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The Big Money: Volume Three of the U.S.A. Trilogy Paperback – May 25, 2000

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The Big Money: Volume Three of the U.S.A. Trilogy + 1919: Volume Two of the U.S.A. Trilogy + The 42nd Parallel: Volume One of the U.S.A. Trilogy
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Product Details

  • Series: U.S.A. Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st Mariner Books Ed edition (May 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618056831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618056835
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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

From the Publisher

13 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on May 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
So says John Dos Passos in `The Big Money", Volume III of his USA Trilogy. Just as Benjamin Disraeli saw two nations in mid-19th century Britain ("who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws...the rich and the poor"), John Dos Passos saw two nations in the United States in the roaring 1920s.

Dos Passos is one of the (sadly lesser known literary giants 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. The first two volumes of the USA Trilogy (42nd Parallel and 1919) were enormous successes. By the time "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. Hemingway's friends and most of the hard left literary community joined in. It is no surprise that Dos Passos' next book was criticized severely.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Arch Llewellyn on December 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Stacked up against other Lost Generation contemporaries like Hemingway or Fitzgerald, Dos Passos strikes a more minor key. His characters are unmemorable, his prose flat to the point of journalese, and his stabs at experiment, like the "Newsreels" interleafed between chapters, are so much chrome on some otherwise pretty conventional novelistic fenders.

But I think that limited scope is also a strength in his masterpiece, the USA Trilogy. With singleminded determination Dos Passos hammers together, scene by scene and newsreel by newsreel, a stark portrait of the Twenties as an era of greed, confusion, and above all a kind of free floating moral emptiness, a big, powerful, rudderless America cruising blithely on the froth of events. He shows you how the small guys get crushed without wallowing in a lot of sentiment about it, and how the fat cats alternately sleeken or decline into a sea of booze and betrayed ideals without resorting to cartoon stereotypes of `the Man'. You feel sorry for almost everyone on some level in this story, though Dos Passos keeps his lens distant enough to avoid pity, or the tragic glamour of a Jay Gatsby, in order to focus on the larger outlines of the postwar, post-Puritan world his specimens move in.

You don't need to read the preceding books in the Trilogy to enjoy The Big Money. It picks up the characters from the other two volumes, but the novel isn't really so much about these people as it is about the busts and bubbles that push them through history. It'll be hard to look at the Twenties as the colorful era of flappers, speakeasies, and the Charleston again after reading The Big Money; Dos Passos exposes the postwar malaise behind the excess in a way that brought to mind parallels with our own post 9/11 USA. I wonder who's our Dos Passos today? Maybe a filmmaker?
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bruce P. Barten on August 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
I initially read the entire trilogy, U. S. A. by John Dos Passos, as a soldier in Vietnam, in June and July of 1969. Reading the two earlier volumes on America's lofty aims and actual experiences in World War One and the economic boom which followed it in the United States helped me try to imagine what my life would be like, as I faced growing old in a country which increasingly depended upon its global dominance for its style of life. Volume 3, THE BIG MONEY, ended this gigantic series with a political point of view that stuck with me more than any of the fictional parts of this novel. A look at the Contents in the sample pages gives some indication of the other tidbits in this trilogy, Newsreels, popular songs, and short bioographies, which make the composition of this trilogy unique.
Of the biographies, I would consider "The Bitter Drink" on Veblen the most intellectual item in THE BIG MONEY, and my best introduction to how Socrates ended up drinking the hemlock. Most biographies were about people who were so famous that they might still be remembered. "Tin Lizzie" is a life of Henry Ford. "Poor Little Rich Boy" was William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper owner whose father died in Washington, a senator, but who was only elected to the House of Representatives, where he justified his politics with, "you know where I stand on personal fortunes, but isn't it better that I should represent in this country the dissatisfied than have somebody else do it who might not have the same real property relations that I have?" However familiar this might sound today, Dos Passos wrote that "his affairs were in such a scramble he had trouble borrowing a million dollars, and politically he was ratpoison.
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