Date(s) - 04/12/18
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Pritzker Military Library
Pritzker Military Library
James McGrath Morris, The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War
Thursday, April 12, 2018 6:00pm
Join us as author James McGrath Morris discusses two aspiring writers who forged an intense twenty-year friendship and wrote some of America’s greatest novels, giving voice to a “lost generation” shaken by war.
Eager to find his way in life and words, John Dos Passos first witnessed the horror of trench warfare in France as a volunteer ambulance driver retrieving the dead and seriously wounded from the front line. Later in the war, he briefly met another young writer, Ernest Hemingway, who was just arriving for his service in the ambulance corps. When the war was over, both men knew they had to write about it; they had to give voice to what they felt about war and life. Their friendship and collaboration developed through the peace of the 1920s and 1930s, as Hemingway’s novels soared to success while Dos Passos penned the greatest antiwar novel of his generation, Three Soldiers. In war, Hemingway found adventure, women, and a cause. Dos Passos saw only oppression and futility. Their different visions eventually turned their private friendship into a bitter public fight, fueled by money, jealousy, and lust. Rich in evocative detail–from Paris cafes to the Austrian Alps, from the streets of Pamplona to the waters of Key West–The Ambulance Drivers is a biography of a turbulent friendship between two of the century’s greatest writers, and an illustration of how war both inspires and destroys, unites and divides. –Publisher
JAMES MCGRATH MORRIS is an author of biographies and narrative nonfiction. Aside from his new work on Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos, his books include the New York Times Bestselling Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press, Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power, The Rose Man of Sing Sing: A True Tale of Life, Murder, and Redemption in the Age of Yellow Journalism and, Jailhouse Journalism: The Four Estate Behind Bars.
Morris has written extensively for newspapers and magazines, as well as some academic journals. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Morris spent a decade as a journalist, a decade working in the book and magazine business, and a decade as a high school teacher. He is the former president of Biographers International Organization, of which he was among the original founders. Morris earned his bachelor’s degree from American University and his master’s from George Washington University.