THE PROSPECT BEFORE US by John Dos Passos

THE PROSPECT BEFORE US

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When John Dos Passos writes in the role of reporter, his gift as narrator and perceptive observer is evident and his material challenging. When, on the other hand, he poses as lecturer, with interpolated heckling from characters in the dwindling audience, he is stilted and dull and the reader shares the audience's rather caustic recognition of his tendency to deviate from his goal and to dodge issues. This artificial framework of his ""grassroots examination of post-war life"" takes from its impact, and requires recurrent adjustments with each break in context. The basic material, however, should make the reader more analytical, more observant, of the shortcomings in our understanding, not only of what is happening elsewhere (Britain-South America) but close home. The throwback to London under the Blitz seems vivid enough but dated, except as backdrop for England under Socialism (a contradictory and disheartening picture). South America emerges as primarily dictator ridden, resentful of America's shortcomings and lack of understanding. Our own country is explored through the agricultural belt (much the most encouraging aspect), mining, industry, the unions, etc. A few high spots- a good many low spots, the overall purpose a desire to show life under the systems now operating and stress the importance of providing positive values rather than theories as antidote to Communism...Dos Passos name will carry this beyond its innate values.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1950
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin