A deft chronicler of the American experience, John Dos Passos has taken his place alongside contemporaries Ernest Hemmingway and William Faulkner.
In Three Soldiers, he introduces listeners to a Harvard aesthete who joins the Army out of idealism, and his two buddies. One by one, their illusions crumble under the tyranny, red tape, and boredom of the military. The soldiers' reactions range from bitterness to rage, and - for one - murder in this vivid portrayal of human spirit caught in the grip of war.
Master storyteller Dos Passos bypasses convention. He doesn’t linger on the glamorous machismo of military officers, or the gory violence encountered by innocents. Dos Passos writes an anti-war novel by focusing on the ignored aspects of military life. The military is a machine, it requires coordinated action and obedience from all those within it in order to function. The military is also an institution plagued by mind-numbing bureaucracy. The men trapped within the machinery fall victim to physical and administrative drudgery. The self diminishes, and the beauty of the world becomes a gesture of irony. Narrator Peter Larkin’s brisk, neutral tone matches the dispassionate yet highly visceral text. Larkin’s romance-free delivery articulates the vivid details that underscore the stagnation and misery of military life.
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