Published in 1975, Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century and the First World War. The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disap- pears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J. P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sig- mund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family and other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler and a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence. The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with afford- able hardbound editions of impor- tant works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy- fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torch- bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau- gurating a new program of selecting titles. The ModernLibrary continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.
supercodes (USA: ME) (2007/04/24): I read this for my Freshman orientation in college. At first I read this as a necessity to know what would be going on upon my entrance into college, but after I was well into it, I realized I was genuinely interested in this book! Ragtime deserves its recognition as a notable work of literature in modern America. It reflects on a time long gonem when the 20th century was growing into itself with all the political upheaval and larger than life characters scattered across newspapers and magazines, all at the same time revolving the simplicity/complexity of everyday life and growing up to the best of one's ability. This is a tale comprising so many different storylines and characters, that it creates a vast rich landscape that seems to all come together in the end to create a more than satisfying ending. Fantastic read!