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Three Soldiers Hardcover – 10 Sep 2010


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Hardcover, 10 Sep 2010
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing (10 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1169343872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1169343870
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 25.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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About the Author

Geboren am 30.12.1865 als Sohn einer angloamerikanischen Familie in Bombay, gestorben am 18.01.1936 in London. Im Alter von zwei Jahren wurden er bereits nach England geschickt, dort erhielt er seine Ausbildung. Er kehrte 1882 nach Indien zurück und arbeitete dort als Journalist. Kipling erhielt für sein schriftstellerisches Werk 1907 den Nobelpreis für Literatur. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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THE COMPANY stood at attention, each man looking straight before him at the empty parade ground, where the cinder piles showed purple with evening. Read the first page
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Mar 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Signet Classic publication of John Dos Passos' brilliant anti-war novel provides us access to another significant account of the Great War and the writings of this 'lost generation' novelist. Although first released over seventy-six years ago, the novel's timeless message relating the effects of war and military life on the psyches of three young men is as relative today as in 1921. Dos Passos' indictment of the war and America's role in it, contrasts starkly with the crusade like image of the War presented to the American people. The novel accurately reflects the diversity of a conscript army embodied in the three soldiers; a first generation Italian-American from San Francisco, an Indiana farm boy and an east coast Harvard man. Each enters the service with confidence in the role they would play in this clash between good and evil. The transformation of these young men carries through until the end of the war. Although, they all survive there is little left of their former selves. The brilliance of the language and the depth of feeling demonstrated by the author will captivate the reader. This novel rightly belongs alongside cumming's The Enormous Room, Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, and Hemingway's Farewell to Arms.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 July 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I probably shouldn't have read this after the great and mighty USA trilogy since anything else he did only pales to that great work but this is a fine, if little known work from a great writer. As people who have read the USA trilogy know, Dos Passos absolutely hated WWI and everything it stood for and here he got to take out his anger on a few targets. While not as focused as 1919 was, he shows his feelings with a deft touch and a depth of feeling that was rarely seen in war novels, his characters aren't all brilliant, the only really three dimensional one is Andrews but they depict a cross section of American life and through their adventures he shows what his firm belief was: that the machine of the army sucked the spirit out of someone and turned them nearly into a automaton. And without focused on the gory battles, he shows the horror of the war in a way that few writers have. Definitely a book that needs to be looked at again and should be ranked with The Naked and the Dead, and Red Badge of Courage (among others).
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By Officer Dibble VINE VOICE on 28 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback
John Dos Passos was only 26 when he wrote this astonishingly mature work. Based on his experiences as an ambulance driver in the Great War, this novel is anti-army first and anti-war second.

The three soldiers are a cross-section of the USA; socially, geographically and educationally. Despite the title, the book is heavily weighted towards the character John Andrews. The story focuses on his own battle against getting 'lost in the machine' and avoiding the fate of a 'coarse automaton'. Andrews is clearly the alter ego of Dos Passos and he despises the army routine, snobbery and ignorance.

By contrast the other two soldiers represent lesser pieces in the game. One is borderline psychotic whilst the other seeks survival and acceptance by 'staying in good'.

It is often vivid in its descriptions of army life in 1917-1919, yet this is most definitely not a 'trench' novel. Indeed one of the longest sections deals with the post-Armistice period. Even when the war is won, the shackles of army life bind tight.

