John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos : U.S.A. (LOA #85)

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Unique among American books for its epic scope and panoramic social sweep, U.S.A. has long been acknowledged as a monument of modern fiction. Now The Library of America presents an exclusive one-volume edition of this enduring masterwork by John Dos Passos, including for the first time detailed notes and a chronicle of the world events that serve as a backdrop. In the novels that make up the trilogy--The 42nd Parallel, 1919, and The Big Money--Dos Passos creates an unforgettable collective portrait of America, shot through with sardonic comedy and brilliant social observation. He interweaves the careers of his characters and the events of their time with a narrative verve and breathtaking technical skill that make U.S.A. among the most compulsively readable of modern classics. A startling range of experimental devices captures the textures and background noises of twentieth-century life: "Newsreels" with blaring headlines; autobiographical "Camera Eye" sections with poetic stream-of-consciousness; "biographies" evoking emblematic historical figures like J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford, John Reed, Frank Lloyd Wright, Thorstein Veblen, and the Unknown Soldier. Holding everything together is sheer storytelling power, tracing dozens of characters from the Spanish-American War to the onset of the Depression. The U.S.A. trilogy is filled with American speech: labor radicals and advertising executives, sailors and stenographers, interior decorators and movie stars. Their crisscrossing destinies take in wars and revolutions, desperate love affairs and harrowing family crises, corrupt public triumphs and private catastrophes, in settings that include the trenches of World War I, insurgent Mexico, Hollywood studios in the silent era, Wall Street boardrooms, and the tumultuous streets of Boston just before the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. The volume contains newly researched chronologies of Dos Passos's life and of world events cited in U.S.A., notes, and an essay on textual selection. LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 1312 pages
  • 134.62 x 208.28 x 40.64mm | 816.47g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1883011140
  • 9781883011147
  • 170,678

Back cover copy

Unique among American novels for its epic scope and panoramic and social sweep, John Dos Passos' U.S.A. has long been acknowledged as a monument of modern fiction. In the novels that make up the trilogy - The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936) - Dos Passos creates an unforgettable collective portrait of America, shot through with sardonic comedy and brilliant social observation. He interweaves the careers of his characters and the events of their time with a narrative verve and breathtaking technical skill that make U.S.A. among the most compulsively readable of modern classics. In his prologue Dos Passos writes: "U.S.A. is the slice of a continent. U.S.A. is a group of holding companies, some aggregations of trade unions, a set of laws bound in calf, a radio network, a chain of moving picture theatres, a column of stock quotations rubbed out and written in by a Western Union boy on a blackboard, a public library full of old newspapers and dogeared history books with protests scrawled on the margins in pencil...But mostly U.S.A. is the speech of the people". The trilogy is filled with American speech: labor radicals and advertising executives, sailors and stenographers, interior decorators and movie stars. The volume contains newly researched chronologies of Dos Passos' life and of world events cited in U.S.A., notes, and an essay on textual selection.
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Review quote

"The U.S.A. trilogy hasn't been available in a single volume for decades. All hail, then, the estimable Library of America, which has brought out such an edition. . . . Replete with notes and chronologies of both Dos Passos's life and of world events contemporaneous with the action of the novels, its edition of U.S.A. is one to savor." --The Plain Dealer
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About John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos (1896-1970) was born in Chicago and graduated from Harvard in 1916. His service as an ambulance driver in Europe at the end of World War I led him to write Three Soldiers in 1919, the first in a series of works that established him as one of the most prolific, inventive, and influential American writers of the twentieth century. This volume was edited by Townsend Ludington, Cary C. Boshamer Professor of English and American Studies at the University of North Carolina and author of John Dos Passos: A Twentieth Century Odyssey, and Daniel Aaron (1912-2016), Victor S. Thomas Professor of English and American Literature at Harvard University and a founder of The Library of America.
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Rating details

4,512 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 43% (1,956)
4 32% (1,439)
3 18% (811)
2 5% (228)
1 2% (78)
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