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1919 (U.S.A., #2)
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The 100 Best Novels > Week 58 - 1919 by John Dos Passos

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message 1: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments It's week 58 and the book of choice is 1919 by John Dos Passos which is the second book of his U.S.A. Trilogy.

Rather then quoting from the article I'd suggest reading it in full as it is really quite interesting.
You can find it here

It sounds to me that this is for readers who appreciate literature that considers form to be of equal importance to content and take pleasure in seeing someone taking bold formal choices.


message 2: by Chrissie (last edited Oct 27, 2014 11:12AM) (new)

Chrissie I have only read One Man's Initiation: 1917 by this author. It was good, it being a semi-autobiographical novella. The American author is writing of his own experiences as a volunteer ambulance driver in France during the First World War. The writing is disjointed and a scathing commentary of war. It is like a group of essays rather than one continuous story.


message 3: by Greg (last edited Oct 28, 2014 05:15AM) (new)

Greg | 7531 comments Mod
I read some of the U.S.A. trilogy. It was interesting stuff, but I couldn't make it through the whole thing. Very fragmented from what I recall as it has the ambitious (perhaps crazy) goal of telling the story of the entire USA.


message 4: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13223 comments Mod
No books by him either ...


Leslie | 15985 comments I read the U.S.A. trilogy in college and thought it was wonderful! I am not sure how this book would stand on its own.

This was very much of a book/trilogy about the working man and the wobblies(?) attempting to form unions. This was a very turbulent time in American history and there are not many books about the appeal and struggles of socialism had for many oppressed workers.


message 6: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7531 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "I read the U.S.A. trilogy in college and thought it was wonderful! I am not sure how this book would stand on its own.

This was very much of a book/trilogy about the working man an..."


Leslie, definitely it was trying to tell the story of US history from the bottom up as opposed to the top down. I don't remember it very well but I do remember some of the union parts and the section about the unknown soldier. A very ambitious trilogy!

Have you read Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow or Oil! by Upton Sinclair? Both of those books have a similar focus although they zero in on some different periods in history. I don't think those books tell the whole historical story, but I do like the fact that they tell a portion of the story that's often neglected. If you liked U.S.A., I think you might find one or both of those interesting, though perhaps you've read them already.


Leslie | 15985 comments Thanks Greg. Ragtime is already on my (very very long) TBR but not that Sinclair. I did like Sinclair's The Jungle (although I had to stop eating meat for a while!).


message 8: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7531 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "Thanks Greg. Ragtime is already on my (very very long) TBR but not that Sinclair. I did like Sinclair's The Jungle (although I had to stop eating meat for a while!)."

LOL Leslie, I can totally see that about the aversion to meat after reading it. :)


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