The Book of Daniel, by E.L. Doctorow

The Book of Daniel, by E.L. Doctorow

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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.

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 book rich in characters, from elderly grandmothers of immigrant culture, to covert radicals of the McCarthy era, to hippie marchers on the Pentagon. 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.

“This is an extraordinary contemporary novel, a stunning work.” - San Francisco Chronicle

“Stirring, brilliant, very moving.” - Houston Post