Jonathan's Reviews > U.S.A., #1-3

U.S.A., #1-3 by John Dos Passos
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's review
Oct 11, 2007

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Together, the three novels represent a compelling character sketch of the United States during the first three decades of the 20th century, when America was awakening to its growing power and reveling in its seemingly endless prosperity. Dos Passos advances his episodic narrative through several meticulously drawn characters that span the gamut of Jazz Age archetypes: the flapper, the revolutionary, the industrialist, the speculator, etc. Dos Passos uses his characters’ intertwined lives to explore America’s dark side—its racial and economic inequalities; its sexual hypocrisies and double-standards; and its imperialistic ambitions. The books are rounded out with pointed biographical sketches of real-life figures from the era, and Dos Passos uses the “Newsreel” and often confusing “Camera Eye” sections to enhance the books’ historic perspective.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Matt (new)

Matt I've been wanting to read these but always chose something else to read instead.
Is it worth taking the time to read this trilogy? I am wondering because of your three star rating.
Take care,

Jonathan I think they are worth it. The characters are very well drawn; in fact, each book is more or less a series of character sketches, which are put into historic context with the "Newsreel" interludes. (These are essentially short biographies of real people and events, with Dos Passos' editorial comments thrown in.)

message 3: by Daniel (new)

Daniel a good review!

Geoff Can the argument be made that he invented the cut-up, before Burroughs? I think...maybe?

Jonathan My only exposure to Burroughs was "The Naked Lunch" and I remember far too little for me to discuss it intelligently. Or at all, for that matter.

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