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Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow

Ragtime (1975)

by E. L. Doctorow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,968891,362 (3.83)326
  1. 00
    American Pastoral by Philip Roth (charlie68)
    charlie68: Similar themes on the American ideal.
  2. 00
    Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich von Kleist (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Doctorow called his book "a quite deliberate hommage" (sic) to Kleist's story.
  3. 01
    The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld (Booksloth)

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» See also 326 mentions

English (84)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (89)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
A terrific novel. Wonderful set pieces involving Harry Houdini, J. P. Morgan, and Henry Ford. A style strange at first but always engaging--and eventually Doctorow's reason for using it makes sense. I had only previously known the wonderful film and the oddity of Norman Mailer playing Stanford White. After reading the novel, I understand why Milos Forman wanted to direct it. It's also a novel that one can read over a long period of time--a chapter a week while one's reading other things. Recommended. ( )
1 vote Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
The book is much better than three stars (3.5 is more like it), but "liked it" about sums up my feelings. It's more of a work of art than a work of fiction. I thoroughly admired it, I'm glad I read it, but as I tend to read fiction for entertainment, I can't quite give it "really liked it" status. Through the vehicle of the nameless family, the book paints a larger than life portrait of the early 20th century's tarnished golden age in America. ( )
1 vote Thebrownbookloft | Jun 29, 2018 |
I do not give half star ratings but if ever a book deserved on, Ragtime is it. I give Doctorow four stars for his ability to whittle down what would have been an epic story in the hands of other authors into 320 pages. But, his writing style and the seeming disjointed narrative at the beginning lessened my overall enjoyment of the book. In short, I am glad I read it but will not read it again.

Full review: http://swampofboredom.com/2012/07/25/1001-booksthe-classics-club-book-review-rag... ( )
  MelissaLenhardt | Mar 11, 2018 |
This is exactly the type of novel I enjoy most. If I wear to sum it up succinctly, I would say it was the precursor to Forrest Gump but with multiple protagonists intertwined with historical events from the beginning of the twentieth century until the end of the Great War. I did not read about E.L. Doctorow until I had finished his work, and it was no surprise to find he was a professor of history. The incorporation of Harry Houdini as a character was cleverly done, as was the use of the nondescript "Family", "Father", "Mother", "Mother's Younger Brother" to leave one guessing at the true historical characters they were inspired by. There is definitely some merit to reading more of Doctorow's work and Ragtime is easily one of my favourite novels. ( )
1 vote madepercy | Nov 7, 2017 |
An unnamed family (Father, Mother, Grandfather, Mother's Younger Brother, and the boy) live in New Rochelle, NY at the turn of the century. Their family intersects with a variety of historical people from Houdini to the anarchist Emma Goldman and more.

This is the type of book you have to get into the rhythm and let the words and images carry you along in the story. It covers a lot of ground, mostly 1902 to 1912, with a bit of a lead up into World War 1. It's less about the characters than it is the changing of an era, and a growing awareness in one family that America is not necessarily the one their set has been accustomed to: "Everyone wore white in summer. Tennis racquets were hefty and the racquet faces elliptical. There was a lot of sexual fainting. There were no Negros. There were no immigrants" (3-4). It's a very well-crafted, intricate book and blends fact and fiction seamlessly. Some of the most unbelievable aspects were, in fact, historical - and made some of the fictional fabrications that much more believable. "Ragtime" comes into play both in the music of the time period and the other major fictional character, Coalhouse Walker, Jr., a black pianist who swings into this family's life and leaves it changed forever. I'm not really sure how the sex scenes fit into the story and found them a little out of place, personally, but I'm looking forward to talking about the book in my book club tonight. ( )
1 vote bell7 | Oct 3, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. L. Doctorowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Do not play this piece fast. It is never right to play Ragtime fast ...
Scott Joplin
The author thanks the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Creative Artists Program Service for fellowships awarded during the period in which this novel was written
Respectfully dedicated to Rose Doctorow Buck
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In 1902 Father built a house at the crest of the Broadview Avenue hill in New Rochelle.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812978188, Paperback)

Published in 1975, Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century and the First World War.

The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J. P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family and other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler and a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence.

The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torch-bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:08 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The lives of three remarkable families become entwined with Henry Ford, Harry Houdini, J.P. Morgan, Theodore Dreiser, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata at the turn of the century.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141188170, 0143566377

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