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The Big Money

(The U.S.A. Trilogy #3)

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,404 ratings  ·  158 reviews
THE BIG MONEY completes John Dos Passos's three-volume "fable of America's materialistic success and moral decline" (American Heritage) and marks the end of "one of the most ambitious projects that an American novelist has ever undertaken" (Time). Here we come back to America after the war and find a nation on the upswing. Industrialism booms. The stock market surges. Lind ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published May 25th 2000 by Mariner Books (first published 1936)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  2,404 ratings  ·  158 reviews


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Vit Babenco
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“At Versailles allies and enemies, magnates, generals, flunkey politicians were slamming the shutters against the storm, against the new, against hope. It was suddenly clear for a second in the thundering glare what war was about, what peace was about.”
The war is over. And the rich grew richer and the poor went poorer…
“In America, in Europe, the old men won. The bankers in their offices took a deep breath, the bediamonded old ladies of the leisure class went back to clipping their coupons in the
...more
Matthew
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure that the essences of each individual novel are worth anything, but rather, the "novel" as a whole, by that I mean, as a trilogy. My review of the trilogy is here.

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Clare
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A classic for a reason. This book (the entire trilogy really) is great writing, great history, and an excellent reminder that there really is nothing new under the sun. The lives of the characters and the times they live in (political unrest, class struggle, get rich quick schemes, war, xenophobia, etc) ring true today. The slang, however, has changed. So yes it's a little dated, but timeless at its core. Loved it. ...more
Emily
Jun 30, 2010 added it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Do you ever start a series, and you're really digging it and read the first few books right in a row, and then decide you don't feel like reading the last book right at the moment, so you take a bit of a break, sure that you'll be back to finish up the series before any time at all because you like it so well, but then one thing leads to another and years have gone by since you devoured the first few books, and the details are no longer clear in your mind, so you put off reading the last book be ...more
Marc Gerstein
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
I think “The Big Money” is the best of the “U.S.A.” trilogy (which includes “The 42nd Parallel” and “1919”). I’m not sure if that’s because of the book itself or because of the way reading it with recollection of the prior (which I read in succession just before it) pulls the entire work together.

Essentially, this is the great American epic; “U.S.A.” is actually a perfect overall title. It is, quite literally, the story of life in the USA. It focuses on three decades, the 1900s, the 1910s, and
...more
Mike
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad I finally got to read DosPassos. There's not much I can say about "The Big Money" (volume 3 of the USA trilogy) that hasn't already been said by all sorts of people much smarter than me, over the past several decades. In "The Big Money" DosPassos captures the spirit of a generation- the "lost generation"- as the lives of several characters intersect and intertwine in the years between the end of the First World War and the crash of 1929. Looking back from DosPassos' perspective at th ...more
Andy
Jun 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: lurid melodramatists
Recommended to Andy by: Tony Polar and Lyon Burke
Oy vey what a train wreck. The book was torn between Upton Sinclair power to the people proletariatisms and Harold Robbins potboiler men in power and their sins-type sensation. I had to occasionally check the cover to make sure I was still reading Dos Passos.
To be kind this is a Roaring Twenties "Valley of The Dolls" with Mary French as Anne Welles, Eveline Johnson as Jennifer North, and Margo Dowling as Neely O'Hara.
...more
Tom
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting but not very enjoyable read. I didn’t really feel like there was any one main character in the book, and while the plot follows characters like Charley and Margo the most, the collage of newspaper headings, brief introductions to numerous famous Americans of the era, song snippets, etc., left me with the impression that it is meant to be AMERICA’s story, more than that of any particular American. Or more specifically, the post-WWI to pre-stock market crash America.

