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Novels, 1920-1925: One Man's Initiation: 1917, Three Soldiers, Manhattan Transfer (The Library of America) [Hardcover]

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Item description for Novels, 1920-1925: One Man's Initiation: 1917, Three Soldiers, Manhattan Transfer (The Library of America) by John Dos Passos & Townsend Ludington...

Includes the works that comprised the author's ground-breaking epic, written before his U.S.A. trilogy, featuring a kaleidoscopic portrait of New York City, the author's experiences as an ambulance driver in war-torn Paris, and the dehumanizing struggles of American servicemen in battle.

Publishers Description
Dos Passos drew upon his experiences as a volunteer ambulance driver serving near Verdun in writing One Man's Initiation: 1917 (1920), in which an idealistic young American learns of the fear, uncertainty, and camaraderie of war through his encounters with French soldiers and civilians. The unexpurgated text presented in this volume restores passages censored by the novel's original publisher. In Three Soldiers (1921) Dos Passos engaged in a deeper exploration of World War I and its psychological impact upon an increasingly fractured civilization. The novel depicts the experiences of Fuselli, a store clerk from San Francisco pathetically eager to win promotion; Chrisfield, an Indiana farmer who comes to hate Army discipline; and Andrews, an introspective aspiring composer from New York, as they fight in the final battles of the war and then confront a world in which an illusory peace offers little respite from the dehumanizing servility and regimentation of militarized life.
Dos Passos described Manhattan Transfer (1925), a kaleidoscopic portrait of New York City in the first two decades of the 20th century, as "utterly fantastic and New Yorkish." Drawing on the naturalism of Theodore Dreiser and the modernism of James Joyce, the novel follows the rising and falling fortunes of more than a dozen characters as they move through a bewildering maze of tenements and skyscrapers in which Wall Street speculators, theatrical celebrities, impoverished immigrants, and anarchist rebels all strive to make sense out of the chaos of modern urban existence.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   879
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5" Height: 8"
Weight:   1.28 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 15, 2003
Publisher   Library of America
ISBN  1931082391  
ISBN13  9781931082396  

Availability  0 units.

More About John Dos Passos & Townsend Ludington

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Dos Passos (1896-1970), a member of the Lost Generation, was the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction, including THREE SOLDIERS and MANHATTAN TRANSFER.

John Dos Passos was born in 1896 and died in 1970.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > American Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( D ) > Dos Passos, John
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Collections & Readers

Reviews - What do customers think about Novels, 1920-1925: One Man's Initiation: 1917, Three Soldiers, Manhattan Transfer (The Library of America)?

Pretty good  Feb 17, 2008
Fast shipping, the book itself was in great condition although the cover was a little more torn than I had expected! But still very satisfied!
WWI: New York to Paris  Jan 26, 2007
In this Library of America edition, there are three Dos Passos novels of varying length and subject matter. The first, One Man's Initiation: 1917, is a brief, semi-autobiographical account of the author's tour of duty in the ambulance corps of WWI. One thing holds true for all Dos Passos novels and this is his devotion to linear narrative at the expense of plot development. Dos Passos writes phenomenally well, his imagery exquisite, but one may often wonder to what point it is directed. In longer novels, character formation may be such that the lack of plot is less evident, but One Man's Intiation isn't long enough to create a diversion. Instead, it appears an arbitrary stream of events with little or no objective.

Three Soldiers, the next offering, is an extended example of the first. Again, it takes place during WWI and recounts the US Army experiences of, to no surprise, three soldiers. Here, once more, is a linear narrative devoid of plot, but Dos Passos' character formation and imagery are powerful enough to divert attention. Dos Passos can certainly evoke a time and place and expertly contrasts the desperate, chaotic trenches with the metropolitan flair and relative ease of Paris.

The best of the lot is saved for last in Manhattan Transfer, a novel of early 20th-century New York. The city and it's inhabitants are fertile ground for Dos Passos' talents and he presents here what I consider his finest effort. Still largely plotless, the author nevertheless admirably narrates the pre-war lives of twelve people interconnected in various ways. One readily experiences the sights and sounds of New York and retains a notion of city life as it must have been 90 years ago. Manhattan Transfer alone merits 5 stars, but the inclusion of the first two books lower the rating of this collection to 4. Regardless, I strongly recommend this reading experience to anyone interested in WWI-era American literature. Dos Passos may be different, may be a taste acquired, but he is undoubtedly worthy of our attention.
Best War Novel  Oct 10, 2003
Final Draft

Three Soldiers: Best War Novel

"How soons it take a feller to git out o'this camp", This quote in John Dos Passos Three Soldiers is typical for the soldiers for the soldiers of that time because, most of the men couldn't wait to charge into battle on the other side of the Atlantic. The authors main goal in the Three Soldiers is to show you what a soldier really goes through. John Dos Passos captures you in this novel how he shows you a soldier's life on the base and off. Also the different characteristics of the three soldiers, each one with a different back ground and each one going through the same struggles the brings to them. Even down to the languages the character uses told us the lifestyles for every day soldier.

Three Soldiers is about 3 men trapped in the world of war, Fuselli, Andrews, and Chrisfield. Each soldier took their own direction into the war. Each Soldier has their own purposes in the war whether it was to become a colonel or to be a war hero. John Dos Passos grabs the readers heart in this epic adventure each character faces.

Three Soldiers gets four stars due to the fact that the story is a bit confusing, as he jumps from the slang talk of the soldiers to the formal language of the colonels. The story takes place at a camp and moves on to the battlegrounds over sea. Each character had their own plot, Which is a great way to keep your attention, because three stories in one is always more interesting.

The setting jumps from the boring base to the treacherous battlefield. The setting is great because it emphasis's on the life of soldiers in that period. The blood and gore that is spread in the battlefield is such good imagery you thing your actually there. The sickness and the smell aboard the boat makes you gag by the use of diction John Dos Passos uses. John Dos Passos is no doubt one of the best with his words.

Also, the way the men speak to each other you could tell they weren't very educated, "you mean do I speak eyetalian, naw sir". The lieutenants speak the opposite with a more formal language, "Italian parentage, I presume? ". The language in this novel is somewhat confusing, because it's hard to read and try to understand what the soldiers are saying and get the story all in one.

The goal in this story for the characters is to get out of the war alive and to get the information back to the people in America about the brutality that goes on overseas. The goal they have to accomplish seems so impossible it grabs the reader's interest so strongly they won't be able to let go. The goals the characters face and defeat, make the novel unforgettable.

All in all, this novel is a great way to show how a soldier lives through a war. John Dos Passos is a great author of imagery and will capture the reader with the fear, love, and hatred these three soldiers go through. This novel could be by far the most realistic fiction novel written.


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