The Ambulance Drivers

  • by James McGrath Morris
  • Narrated by Dean Temple
  • 8 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

After meeting for the first time on the front lines of World War I, two aspiring writers forge an intense 20-year friendship and write some of America's greatest novels, giving voice to a "lost generation" shaken by war.
Eager to find his way in life and words, John Dos Passos first witnessed the horror of trench warfare in France as a volunteer ambulance driver retrieving the dead and seriously wounded from the front line. Later in the war, he briefly met another young writer, Ernest Hemingway, who was just arriving for his service in the ambulance corps. When the war was over, both men knew they had to write about it; they had to give voice to what they felt about war and life.
Their friendship and collaboration developed through the peace of the 1920s and 1930s, as Hemingway's novels soared to success while Dos Passos penned the greatest antiwar novel of his generation, Three Soldiers. In war Hemingway found adventure, women, and a cause. Dos Passos saw only oppression and futility. Their different visions eventually turned their private friendship into a bitter public fight fueled by money, jealousy, and lust.
Rich in evocative detail - from Paris caf├ęs to the Austrian Alps, from the streets of Pamplona to the waters of Key West - The Ambulance Drivers is a biography of a turbulent friendship between two of the century's greatest writers and an illustration of how war both inspires and destroys, unites and divides.

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What the Critics Say

"The story of the close yet volatile friendship between John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway.... [A] lively biography of their relationship.... A welcome new look at Dos Passos and another sad chapter in the life of Hemingway." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Two of the most significant writers of their generation, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway, are described by Morris in his evocative, lively volume about how differently they emerged from the crucible of WWI.... Morris's narrative demonstrates how, despite jealousies and differences, the two men found common ground.... Dos Passos will be the less recognizable name to most readers, and Morris does a great service by reinserting him into the picture of post-WWI American writers." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Narrator drops the end of each sentence.

Rich stories of two important writers and their tangled friendship spanning two world wars and the Spanish Civil War. Their shifting and conflicting ideology, romances, adventures and writing assignments are set on a world stage.
Enjoyable.
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- Marti Timmons

Morris always delivers interesting biographies...

...that I might not normally read--and this is another one. I first read/listened to The Rose Man of Sing Sing (which remains my favorite), something I'd have never found on my own but it was recommended to me so I listened! Now, if Morris writes it, I'll read it right away.

I knew little about Hemingway (other than reading some of his work) and even less about Dos Passos, so not only did I learn about the two men, but what I always appreciate about Morris is how he puts everything into the wider historical context.

There's a little bit of everything in this book: War, friendship, rivalry, marriage, what it means to be a writer, history, etc. I was really fascinated by the ambulance drivers in general; it's a part of WW1 that I knew nothing about!
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- NMwritergal

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-28-2017
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio