The Big Money: The U.S.A. Trilogy, Volume 3

The Big Money: The U.S.A. Trilogy, Volume 3


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THE BIG MONEY completes John Dos Passos's three-volume "fable of America's materialistic success and moral decline" (American Heritage) and marks the end of "one of the most ambitious projects that an American novelist has ever undertaken" (Time). Here we come back to America after the war and find a nation on the upswing. Industrialism booms. The stock market surges. Lindbergh takes his solo flight. Henry Ford makes automobiles. From New York to Hollywood, love affairs to business deals, it is a country taking the turns too fast, speeding toward the crash of 1929.

Ultimately, whether the novels are read together or separately, they paint a sweeping portrait of collective America and showcase the brilliance and bravery of one of its most enduring and admired writers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618056835
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/25/2000
Series: U.S.A. Trilogy Series , #3
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 271,442
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.15(d)

About the Author

John Dos Passos (1896-1970), a member of the Lost Generation, was the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction, including THREE SOLDIERS and MANHATTAN TRANSFER.

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The Big Money: The U.S.A. Trilogy, Volume 3 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
theokester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Big Money is a very interesting and compelling novel that I'm glad to have read. It's actually the third book in the "USA Trilogy" following American culture through the first 3 decades of the 20th century (each novel covering one decade). The Big Money takes us through the 1920s.The style is experimental and at times a little odd because of that. Had I not been reading this as part of a class or with some notes to help guide me, I'm certain I would have missed a lot of the nuances.There are 4 different writing threads throughout the novel: * Lives (actual story arcs of fictional characters) * Biographies (mini-biographies of notable characters such as Ford, Hearst, and others) * Newsreels (snippets from newspaper, radio, pop culture and other elements¿pieced together poetically to convey a thought or thread) * Camera Eye (commentary on what's going on¿a sort of personal context outside of the story)The way the novel is pieced together is very intriguing and made for fun reading. It provides some very interesting insights into what social, political and cultural life was like during this timeframe. The size and content can certainly be daunting, but the presentation is in bite-sized chunks which makes it more manageable. Still, I would recommend you pay close attention and perhaps have a quick link to wikipedia or other reference material in order to get the full perspective. ****4 out of 5 stars
JD_in_TN More than 1 year ago
There isn't a more clear-eyed, literary look at America in the Roaring '20s than the one that Dos Passos provides in <i>The Big Money</i> . His characters from the previous books, 42nd Parallel and <i>1919</i> come flooding back into New York, intent on making the big money.  Charley Anderson--introduced in <i>42nd Parallel</i> as a shiftless mechanic with an eye for the ladies, who had embarked for France at the end of that book--returns from the war as a war hero and flying ace. The big money is in airplane engines for Charley, and soon he is also playing in the stock market. I wondered why Anderson's story hadn't been featured in <i>1919</i> which, after all, described the war. Couldn't there have been one chapter about dog fights--one German biplane spinning out of the sky?  Dos Passos sees World War I as a blip in the larger battle of labor vs. capital. Charley embodies the working man who is elevated by capital. Airline stocks must have been for the 1920s what Internet stocks were in the 1990s. No one quite knew which ideas would stick, but everyone wanted in on the action.  Besides Anderson, Eveline Hutchens returns, along with Eleanor Stoddard and J.W. Moorehouse--albeit on the perimeter of stories about new characters. Dick Savage makes a brief appearance, trying to re-brand snake oil/patent medicines for a nation intent on regulating the food &amp; medicine supply, and failing with women, only to end up compromised by a male prostitute. The two new characters in TBM are female characters--a skill I believe Dos Passos pulled off more successfully than his contemporaries, Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Steinbeck. Margo Dowling uses pluck and self-control to surf The Big Money from her beginning as a Follies Girl, to shows in Havana and Miami, through Charley Anderson's rise, to a place in Hollywood and a bizarre 'marriage a trois.' The other new character, Mary French, is the soul of the novel. Linked sexually to the most prominent labor voices of the trilogy, Ben Compton, Dan Savage, and the venal accomodationist G.H. Barrow, she keeps her eye on the ball. It is through Mary that Dos Passos reveals the execution of Sacco &amp; Vanzetti in Boston and what looks to be the end of communist-led, IWW-inspired labor agitation. I felt like Dos Passos gave himself a cameo in the book as journalist Jerry Burnham, who gets the most poignant lines of the whole trilogy. &quot;We hocked our manhood for a brass check about the time of the first world war,&quot; he tells Mary &amp; Don Stevens, &quot;That is if we had any...I suppose there'd be various opinions about that.&quot; There certainly are various opinions. That's the point--and the genius--of the <i>USA Trilogy</i> . Dos Passos weaves a tapestry that allows for greatness and failure, Big Money and bad. It is essential reading for an American--or any person seeking to understand how our nation got to be this way.
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