This book was written in 1921 and the author's bitterness is still raw; a strength and weakness of the novel.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By suzanna on 27 Oct 2010
Format: Paperback
item was as it said, book of three soldiers- john dos pasoos however book was really old- it had written inside messages of grafiti from 1950. never the less book was not damage but the photograph of the front cover was not as shown on product orignaly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 34 reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Better than a textbook 20 July 1999
By Michael Battaglia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I probably shouldn't have read this after the great and mighty USA trilogy since anything else he did only pales to that great work but this is a fine, if little known work from a great writer. As people who have read the USA trilogy know, Dos Passos absolutely hated WWI and everything it stood for and here he got to take out his anger on a few targets. While not as focused as 1919 was, he shows his feelings with a deft touch and a depth of feeling that was rarely seen in war novels, his characters aren't all brilliant, the only really three dimensional one is Andrews but they depict a cross section of American life and through their adventures he shows what his firm belief was: that the machine of the army sucked the spirit out of someone and turned them nearly into a automaton. And without focused on the gory battles, he shows the horror of the war in a way that few writers have. Definitely a book that needs to be looked at again and should be ranked with The Naked and the Dead, and Red Badge of Courage (among others).
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Minor Work by an American Great 25 Feb 2001
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dos Passos's attempt to expose the reader to the plight of the common American enlisted man in WWI rarely manages to achieve the impact one suspects he must have been seeking. It's not about the horrors of battle at all--the three soldiers of the title encounter no real fighting, and half the book takes place after the armistice. Rather, the book is about the horrors inflicted on the minds and spirits of men by the military machine and its inhuman procedures. Dos Passos does this by bludgeoning the reader with the endless drudgery of the soldiers' existence as they meet in boot camp and make their way to France. His three soldiers as clearly meant to cut across the strata of American society: Italian-American San Franciscan, Midwestern farm boy, Harvard-educated pianist, and he clearly shows how they all get ground down and reduced to nothing by the army. In doing so, the book becomes more of an anti-war, pro-personal freedom manifesto than it is a story with a plot. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just isn't done very delicately and thus makes for a rather tedious read. In the end, it's clear why this is considered a rather minor work by an American great.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Highly symbolic treatise on individualism 5 Aug 2004
By James D Mcgee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To read this novel as a war novel is a mistake. World War I is mearly the canvas upon which Dos Passos paints his story. If individuals have a responsibility to their government, what responsibility does that same individual have to his/her own conscience? "Three Soldiers" attempts to answer this question. As with most great works of literature, the story can be read on two levels.

At the surface you have the stories of three men with different desires of who and what they want to be. There is a theme of Socialism and anti-war here as well. It's a good story at the surface level. What makes this novel great, however, is that there is an underlying message here, wrought with symbolism. It's the study of the awakening of the individual and the choices he (John Andrews) makes. It's a study of moral courage in the face of insurmountable odds.

John Andrews (the central character) initially joins the army out of a sense of duty, then begins to recognize how he has been stripped of all who he was and has begun to conform to the "machine" of society. Disgusted, he takes his first tentative steps back toward who he really is at heart. The moment of epiphany comes when, after having been wounded and waking up in a make-shift hospital surrounded by busts of great men of the past, he decides that he must make his stand to change the world in what ever way he can just like the men represented in the busts above him did. His choices eventually drive him to desert the army while in Paris. The real choice comes near the end of the novel when he is presented the opportunity to return to the army with no consequence to his prior desertion. (I won't ruin the ending for you!)

There is a strong element of socialist propoganda in the novel. I am no more a socialist than I am a horse, but the reader should remember that this novel was written before the failings of socialism were widely known. It was a much more idealisic time and the evils and harshness of socialism had yet to be realized. The socialist element of the novel need not deter the reader from the true message: the courage and triumph of individual freedom.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Intense, skillful, expression of war's toll on the psyche 18 Mar 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Signet Classic publication of John Dos Passos' brilliant anti-war novel provides us access to another significant account of the Great War and the writings of this `lost generation' novelist. Although first released over seventy-six years ago, the novel's timeless message relating the effects of war and military life on the psyches of three young men is as relative today as in 1921. Dos Passos' indictment of the war and America's role in it, contrasts starkly with the crusade like image of the War presented to the American people. The novel accurately reflects the diversity of a conscript army embodied in the three soldiers; a first generation Italian-American from San Francisco, an Indiana farm boy and an east coast Harvard man. Each enters the service with confidence in the role they would play in this clash between good and evil. The transformation of these young men carries through until the end of the war. Although, they all survive there is little left of their former selves. The brilliance of the language and the depth of feeling demonstrated by the author will captivate the reader. This novel rightly belongs alongside cumming's The Enormous Room, Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, and Hemingway's Farewell to Arms
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Strong, but not truly a classic 12 Nov 2000
By Tim Weber - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Three Soldiers" is John Dos Passos before he found his voice. With the originality of style and narrative punch of "Manhattan Transfer" and "USA" still a few years away, this overlooked writer gave us a good look at the common soldier during and after World War I that is well-written but which occasionally gets bogged down with repetition and the lack of a storyline. Yeah, I know, the repetition and social slavery of the soldier are part of what Dos Passos is trying to get across, but that doesn't make portions like the interminable "The World Outside" section any easier to read. This is probably only considered a classic because of what Dos Passos wrote later. I guess I was expecting World War I to play a larger role, but it really is only a backdrop; there is almost no actual fighting in the entire book, and the novel is less than half over when the war ends (a shame, it was just starting to gather momentum). If you're going to write about the war, at least let us experience some of its horrors with the characters. Still, it is generally a good book, the writing is fine and insightful if, again, a little redundant (the constant description of colors -- the night, nature, etc., got a bit old). But quite nice and recommended as a way to be led into his better works.
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