Three Soldiers (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)

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9780141180274: Three Soldiers (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)

Part of the generation that produced Ernest Hemingway and Ford Madox Ford, John Dos Passos wrote one of the most grimly honest portraits of World War I. Three Soldiers portrays the lives of a trio of army privates: Fuselli, an Italian American store clerk from San Francisco; Chrisfield, a farm boy from Indiana; and Andrews, a musically gifted Harvard graduate from New York. Hailed as a masterpiece on its original publication in 1921, Three Soldiers is a gripping exploration of fear and ambition, conformity and rebellion, desertion and violence, and the brutal and dehumanizing effects of a regimented war machine on ordinary soldiers.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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John Dos Passos had just returned from studying architecture in Spain when America entered World War I and - driven by the idealism that infected many young Americans (including Hemingway and e.e. cummings) - he joined up as a driver for the Ambulance Corps. His rapid and profound disillusionment forms the core of Three Soldiers, a fierce denunciation of the military and of the far-reaching social implications of its exploitation of young men. The novel focuses on three main characters: Andrews, a young composer who finally revolts against the war's deadening regimentation; Chrisfield, an Indiana farm boy who chants the words "make the world safe for democracy" to himself in a futile attempt to block out the noises and terrors of battle; and Fuselli, a clerk who clings to the dream of becoming a corporal despite the mockery of his fellow soldiers. Required to renounce their individuality and to conform with unquestioning obedience, each one, in different ways, is ineradicably scarred by the dehumanizing effects of war.

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