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1919: Volume Two of the U.S.A. Trilogy Paperback – Bargain Price, May 25, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

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"The single greatest novel any of us have written, yes, in this country in the last one hundred years." -- Norman Mailer

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Product Details

  • Series: U.S.A. Trilogy (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (May 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618056823
  • ASIN: B005IUIR2U
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,563,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on July 12, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first book of this series, 42nd parallel was simply amazing in the crosscutting technique mixing it up with news clippings and stream of consciousness rantings but in this book does Dos Passos finally find his real voice in his fury at "Mr Wilson's War". His hatred for the war crackles through every page, every sentence is filled with a fury that can't be described, he knows the war was wrong and he knows exactly why and with the patience of a master he sits there and points each of his ideas out and sets it before you and in the end you don't know what to do. The book is more intense than anything I've read before, pages just fly past as the character histories pile up, as the Newsreels and Camera Eyes (definitely at their best here, as he tells his own WWI experiences) flip past each other from one to the other with dizzying speed where you find yourself immsered in a world which you (probably) never knew. For once the workers rights stuff is pushed to the side, showing up mostly toward the end and the last fifty or so pages of the book are breathtakingly brilliant finally hitting the climax with the prosepoem "Body of an American" Dos Passos' own biography of the Unknown Soldier, standing for every American that died for his country without ever really know what he was dying for. The rage and the passion here alone makes it one of the best books of the century and a definite forgotten masterpiece, and coupled with his lyrical prose and sense of characterization you have something that is better than any history book, even if it makes no pretense of being objective and makes the reader think. Don't let this series be forgotten!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lonya VINE VOICE on April 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
Those words, written by John Dos Passos while serving as a Red Cross Ambulance Driver during the First World War, provide the underlying theme for "1919", Volume II of Dos Passos' "USA Trilogy".

Dos Passos is one of the (now) lesser known literary giants of the first half of the 20th-century. At the height of his fame in the 1930s he found himself on the same pedestal as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner. By the time Volume III (The Big Money) was released in 1936, Jean-Paul Sartre hailed him as "the greatest writer of our time". Edmund Wilson's review went so far as to claim that Dos Passos was "the first of our writers, with the possible exception of Mark Twain, who has successfully used colloquial American for a novel of the highest artistic seriousness." Dos Passos' literary reputation began to change during the Spanish Civil War. Dos Passos, along with Hemingway and many other literary figures including George Orwell, made his way to Spain to assist in the Republican cause. Like Orwell, Dos Passos was deeply affected by the brutal infighting amongst Republican supporters. In the case of Dos Passos he was deeply distressed by murder of a friend (anarchist and Johns Hopkins Professor Jose Robles) apparently executed by Stalinist cadres for his nonconforming radicalism. Hemingway mocked Dos Passos for his unmanly concern for his friend. Dos Passos reports that he told Hemingway that "the question I keep putting to myself is what's the use of fighting a war for civil liberties, if you destroy civil liberties in the process?" Hemingway replied "civil liberties, [__ _ _ ]. Are you with us or against us?" It is no surprise that Dos Passos' next book was criticized severely. The New Masses magazine referred to it as a "crude piece of Trotskyist agit-prop".
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William Whyte on September 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
1919 follows several more or less powerless Americans up to and through America's involvement in the war and beyond, as fate and their immediate desires push them around the globe. The novel may have a reputation for being experimental, but this arises more from its structure than its readability: long stretches of conventional narrative in a breezy, modern voice are broken up by biographies of significant figures (Roosevelt, Wilson and heroes of the US labor movement), by "Newsreel" collages of press reports, and (least successfully) by "The Camera Eye" -- an ongoing interior monologue of an unnamed extra character, separate from the main stories, also caught up in the horror of the war.

Dos Passos's writing is fluid, transparent, and saturated with detail; the detail is reminiscent of Sinclair Lewis, but the novel moves at ten times the pace, overwhelming itself with the desire to show you new things. In some ways it reminded me of Jonathan Franzen's "The Corrections" more than any contemporary novel in its ambition to say something about almost everything, to squeeze as much as possible in. The description of Cambridge, MA was so pitch-perfect that I believe utterly in his descriptions of everywhere else, Genoa and Paris and Liverpool and Buenos Aires.

The places are great; the incidents are great; what lets the novel down is the people. Almost all of the characters are well-intentioned but not self-aware, driven by impulse, smart and observant but passive and impotent. They seem to deliberately seek out experiences to distract themselves from serious thought about what's going on; even those who do engage end up unable to make a difference (like the Socialist agitator towards the end of the book, going to jail on his twenty-third birthday).
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