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The Book of Daniel: A Novel (1971)

por E. L. Doctorow

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,5432611,447 (3.8)87
Fiction. Literature. HTML:The central figure of this novel is a young man whose parents were executed for conspiring to steal atomic secrets for Russia.

His name is Daniel Isaacson, and as the story opens, his parents have been dead for many years. He has had a long time to adjust to their deaths. He has not adjusted.

Out of the shambles of his childhood, he has constructed a new life??marriage to an adoring girl who gives him a son of his own, and a career in scholarship. It is a life that enrages him.

In the silence of the library at Columbia University, where he is supposedly writing a Ph.D. dissertation, Daniel composes something quite different.

It is a confession of his most intimate relationships??with his wife, his foster parents, and his kid sister Susan, whose own radicalism so reproaches him.

It is a book of memories: riding a bus with his parents to the ill-fated Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill; watching the FBI take his father away; appearing with Susan at rallies protesting their parents?? innocence; visiting his mother and father in the Death House.

It is a book of investigation: transcribing Daniel??s interviews with people who knew his parents, or who knew about them; and logging his strange researches and discoveries in the library stacks.

It is a book of judgments of everyone involved in the case??lawyers, police, informers, friends, and the Isaacson family itself.

It is a book rich in characters, from elderly grand- mothers of immigrant culture, to covert radicals of the McCarthy era, to hippie marchers on the Pen-tagon. It is a book that spans the quarter-century of American life since World War II. It is a book about the nature of Left politics in this country??its sacrificial rites, its peculiar cruelties, its humility, its bitterness. It is a book about some of the beautiful and terrible feelings of childhood. It is about the nature of guilt and innocence, and about the relations of people to nations.

It is The Book of Daniel.

Cover art: Jasper Johns, Flag, 1954-55. Art ( c ) Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA,
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Inglês (24)  Sueco (1)  Holandês (1)  Todas as línguas (26)
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This book informed me about a part of history I knew little. The account of the trial of the Isaacsons was the best part of the book. Daniel himself; I did not like so much. The sexual politics of this book are objectionable. Daniel sees every woman as a sexual object (including his own sister!) and thinks every woman wants to have sex with him too. This stopped me from really enjoying the novel. ( )
  Twisk | Oct 2, 2023 |
Reason read; 2023, Sept botm
This is not my first book by Doctorow but it is my least favorite. It is the story of what would happen to the children when their parents were arrested and executed by the US government during the Cold War hysteria. It is of course a story based on the Rosenbergs but the names are changed. The children, Daniel and his sister, Susan, are students during the sixties.

The book is written in 4 parts with Daniel the main narrator;
1. Memorial Day, 1967, Daniel is married and has a child; closes with dropping of Atom Bomb
2. Halloween, children and the trial of parents to start
3. Starfish; refers to his sister Susan, Daniel is protesting, sister is dying
4. Christmas; closing of the trial, funerals of the parents

I did not like this book much mostly because it is sexually violent and explicit and it is physically violent. Daniel is not a person you can like. I am not a communist nor even a progressive. The books explores the politics around the arrest and execution. It is not hard to believe that the government may have lied and misrepresented facts. I still dislike the ideology behind left, progressive politics because it is a lie and capitalism is not evil or good. People are evil or good.

Quotes: "Leo Crowley, Harry's Foreign Economic Administrator, tells Congressmen the theory behind this move: "If you create good governments in foreign countries, automatically you will have better markets for ourselves."

What I liked; in the section Christmas, Disneyland at Christmas. "There are numerous references, usually in the form of rides, exhits or setores to figures or works of our literary heritage." And other figures of history, legends, myths. It is possible to to interpret the Disney organization's relentless program of adaptation of literature, myth and legend, as an attempt to escape these dark and rowdy conclusions of the genre....many of these characters are dark and rowdy..." "Disneyland proposes is a technique of abbreviated shorthand culture for the masses..." "Its real achievement, handling of crowds." So many good tidbits here.

Achievement
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006/2008/2010/2012 Edition)
Guardian 1000 (State of the nation)
National Book Award finalist (1972.2 | Fiction, 1972)
ALA Notable Books for Adults (1971) ( )
  Kristelh | Sep 15, 2023 |
Picked this up at Powell's some time ago after greatly enjoying Ragtime. Attempting to slowly read Doctorow forward. Hard Times was OK. This was next.

