John dos Passos - Nineteen Nineteen

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Nineteen Nineteen by John dos Passos; Signet classic; 1969; condition: good

The obscenity of the war, 'Mr. Wilson's War,' is Dos Passos' theme, and since this war is the most important political event of the century, he rises to his theme with a brilliance that does not conceal the fury behind it." Thus Alfred Kazin describes Nineteen Nineteen, the central novel of the U.S.A. trilogy. With the devices of the Camera Eye, the biographies, and the newsreels, and with the stories of the novel's characters, Dos Passos creates an unequalled portrayal of a war-crazed America and a war-ravaged Europe. The spreading contagion of violence means profit for for some, sexual adventure for others, and for still others it is a time of testing, with a choice between the sell-out of youthful idealism and a trip to the penitentiary. Brilliantly depicting a swarm of varied lives, synthesizing on every level a nation's brutal and brutalizing orgy of repression, cant and corruption, Nineteen Nineteen speaks with timeless art - and timely relevance. As Jean-paul Sartre has written, "I regard Dos Passos as the greatest writer of our time.