaven und eine wohlhabende Oberschicht, die die ersteren beiden Gruppen nur mit scheinheiliger Faszination wahrnimmt – New York ist ein Schmelztiegel. Stellvertretend für die verschiedenen Bevölkerungsschichten lernen wir drei Familien kennen: eine wohlhabende weiße Familie, in New Rochelle ansässig, eine dreiköpfige jüdische Einwandererfamilie aus Osteuropa sowie Sarah, ei ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Bill rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Wildly Overrated (2013)

Doctorow, E.L. (1974). Ragtime. New York: Penguin.

This impressionistic portrait of New York in the early 1900’s has been widely praised as a “classic,” and has been made into a movie and a Broadway show. I can't understand the attraction.

The story is roughly centered on the life of an upper-class family in New York, but dozens of other sub-stories flare up and die down around them. A rich socialite who married for money defends her husband who killed her lover, a famous ar
Jenny (Reading Envy)
The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J. P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow’s imagined fa ...more
Jun 30, 2014 Chrissie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, hf, magic, audible, 2014-read
How to best describe this book so prospective readers will know whether they w like it or not? Look at the beginning lines of the book description: "An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century & the First World War. The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, NY." Tapestry is the word you want to pay attention to. When you look at a tapestry you see a lot of small details, but you don't get much deep understanding. You are present ...more
Nandakishore Varma
From Wikipedia:

Ragtime is not a "time" (meter) in the same sense that march time is 2/4 meter and waltz time is 3/4 meter; it is rather a musical genre that uses an effect that can be applied to any meter. The defining characteristic of ragtime music is a specific type of syncopation in which melodic accents occur between metrical beats. This results in a melody that seems to be avoiding some metrical beats of the accompaniment by emphasizing notes that either anticipate or follow the beat ("a r
This is one of the finest American historical novels yet written. Doctorow recreates the turbulent atmosphere of the early 20th Century through wonderful characters, both historical (including Emma Goldman, Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Henry Ford) and many memorable fictional characters, like Coalhouse Walker. The book is about America at a time of increased prosperity, great poverty, racial inequality, immigrant sacrifice, and the road to the First World War ...more
Apr 17, 2016 Panos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Πολύ ευχάριστο ανάγνωσμα. Αν και φαινομενικά απλό, "παίζει" με τις συμβάσεις του ιστορικού μυθιστορήματος.
Η ιστορία τοποθετείται στα πρώτα χρόνια του 20ου αι. στην Αμερική, πριν το ξέσπασμα του Α' Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, και η πλοκή περιστρέφεται γύρω από τρεις οικογένειες, μια γηγενών αστών, μια Ευρωπαίων μεταναστών και μια νέγρων. Στο μυθιστόρημα παρελαύνει πλήθος ιστορικών προσώπων (Φορντ, Μόργκαν, Φρόυντ, Έμμα Γκόλντμαν, Χουντίνι κ.α.) που αλληλεπιδρά με μυθοπλαστικούς χαρακτήρες, κάποιοι από το
Ally Armistead
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ahmad Sharabiani
335. Ragtime, E.L. Doctorow
عنوان: رگتایم؛ نویسنده: ای.ال. دکتروف؛ مترجم: نجف دریابندری؛ تهران، خوارزمی، 1384، در 280 ص؛ شابک: 9644870735؛ ادبیات آمریکا
این قطعه را تند ننوازید. هرگز درست نیست که رگتایم را تند بنوازند. نقل گفتاری از ادگار لارنس دکتروف نویسنده ی رگتایم، با ترجمه ی خوب نجف دریابندری، کتاب با ظاهری ساده آراسته است و البته فونتی دل آزار دارد. آمیزه ای از رویدادها و کنش شخصیت های واقعی و خیالی و ینگه دنیایی، افرادی چون هنری فورد و ...، آغاز رویدادها از اوایل قرن بیستم است تا پایان جنگ
This, my friends, is how you do historical fiction. I loved so many things about this novel: the omniscient narrator, the paraphrased dialogue, the minute details, the epic sweep. The plot seemed a bit contrived though, as if the author were trying to shoehorn as many historical figures as possible into his storyline. I couldn't quite believe that the characters would do what the author would have them do, even in instances where the fiction hews closely to fact.
Somayeh Pourtalari
داستانی جالب و بسیار خواندنی در لابلای تاریخ آمریکا در اوایل قرن بيستم .
دکتروف به طرز هنرمندانه اي واقعیت و خیال را در هم تنیده است .

Oct 24, 2015 Shima rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
«این قطعه را تند ننوازید، هرگز درست نیست رگتایم را تند بنوازند.»
داستان، پر ضربان، گسسته و پیوسته با ریتم تند و
دردآلود است، با جریان زندگی آدمهای تاریخی و آدمهای غیرتاریخی امریکا از اوایل قرن بیستم شروع میشود وبا پایان جنگ اول به پایان میرسد.
داستانهای مختلف به هم بافته میشوند و در نهایت همه به گونهای در ارتباط با خانواده قرار میگیرند.

تغییر تاته و دخترش خوب پرداخته شده بود به خاطر همین اتصال این دو داستان را از بقیه بیشتر دوست داشتم. چون غیرمنتظره بود.

چون احتمال اینکه بین این همه نخوانده، ک
I loved it - I was immediately taken by the almost dry writing style, in short sentences, and tricked by the style which seemed to suggest that real characters got proper names, while fictional one only a description (Mother, Father, Younger brother), until, that is, we find Sarah and Coalhouse Wilkie.
As a foreigner, I am sure I've missed a lot of hidden references, irony and mocking as my knowledge of American history in general, and of the time period covered in particular, is scant to say the
Joy H.
Re: _Ragtime_ by E.L. Doctorow

2/18/11 - I've finished reading this book. I have to say that I enjoyed the film more. The plotline with the Coalhouse Walker, Jr. character was diluted in the book because the book (as opposed to the film) included more characters and subplots. Much of the text was taken up with the blending of the fictitious characters with the true-life historical personages and historic events. Although it was interesting the way Doctorow wove the fiction and non-fiction togethe
Nov 09, 2015 Roya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
انگار که تاریخ چیزی جز آهنگی روی یک پیانوی کوکی نبود
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Jan 15, 2013 Elizabeth (Alaska) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 1001-books
This is the sort of historical novel I like. There were many real people with minor roles or cameo appearances - J.P Morgan and Henry Ford among them - used as a backdrop for unnamed fictional characters. The real story was the fictional characters. The major plot point rested on one Coalhouse Walker, Jr., for whom google returns only references to this novel. Perhaps real, perhaps not, and eventually I decided it didn't matter to me. The other major characters seemed composites and emblematic o ...more
Celeste Ng
The dust jacket on my copy read: "It is a novel so original, so full of imagination and subtle pleasure, that to describe it further would only dilute the pure joy of reading it. Turn to the first page. Begin. You will never have read anything like _Ragtime_ before. Nothing quite like it has ever been written before."

I thought this must be a huge exaggeration. Then I read the book. In fact it's completely the truth. It blends historical personages with central characters who are given no names b
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E. L. DOCTOROW’S works of fiction include Homer & Langley,The March, Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, the Book of Daniel, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, The Waterworks, and All the Time in the World. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, The Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, and the presidential ...more
More about E.L. Doctorow...

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“I am often asked the question How can the masses permit themselves to be exploited by the few. The answer is By being persuaded to identify with them.” 51 likes
“It was evident to him that the world composed and recomposed itself constantly in an endless process of dissatisfaction.” 39 likes
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