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About the Author: E.L. Doctorow

E. L. DOCTOROW’S works of fiction include Homer & Langley,The March, Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, the Book of Daniel, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, The Waterworks, and All the Time in the World. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, The Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. In 2009 he was short listed for the Man Booker International Prize honoring a writer’s lifetime achievement in fiction, and in 2012 he won the PEN Saul Bellow Award given to an author whose “scale of achievement over a sustained career places him in the highest rank of American Literature.” In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction.


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Goodreads rating: 3.87

Paperback, Published in Apr 2015 by Little Brown

ISBN10: 0349140227 | ISBN13: 9780349140223

Page count: 464

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. As the story opens his parents have been dead for years. He's had a long time to adjust to their deaths. He hasn't adjusted. Out of the shambles of his childhood, he's constructed a new life--marriage to an adoring girl, a son & a career in scholarship. It's a life that enrages him. In the silence of the library at Columbia University, where he's supposedly writing a dissertation, Daniel composes something different. It's a confession of his most intimate relationships--with his wife, his foster parents & his kid sister Susan, whose own radicalism reproaches him. It's 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 them in the Death House. It's a book of investigation: transcribing Daniel's interviews with people who knew his parents, or who knew about them; & logging his strange researches & discoveries in the library stacks. It's a book of judgments of everyone involved in the case--lawyers, police, informers, friends & the Isaacson family itself. It's a book rich in characters, from elderly grandmothers of immigrant culture, to covert radicals of the McCarthy era, to hippie marchers on the Pentagon. It's a book that spans the quarter-century of American life since WWII. It's a book about the nature of Left politics in this country's sacrificial rites, its peculiar cruelties, its humility, its bitterness. It's a book about some of the beautiful & terrible feelings of childhood. It's about the nature of guilt & innocence, about the relations of people to nations. It's The Book of Daniel.

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