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Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow

Ragtime (1975)

by E. L. Doctorow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,615831,035 (3.84)306
  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 306 mentions

English (79)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  All (83)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Historical fanfic. I finished Chapter 8 and thought to myself, "Are you kidding me?" -- a soft-core rub down between two historical women culminating in one of the most bizarre metaphors for ejaculation I've encountered. The last bit where the history of the child characters was tied in a bow made me think this was a shaggy dog story. Definitely a product of the seventies with its late Victorian nostalgia and New Age sensibilities. On the plus side it did prompt me to look up various personages I'd never heard of before. ( )
  encephalical | Apr 15, 2017 |
I think this story is brilliant (I was recently in the musical and I love the narrative). The book has it's moments, and it is, objectively, a really good book, but I found that it ultimately failed to hold my attention. ( )
  hungrylittlebookworm | Mar 27, 2017 |
Although I am a product of the 1960s and 1970s, I must admit to not having read anything by this author before finding Ragtime on a markdown pile at my local bookseller. Thus I embarked on a journey that I hoped was historical and entertaining. I found what I was seeking. Ragtime follows the lives of an upper middle class family whose members are known to us only by their title (Mother, Father, Grandfather, Younger Brother, and Little Boy). The story begins when the famous Harry Houdini crashes his car outside their home in New Rochelle, NY. What follows is a somewhat disjointed telling of the events, both historical and personal, that carry the family forward into the twentieth century, exposing along the way the steamy underbelly of life in America during this era. We are introduced to several colorful characters that leap off the pages of history and into the pages of this book.

The reader may find initial difficulty in adjusting to Doctorow’s style of writing as he pays little attention to spacing and punctuation and writes with benefit of capital letters. Beyond that, however, is an intriguing commentary on life.

I enjoyed this book for its snapshot of the early twentieth century and for its well-developed characters. ( )
  AuthorMarion | Feb 6, 2017 |
2.5 ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
My first 5 star book of the year, and that's not to imply there will be many - I checked and my last one was in May 2013. I found the style of Doctorow's writing to be smooth and engaging, and although I would usually say that WWII is my favorite era to read about, the time just prior to WWI is emerging now as a close second. I really get a kick out of historical fiction that winds the lives of real historical figures in with those of the fictional characters. Is it possible that the rate at which famous or notorious persons come into ocntact with this family is almost a little too much? Yes, but I won't complain. Is the end maybe a touch too contrived? Maybe, but it is fun. I also enjoyed that it reminded me of other books I have read from that era that included some similar events, such as The Fountainhead and the Interpretation of Murder. I am going to get this on audio now for my husband, and check out some of his other works. I already own Homer & Langley. ( )
2 vote MaureenCean | Feb 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
I think this story is brilliant (I was recently in the musical and I love the narrative). The book has it's moments, and it is, objectively, a really good book, but I found that it ultimately failed to hold my attention.

» Add other authors (20 possible)

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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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)

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

» see all 4 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141188170, 0143566377

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