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The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos
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The 42nd Parallel (1930)

by John Dos Passos

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Trilogía U.S.A. (1), U.S.A. Trilogy (1)

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1,1791410,277 (3.84)32
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    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two stories of migrations of the working class in the US.
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» See also 32 mentions

English (12)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
“Limon was one of the worst pestholes on the Caribbean, even the Indians died there of malaria, yellow jack, dysentery.
Keith went back up to New Orleans on the steamer 𝘑𝘰𝘩𝘯 𝘎. 𝘔𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘨𝘴 to hire workers to build the railroad. He offered a dollar a day and grub and hired seven hundred men. Some of them had been down before in the filibustering days of William Walker.
Of that bunch about twentyfive came out alive.
The rest left their whiskyscalded carcases to rot in the swamps.
On another load he shipped down fifteen hundred; they all died to prove that only Jamaica Negroes could live in Limon.

Minor Keith didn’t die.”

This quote from Wikipedia: “As many as four thousand people, including Keith's three brothers, died during the construction of the first 25 miles of track. Having subsequent trouble recruiting Costa Rican laborers, Keith eventually brought in blacks from the Caribbean islands (mainly Jamaica), Chinese, and even Italians, to complete the project.”

The 𝘜.𝘚.𝘈. trilogy was published in 1930. The events from the opening passage to this post occurred in the late 1800s. American imperialism then. American imperialism now? This book was recommended by a friend since it fit into the research I was doing for an upcoming short story. Anytime, however, I put spade to the unturned earth of American history I’m left agape and ashamed at the old bones of brutal conquest. And we’re no exception, even if American exceptionalism is an ideology applied to that equally flattering and unsightly image in a mirror of our own fashioning, held at selfie-snapping distance.

Oh, America. Out of 180 degrees of latitude, surely there’s more than enough room to share. I did enjoy this novel, for its depictions of the average and not-so-average American as well as for its experimentation in style. However, I can’t find myself going back over this again. Maybe I’ll read the other two installments. I’m sure they’re worth it. But, man, I really don’t like most of what I’m seeing. Maybe it’s in the writing, but this mirror has got an awful lot of blemishes, nicks from hasty shaving, and sun-damage caught in the reflection.

This is what I read during the power outage of Hurricane Florence. I probably should’ve selected something more humorous or uplifting. However, the outpouring of community, fellowship, charity, and selflessness after the storm was the perfect antithesis to the conceit of most of the characters in this book.

Maybe there’s hope for America, after all. ( )
  ToddSherman | Sep 20, 2018 |
I couldn't get past the structure of this book, although I know that is what has brought the book praise. There is no plot, but just a series of unrelated vignettes interspersed with biographies, news stories, bits of songs and stream of consciousness passages (The Camera Eye). Women just exist in relation to their men, who always seemed to be with them reluctantly. "You can't get gelded just to be true to your wife." I found it unbearable and gave up. ( )
  fhudnell | Jun 15, 2018 |
It was bit slow going at the start. By midway I really started enjoying the book. Once all the characters started interacting the more interesting the book was. I really struggled with Mac at the being that I almost put it down. I like the news reels and camera views that are in placed in the book. ( )
  lemonpop | Nov 22, 2017 |
I seldom like books based on style alone but the newsreel journalistic objectivity is enough to drive everything else. I was delighted to come across settings like Excelsior, MN and Buffalo, NY in its heyday. ( )
  albertgoldfain | Sep 19, 2016 |
It took me a while to get into this one, mainly because of the different styles of each section. After doing a little research though, I enjoyed it more. Dos Passos's attitude towards American society is very pessimistic, and it's depressing to think that he may be more right than we want to admit, especially since we seem to be in another war driven by capitalism. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Dos Passosprimary authorall editionscalculated
Doctorow, E. L.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geismar, MaxwellIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsh, ReginaldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pavese, CesareTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Selander, StenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vougt, SonjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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General Mills with his gaudy uniform and spirited charger was the center for all eyes especially as his steed was extremely restless.
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This is the main work - dos Passos's 42nd Parallel (unabridged).  Please do not combine with U.S.A. or any other omnibus/combined editions, anthologies or abridged editions.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618056815, Paperback)

With his U.S.A. trilogy, comprising THE 42nd PARALLEL, 1919, and THE BIG MONEY, John Dos Passos is said by many to have written the great American novel. While Fitzgerald and Hemingway were cultivating what Edmund Wilson once called their "own little corners," John Dos Passos was taking on the world. Counted as one of the best novels of the twentieth century by the Modern Library and by some of the finest writers working today, U.S.A. is a grand, kaleidoscopic portrait of a nation, buzzing with history and life on every page.

The trilogy opens with THE 42nd PARALLEL, where we find a young country at the dawn of the twentieth century. Slowly, in stories artfully spliced together, the lives and fortunes of five characters unfold. Mac, Janey, Eleanor, Ward, and Charley are caught on the storm track of this parallel and blown New Yorkward. As their lives cross and double back again, the likes of Eugene Debs, Thomas Edison, and Andrew Carnegie make cameo appearances.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

With his U.S.A. trilogy, comprising The 42nd Parallel, 1919, and The Big Money, John Dos Passos is said by many to have written the great American novel. While Fitzgerald and Hemingway were cultivating what Edmund Wilson once called their "own little corners," Dos Passos was taking on the world. Counted as one of the best novels of the twentieth century by the Modern Library and by some of the finest writers working today, U.S.A. is a grand, kaleidoscopic portrait of a nation, buzzing with history and life. The trilogy opens with The 42nd Parallel, where we find a young country at the dawn of the twentieth century. Slowly, in stories artfully spliced together, the lives and fortunes of five characters unfold. Mac, Janey, Eleanor, Ward, and Charley are caught on the storm track of this parallel and blown New Yorkward. As their lives cross and double back again, the likes of Eugene Debs, Thomas Edison, and Andrew Carnegie make cameo appearances.… (more)

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