This is a difficult/uncomfortable novel to read. Our hero Daniel isn't very nice. There are amazing echoes of the sibling relationship (younger sister lust, institutionalization) in McCarthy's latest two books, to the point that I wonder at the influence.

I suppose this novel captures the madness of the moments, the heights of Cold War hysteria & hippiedom in levitating the Pentagon. I wasn't there, it is all historical/hysterical to me.

Given the political moments I have experienced, I no longer forswear nothing from the possible.

Ragtime was better, I am very hopeful of Waterworks, but have a few novels to get there. ( )
  kcshankd | Mar 13, 2023 |
The Book of Daniel is Doctorow's highly regarded fictional story of the Rosenbergs who were executed for spying in the 1950s. This is the first book of his that I've read and I'm interested in the subject matter, so I gave it a try. It's taken me a long time to get through it; the style is not something I really appreciate and I found a lot of the story inaccessible. I'm also somewhat of a conformist as a reader so I want stylistic choices to be meaningful. For example, I once read a lengthy book without much punctuation. After I got used to it, I enjoyed it. It helped the flow and made the story lyrical (the author was a poet). In The Book of Daniel, the author often switches time frames (no problem with that) but tenses within the same paragraph. Sometimes it's in third person and sometimes first, for no particular reason I could see. It reminded me of Wolf Hall, another book whose subject matter I found very interesting but was stylistically inaccessible.
I guess what I'm trying to say that while I enjoyed parts of this book, it wasn't really my cup of tea. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Feb 18, 2021 |
This is the third novel I have read by EL Doctorow, the first was "Ragtime" which was made into a very good film (James Cagney's last film) and "Billy Bathgate" which I picked up after seeing the film adaptation starring Dustin Hoffman in the role of the gangster Dutch Shultz. Daniel is the story of the two children of political activists who in the 1950s are accused of being spies for the Soviet Union. Rochelle and Paul Isaacsons are members of the Communist party during the time of the Red Scare. They are loosely based on the lives of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were tried, convicted, and executed for working as spies for the Soviet Union. The story is told through the eyes of Daniel with flashbacks. Reading this novel got me interested in learning about who the Rosenberg's were. If you are interested in history the case of the Rosenbergs is a fascinating story.

My favorite part of the book is when Daniel, who becomes a politically active adult, travels to California to find the old friend and accomplice of his parents in an attempt to tie a loose end. He is taken to Disneyland by the old friend's daughter. Before they find this man, Daniel describes the sights of Disneyland through his Left eye. He finds this old friend of his parents , a feeble old man riding a kitty ride in Tomorrowland. I recommend "The Book Of Daniel"

( )
  NAgis | May 6, 2020 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
E. L. Doctorowautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Deakins, MarkNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hoog, ElseTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Fiction. Literature. HTML:The central figure of this novel is a young man whose parents were executed for conspiring to steal atomic secrets for Russia.

His name is Daniel Isaacson, and as the story opens, his parents have been dead for many years. He has had a long time to adjust to their deaths. He has not adjusted.

Out of the shambles of his childhood, he has constructed a new life??marriage to an adoring girl who gives him a son of his own, and a career in scholarship. It is a life that enrages him.

In the silence of the library at Columbia University, where he is supposedly writing a Ph.D. dissertation, Daniel composes something quite different.

It is a confession of his most intimate relationships??with his wife, his foster parents, and his kid sister Susan, whose own radicalism so reproaches him.

It is a book of memories: riding a bus with his parents to the ill-fated Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill; watching the FBI take his father away; appearing with Susan at rallies protesting their parents?? innocence; visiting his mother and father in the Death House.

It is a book of investigation: transcribing Daniel??s interviews with people who knew his parents, or who knew about them; and logging his strange researches and discoveries in the library stacks.

It is a book of judgments of everyone involved in the case??lawyers, police, informers, friends, and the Isaacson family itself.

It is a book rich in characters, from elderly grand- mothers of immigrant culture, to covert radicals of the McCarthy era, to hippie marchers on the Pen-tagon. It is a book that spans the quarter-century of American life since World War II. It is a book about the nature of Left politics in this country??its sacrificial rites, its peculiar cruelties, its humility, its bitterness. It is a book about some of the beautiful and terrible feelings of childhood. It is about the nature of guilt and innocence, and about the relations of people to nations.

It is The Book of Daniel.

Cover art: Jasper Johns, Flag, 1954-55. Art ( c ) Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA,

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