1919: Volume Two of the U.S.A. Trilogy
By John Dos Passos
Why this book?
Dos Passos’ USA trilogy was a project of the 1930s with 1919 at its center. In its time, the trilogy was a literary precursor of multimedia as we know it today, a mix of fictional narrative and non-fiction documentary. For me at college age, it was a revelatory journey into the human layers between the 20th-century events of the larger world that I would be entering in search of who I was and would be. Centered on World War I, an industrializing America, and an exotic Paris, it would give me my first effective exposure to the places in which I would live and travel, and the stories I would not begin to tell with my own writing until fifty years later.
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