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Three Soldiers Paperback – 1 Nov 2005
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I regard Dos Passos as the greatest writer of our time. Jean-Paul Sartre"
"I regard Dos Passos as the greatest writer of our time." --Jean-Paul Sartre --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
John Dos Passos had just returned from studying architecture in Spain when America entered World War I and - driven by the idealism that infected many young Americans (including Hemingway and e.e. cummings) - he joined up as a driver for the Ambulance Corps. His rapid and profound disillusionment forms the core of Three Soldiers, a fierce denunciation of the military and of the far-reaching social implications of its exploitation of young men. The novel focuses on three main characters: Andrews, a young composer who finally revolts against the war's deadening regimentation; Chrisfield, an Indiana farm boy who chants the words "make the world safe for democracy" to himself in a futile attempt to block out the noises and terrors of battle; and Fuselli, a clerk who clings to the dream of becoming a corporal despite the mockery of his fellow soldiers. Required to renounce their individuality and to conform with unquestioning obedience, each one, in different ways, is ineradicably scarred by the dehumanizing effects of war. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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.