A Life in Letters

docWriter E. L. Doctorow passed away on Tuesday of this week. His critically acclaimed novels — among them “Ragtime,” and “The March” — placed fictional characters side by side with historical persons in settings ranging from the Civil War to the Cold War.   actual persons. For instance, in “Ragtime” (1975), the book that made his reputation, features cameos by JP Morgan, Henry Ford, and Harry Houdini as a middle class family collides with the social changes of the early 2oth centuty, His stories “seemed to both lay claim to authoritative historical perspective and undermine it with winking commentary” -as when  Freud and Jung, both visiting New York, take an amusement park boat ride together through the tunnel of love (!).  “Ragtime,” and The March” are on hand at the library.  “Billy Bathgate”, set in prohibition-era America , “The Book of Daniel”, about the children of a couple executed for espionage, and other titles can be had through inter-library loan.

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