The 20’s are an
...more
Jerjonji
Jun 19, 2008 added it
Shelves: the-classics
I was barely 13 and reading the headiest book I’d ever encountered: John Dos Passos’ trilogy, USA. Over 1200 pages long, I discovered an America I never knew existed, an America hidden from the children of the Cold War, not in our history books or bedtime stories, and I fell in love with the spirit of Socialism. I longed for a copy, a real paper copy of the Worker. I read Marx and understood little. I believed firmly in the power of the labor unions though I’d never met a union worker. I moaned ...more
Josh
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Big Money, the final third of Dos Passos' ambitious U.S.A. Trilogy, is every bit as strong as the first two books, The 42nd Parallel and 1919. I'm probably doing Dos Passos a disservice by calling his trilogy ambitious. The word doesn't have enough sweep to effectively describe what Dos Passos did with these three books, which is to tell the story of the United States during the first three decades of the 20th century, its technological advancements, and what Dos Passos saw as its moral decl ...more
P
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Re The USA Trilogy. I found this plotless depiction of Dos Passo's fictional characters set during the 1st three decades of the 20th century to be fascinating. The author reveals everyday people of almost all stripes, during a time of momentous change in the country as well as the world, and shows how they simply cope with their lives, and how they try to make it in an America that was full of opportunity, but yet, still full of the vicissitudes life always presents - the inevitable disappointme ...more
Lostinanovel
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
I think the best of the three in the USA trilogy, although I may have just gotten used to the style. The four different writing styles, or viewpoints, help paint the picture of the era. The newsreels, the stream of consciousness, the narrative fiction and camera eye all are a bit different but add to the panorama Dos Passos is painting of the era. Sometimes I would have to remember that this wasn’t a recently written work attempting to imagine the “old days”. Dos Passos was writing about his cur ...more
Cosmic Arcata
This book pulled together all the big players and the big events. I have to say that I wanted a little more earth shattering event around the stock market. But I learned about a lot of people and attitudes that were happening during this time.


I would like to remind puerile that the author was a socialist. But he also changed his position on that! I think that is important, because names can be so divisive.


I think some follow up links or people:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scien...
https://en.
...more
keatssycamore
This book gets a one star improvement over the second entry in the trilogy just because I like the darker turn/tone it takes. Dos Passos still has no clue about how to write a woman character but at least as he's gotten older he's become more bitter about them and the motives he suspects in them. This leads him to allow the women to do some of the same kind of using that had been done to them by feckless men in the first two books. So I guess you could say a certain kind of shabby equality of th ...more
Tuck
Apr 18, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
scratch that. i found this book on the sidewalk and impulsively took it. but i have the novel with all 3 novels in it 1 "the 42nd parallel" 2. "nineteen nineteen" and 3 "the big money" (this one). so going with usa for a 3 for 1 bang buck deal. so there. ...more
Geoffrey
May 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fortunately, I think the third volume really bounced back. Margo Dowling is a great character, and so is Mary French. Dos Passos' women really do tend to be better than his men, don't they? ...more
Illiterate
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Dos Passos concludes his portrait of modernity with its breathless activity and discordant cacophony.
Joel
Jan 26, 2018 added it
I would rank and compare this (and the whole series) with the much more widely read Grapes of Wrath. Both convey a mind-numbing sadness and make you really ache in your heart for the miserable lives and broken dreams of these characters.

I would never have made it in early 20th century America. The world was so much more harsh. Endless hours of back-breaking labor in unsafe working conditions and still no money to live on drove the men to drunkenness. They beat their women, abandoned their childr
...more
Larry Bassett
I have to wonder what this trilogy would’ve seemed like to readers when it was published in the 1930s. Even today in the 21st-century the writing seems very current but the message seems somewhat stale and meaningless.

