John Dos Passos: U.S.A. (LOA #85): The 42nd Parallel / 1919 / The Big Money

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Library of America, 1996 - 1288 pages
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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 Parallel1919, 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DeeringPublicLibrary - LibraryThing

The U.S.A. trilogy is a major work of American writer John Dos Passos, comprising the novels The 42nd Parallel (1930); 1919, (1932); and The Big Money (1936). The three books were first published ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RandyStafford - LibraryThing

My reaction to reading the trilogy in 1997. Spoilers may follow. I read this trilogy to get some appreciation of the style so successfully used by science fiction writers John Brunner and Joe Haldeman ... Read full review

Contents

street you have to step carefully always
13
MAC
20
The Camera Eye 8 you sat on the bed unlacing
80
MAC
81
MAC
91
Prof Ferrer former director
99
JANEY
121
the government of the United
134
The Camera Eye 32 ą quatorze heures pre
479
JOE WILLIAMS
488
DAUGHTER
702
Criminal in Pyjamas Saws Bars
716
up scrapiron
744
RICHARD ELLSWORTH SAVAGE
750
THE BODY OF AN AMERICAN
756
CHARLEY ANDERSON
769

Greeks in battle flee before cops
150
ELEANOR STODDARD
184
ELEANOR STODDARD
197
BOMBARDIER STOPS AUSTRALIAN
210
lights go out as Home Sweet Home
229
the Philadelphian had completed
239
JANEY
248
THE ELECTRICAL WIZARD
258
Oh the infantree the infantree
363
JOE WILLIAMS
375
RICHARD ELLSWORTH SAVAGE
421
Coming Year Promises Rebirth
445
EVELINE HUTCHINS
451
The Camera Eye 31 a mattress covered with
467
Yankee Doodle that melodee
775
Twarnt for powder and
782
CHARLEY ANDERSON
793
CHARLEY ANDERSON
815
The sunshine drifted from our alley
855
The Camera Eye 45 the narrow yellow room
872
The Camera Eye 46 walk the streets and walk
892
North Plymouth
1134
RICHARD ELLSWORTH SAVAGE
1169
MARY FRENCH
1216
Chronology
1243
Chronology of World Events
1261
Note on the Texts
1268

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About the author (1996)

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.

Bibliographic information