When John Dos Passos published this book in 1921, its explosive portrait of World War I shocked America. Instead of glorifying the Great War, he shows three men caught in a military machine that is as dangerous for them as the foreign terrain and the enemies they fight. Fuselli leaves San Francisco for the front lines in France, anxious to move up the military ladder of success. Chrisfield, a farm boy from Indiana, feels himself swept along as he marches in a sea of other soldiers. And Andrews, a classical musician, searches for a sense of direction and meaning as he joins the ranks. Each will be swallowed up and changed forever by a vast, faceless automaton—the Army.
Based on Dos Passos’ own experiences as an ambulance driver in Europe during World War I, Three Soldiers is honored as a classic antiwar novel. Sweeping in its scope and drama, it is riveting historical fiction. Veteran narrator George Guidall’s reading conveys all the conflicts and emotions that bombard the three recruits.
Intense and poignant, Dos Passos's novel is a gut-wrenching and frightening tale of loss of innocence. Listeners completely empathize with the hopes and dreams of the three young protagonists, only to be shattered at their inevitable upheaval. Guidall's deeply emotional and reflective narration has the perfect range of humor, passion and temperance to best translate each character into a living, breathing entity. Softly ironic but respectful of textual integrity, Guidall brings such an immediacy to Dos Passos's haunting work that listeners are torn between keeping their players on all night and wishing the nightmare would end.
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Slave to the military complex
- Sam Motes