Regrettably as far as I see, this final book in the trilogy focuses on the life of one person who is not very engaging to the reader. Mr. Anderson is an early flyer and engineer and inventor who gets in early on the age of air travel and makes a lot of money. His story is that of g
...more
Erica Clou
I'm not sure why I continued with the trilogy when I wasn't especially impressed with the first two books. I found them historically interesting mostly. I wasn't riveted by the writing. ...more
J. A.
Apr 11, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020
Again, the way Dos Passos busts conventions and weaves together disparate narratives is a marvel, and I'm so glad I took the time to get to know this trilogy. ...more
Chris
Dec 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
The Big Money is a very interesting and compelling novel that I'm glad to have read. It's actually the third book in the "USA Trilogy" following American culture through the first 3 decades of the 20th century (each novel covering one decade). The Big Money takes us through the 1920s.

The style is experimental and at times a little odd because of that. Had I not been reading this as part of a class or with some notes to help guide me, I'm certain I would have missed a lot of the nuances.

There are
...more
Joseph Durham
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Of the John dos Passos trilogy: The Big Money ( USA., #3 ) has the best characterization, and story lines. This is contains a wide range of personalities and conditions. In many ways, the passions and controversies of our time existed then as well. With his use of the Camera Eye and the Newsreel, he captures the kaleidoscope nature of the modern age. These chapters capture in print the powerful impact of media: film and newsreel. If written in our times John Dos Passos would have tried to captur ...more
Alex
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Charley Anderson: riffin' off that old Minnesotan drunk FSFitzgerald, that old Jay Gatsby-gangster as big as the Ritz.

Bureaucracy and rationalization kill the little guy, and probably the big guy's soul too. Here is the kernel of disgruntled individualism that lies in productive tension with Dos Passos's early leftism, something that later evolves into Dos Passos's later right-wing crazy libertarianism and McCarthyism. Leftisms can certainly romanticize the individual, the creator of value, the
...more
Jared T. Fischer
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
U.S.A. was one of my best reading experiences in American literature. All 3 volumes held my interest. The short bios of famous business innovators and the newsreels were fabulous and had the freedom of poetry. The character based sections worked like engrossing short stories and benefited from being progressively interconnected. The dialogue was fun and the presence of a beat-down revolutionary spirit throughout the volumes tied it all together. This series will stir up your working class rage a ...more
Owen
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"the law stares across the desk out of angry eyes his face reddens in splotches like a gobbler's neck with the strut of the power of submachine guns sawedoffshotguns teargas and vommitgas the power that can feed you or leave you to starve.

sits easy at his desk his back covered he feels strong behind him he feels the prosecutingattorney the judge an owner himself the political boss the minesuperintendent the board of directors the president of the utility the manipulator of the holdingcompany

he l
...more
Mike Moore
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It’s not accurate to say that Dos Passos brings things together in the final volume of his USA trilogy, but his vision is more compelling than in previous books and, with the benefit of them as prologue, his design becomes more clear. The title is apt for a book on corruption by a socialist, but Dos Passos is too subtle and introspective for his work to devolve into simple-minded tract. His sympathies are clear, but the complexities of the situation don’t escape him and there's no strident hero ...more
Jim Thomas
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2020
One of the most fascinating books I've read, being the last of Dos Passos's famous trilogy of U.S.A. The Camera Eye, The Newsreel and several characters some of which are real from our own history but most being somewhat superficial representations of all types of Americans and the view of our country from Dos Passos perspective at the time he saw it. I've read about how superficial the characters are but that was not his point. He was ambitiously striving to use these characters to tell, not th ...more
John
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
The U.S.A. Trilogy is a phenomenal series. The first two books are the strongest in my opinion, but The Big Money is still an excellent book. This one chronicles the lives of primarily four individuals--two from the previous books and two new ones. Dos Passos remains committed to following people in the lower, middle, and upper classes of society giving a unique insight into America in the 1920s.

Dos Passos again shows the ugly underbelly of America without reservation, yet his characters are sy
...more
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John Roderigo Dos Passos was an American novelist and artist.

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

Other books in the series

The U.S.A. Trilogy (3 books)
  • The 42nd Parallel (U.S.A., #1)
  • 1919 (U.S.A., #2)

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