Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
Published in 1975, Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century and the First World War.
The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J. P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family and other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler and a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When E.L. Doctorow died at the age of 84, he left behind a dozen historical novels and a literary road map of America, from its tangled, glittering past to its confounding, dynamic present. In 1975’s Ragtime, Doctorow shines a light on life in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century and the years leading up to World War I—and the immigrants, anarchists, labor leaders, industrialists, and bankers who helped shape the country. With staccato prose and unblinking insight, Doctorow weaves historical events and figures into the lives of a fictional family, demonstrating his prowess on every page of this captivating masterpiece.
It isn't easy to imitate musical syncopation in prose, but Doctorow pulls it off in the audio edition of his now-classic 1975 novel. The ebb and flow and swing of his sentences, reflecting turn-of-the-century jazz genres, are captured perfectly in his low-key, fast-paced reading. Doctorow seamlessly interweaves his invented characters and incidents with a wide range of historical events and people like Houdini, Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Sigmund Freud, and others to create a portrait of early-20th-century America that presages the rise of the civil rights and women's movements and our involvement in two world wars. Doctorow's novel and his narration are gifts to savor. A Random House paperback.
A masterpiece of irony and juxtaposition. Racial intolerance and tolerance Rich and Poor. An era ending with the murder an Archduke and the with “The Little Rascals -Our Gang”