JOHN DOS PASSOS found a unique place in the history of American literature and politics with his shift from the radical left of his early career to the conservative right that lasted until the end of his life, with both stances informing and structuring his writing. Born in the midst of worldwide social upheaval, Dos Passos had a youth that followed the template of the privileged: private schools, the European tour, and Harvard University. It was at Harvard that he began his exploration of perceived social injustices and Europe's various socialist uprisings. In 1917, Dos Passos joined many young Americans, including Ernest Hemingway and other literati, in Europe as a volunteer ambulance driver. As with most of the young and naive Americans, he was ...

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