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John Dos Passos

John Roderigo Dos Passos (; January 14, 1896 – September 28, 1970) was a radical American novelist and artist active in the first half of the twentieth century. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and he went on to Harvard College, graduating in 1916. He was well-traveled, visiting Europe and the Middle East, where he learned about literature, art, and architecture. During World War I he was a member of the American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps in Paris and Italy, later joining the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

In 1920 he had his first novel published, ''One Man's Initiation: 1917'', and in 1925 his ''Manhattan Transfer'' became a commercial success. In 1928, he went to the Soviet Union to study socialism, and later became a leading participator in the April 1935 First American Writers Congress sponsored by the communist-leaning League of American Writers. He was in Spain in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, when the murder of good friend José Robles soured his attitude toward communism and severed his relationship with fellow writer Ernest Hemingway.

He is best known for his ''U.S.A. trilogy'' which consists of the novels ''The 42nd Parallel'' (1930), ''1919'' (1932), and ''The Big Money'' (1936). In 1998, the Modern Library ranked the ''U.S.A. Trilogy'' 23rd on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

By the 1950s his political views had changed dramatically, and in the 1960s, he actively campaigned for presidential candidates Barry Goldwater and Richard M. Nixon.

An artist as well as a novelist, Dos Passos created cover art for his books, was influenced by the modernist movements in 1920s Paris, and continued to paint throughout his lifetime. He died in 1970.
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