The 42nd Parallel
he had confidence in railroads,
he had confidence in communications,
he had confidence in transportation,
he believed in iron.
Andrew Carnegie believed in iron, built bridges Bessemer plants blast furnaces rolling mills;
Andrew Carnegie believed in oil;
Andrew Carnegie believed in steel;
always saved his money
whenever he had a million dollars he invested it.
Andrew Carnegie became the richest man in the world
John Dos Passos has a sharp mind and a sharp eye so he is capable to penetrate into the innermost depths of human psyche. And he knows the ways of life inside out.
The only man that gets anything out of capitalism is a crook, and he gets to be a millionaire in short order…
The world of contrasts: success and failure, the poor and the rich, the unlucky many against the lucky few, or is history a battl ...more
The U.S.A. Trilogy is a series of three novels by American writer John Dos Passos, comprising the novels The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932) and The Big Money (1936).
The books were first published together in a volume titled U.S.A. by Harcourt Brace in January 1938. The trilogy employs an experimental technique, incorporating four narrative modes, fictional narratives telling the life stories of twelve characters, collage ...more
I need to qualify my upcoming bold statement with two disclaimers. First off, I'm already on record as being underwhelmed by the hallowed novel I'm about to mention in my forthcoming bold statement. Second, The 42nd Parallel is only the first part of a three volume trilogy that should probably be considered as a whole, and I have only read this volume. But what's the point of writing these reviews if your not going to bring strong opinions. So despite the aforesaid reservations, here it goes: wh...more
The characters were neither memorable or likable , which is a poor way to begin a trilogy . So given that I am no longer tied to a required reading list , I'll accept #1 as emblematic of the whole . ...more
Each chapter is titled with a character's name and each evolves, through their own eyes, and when paths cross, through others. Most characters are carried onto the other books. Supposedly the books can be read on their own, but I ...more
The 42nd Parallel is unique and groundbreaking in that, for its time, it found new and interesting ways to bore its reader to tears. First, it relentlessly bludgeons its reader with its annoyingly liberal usage of free indirect speech. Rather than giving its characters voice and motion, The 42nd Parallel prides itself on summary, exposition, and trading off engagement for its crappy style. Second, it ...more
Manic, vibrant, socially conscious, epic, crowded, busy, sweaty, angry, clear-eyed idealism, rowdy, tragic, subjective, objective, infinitely small, buzzing, slashing, eponymous, snide, pathos, scattershot, fecund, inspirational, landmark, surging, colorful, explosive, magnificent.
I'm almost holding back on the next two installments since I don't want to be dissapointed. This one's a corker.
The first two pages is some of the greatest prose I've ever laid eyes on. What I hope will be my life's ph ...more
First, as an introduction to Dos Passos, who – if you are anything like I was until recently (and only because of my book list obsession) – you have never heard of, some quotes:
“[He’s:] the greatest living writer of our time.” -Jean Paul Sartre, 1938
“Dos Passos came nearer than any of us to writing the Great American Novel, and it’s entirely possible he succeeded. I can only say, from my own point of view, that no novel I read while in college stimulated m ...more
This experimental novel set in the early 1900s before the Market Crash is a mash-up of random radio broadcasts of news headlines and lyrics, biographical blurbs on significant figures, and the aimless autobiographical gibberings of a literary sadist.
It reminded me how my admiration for an artist with the courage to spend years on daring innovations has no true relation to my appreciation (or not) for the end product.
I keep going back to the same question, which arises from m ...more
So I was shocked when I dusted it off, and cracked open ...more
I liked this book a lot, it makes me want to read more from the period... except I think I may have already read some stories from this period! Which would suggest that this book is better than those other books I read and forgot.
This book tells a story that is very broad - in geography for one, there are characters that in their ...more
I wanted to like this book, it seemed like it would be loved when it was added of my list of authors to read. I am still not sure what I think. There are style factors in the book that I think are genius, but it is so clouded in the male-hood of his generation that I have a bitter tas ...more
Audio wasn’t the way to exper ...more
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He received a first-class education at The Choate School, in Connecticut, in 1907, under the name John Roderigo Madison. Later, he traveled with his tutor on a tour through France, England, Italy, Greece and the Middle East to study classical art, architecture and literature.
In 1912 he attended Harvard University and, after graduating in ...more