The Ambulance Drivers

Set everywhere from the trenches of WWI Italy to the quaint cafés of Paris and the docks of Key West, James McGrath Morris’ revealing tome about the intertwining lives and friendship of writers John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway is a learned study in 20th century literary bravado. In a dual-narrative format, Morris expounds upon the two writers’ mainly warm, though ultimately unresolved rivalries. At heart is the politically disparate wellsprings of Dos Passos’ leftist wartime pacifism, and Hemingway’s war-hero persona, both of which were acquired during the writers’ times serving as ambulance drivers during WWI. Morris generates sympathy for the lauded (though less universally acclaimed) work of Dos Passos, while showing an aversion for Hemingway’s oftentimes gregarious aloofness. Extremely well-researched, The Ambulance Drivers is the tale of two American writers whose work was affected heavily by the angels and demons of a lost generation that conspired to put them at odds.