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John Dos Passos

John Roderigo Dos Passos (;}}}} January 14, 1896 – September 28, 1970) was an American novelist and artist active in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Chicago, Illinois, he graduated from Harvard College 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 an ambulance driver for American volunteer groups in Paris and Italy before joining the United States Army Medical Corps.

In 1920 his first novel, ''One Man's Initiation: 1917'', was published, and in 1925 his novel, ''Manhattan Transfer'', became a commercial success. In 1928, he went to the Soviet Union to study socialism, and later became a leading participant in the 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 his friend José Robles soured his attitude toward communism, and led to severing his relationship with fellow writer Ernest Hemingway.

Dos Passos 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 campaigned for presidential candidates Barry Goldwater and Richard M. Nixon.

An artist as well as a novelist, Dos Passos created his own cover art for his books, was influenced by modernism in 1920s Paris and painted. He died on September 28, 1970, in Baltimore. Spence's Point, his Virginia estate, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
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