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Three Soldiers

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By: (1896-1970)

Three Soldiers, the second novel by John Dos Passos, follows the experiences of several young Americans thrown into the confusion and brutality of World War I.

Written when the author was just twenty-three, it was key to the development of a realistic depiction of war in American literature, and earned Dos Passos, later named by Jean-Paul Sartre "the greatest living writer of our time", important early attention.

Critic H L Menken said of it: "no war story can be written in the United States without challenging comparison with it--and no story that is less meticulously true will stand up to it. It changed the whole tone of American opinion about the war; it even changed the recollections of actual veterans of the war. They saw, no doubt, substantially what Dos Passos saw, but it took his bold realism to disentangle their recollections from the prevailing buncombe and sentimentality".

First Page:

Etext transcribed by Eve Sobol, South Bend, IN, USA

THREE SOLDIERS

JOHN DOS PASSOS

1921

CONTENTS

PART ONE: MAKING THE MOULD

PART TWO: THE METAL COOLS

PART THREE: MACHINES

PART FOUR: RUST

PART FIVE: THE WORLD OUTSIDE

PART SIX: UNDER THE WHEELS

"Les contemporains qui souffrent de certaines choses ne peuvent s'en souvenir qu'avec une horreur qui paralyse tout autre plaisir, meme celui de lire un conte."

STENDHAL

PART ONE: MAKING THE MOULD

I

The company stood at attention, each man looking straight before him at the empty parade ground, where the cinder piles showed purple with evening. On the wind that smelt of barracks and disinfectant there was a faint greasiness of food cooking. At the other side of the wide field long lines of men shuffled slowly into the narrow wooden shanty that was the mess hall. Chins down, chests out, legs twitching and tired from the afternoon's drilling, the company stood at attention... Continue reading book >>


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