John Dos Passos #1...not recommended for those of the Politically Correct persuasion.
The RAINBOW COALITION, as we know it today, is a melting pot of different races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Unity and tolerance of people of diverse backgrounds
is a very desirable concept.
At the onset of the Twentieth Century, the unity and tolerance of people of diverse backgrounds was a very necessary idea. It was a time when common laborers in the United States of America worked in uncommonly dangerous conditions. There were no safety codes, health plans, or retirement benefits. ORGANIZED LABOR was anathema to the Big Boss Men.
John Dos Passos belongs in the upper echelons of Twentieth Century American fiction, alongside those of Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner.
For better or worse, his influence on Modern Fiction is immeasurable but better minds than mine can justify these two sentences.
Published in 1930, The 42nd Parallel is the first book in Mr. Dos Passos' trilogy, U.S.A.
It is multi-layered: narrative + stream of consciousness + global newsreel collage.
At times, it is hellaciously funny, politically profound, or utterly romantic.
It is not an easy read but is well worth the effort. If I live to be one thousand, I will definitely read the thousand-plus pages of the entire trilogy.
Were it not for "Dos" having intimate connections with both the uber-blogged Scott Fitzgerald and Dawn Powell, this page would not exist.
Dos Passos and Hemingway used to read the King James Bible together but not for religious reasons. They did so out of appreciation for the stylized writing.
Here is a quote from the same Paris Review interview:
Shortly after John Dos Passos had completed the three volumes of U.S.A. in 1936, Jean-Paul Sartre observed that he was “the greatest writer of our time.”
The 42nd Parallel begins at the onset of the Twentieth Century.
"Mac" is one of the main characters of the book. The life of this itinerant young man is an exploratory mission. "Big Bill" is an orator. "Fred Hoff" is an associate of Mac. "Maisie" is the girl waiting for Mac in California.
The thin slice of the book (p.92) is set in a mining town in Nevada.
Speaking of the uber-blogged, within the past two hundred posts of THE GODFATHER OF MATH, no name appears more often than Caryl Hobbes, the Chancellor of the Lewis Carroll School of Logic.
My gratitude to Chancellor Hobbes is somewhere beyond infinity: Caryl introduced me to the existential world of MUTTS, the literature of Dawn Powell and then...snail-mailed me a book with a short note.
"The 42nd Parallel is not a math book. Volumes 2 & 3 are available upon request."
I would be remiss in my duties as an author if I didn't acknowledge that Caryl is the invisible hand guiding every word of THE GODFATHER OF MATH.