While writing

Adventures of a Young Man

(1939) John Dos Passos decided to organize each of his

District of Columbia

novels around the life of a member of the Spotswood family. The idealistic, radical Glenn’s story anchored the first narrative;

Number One

(1943) follows Glenn’s older, cynical, alcoholic brother Tyler. Although the immediate sales and reviews were promising,

Number One

fell quickly out of favor with readers and critics, and is generally regarded among scholars as the weakest book in the D.C. trilogy. One reason for this is that it’s obviously based on the career of Huey P. Long (1893-1935), and it’s anything but nuanced. Sinclair Lewis had written

It Can’t Happen Here

(1935), a critique of Long’s methods if not his politics (dictator Buzz Windrip is a…

1817 words

Citation: Dougherty, David C.. "Number One". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2015 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3112, accessed 19 April 2024.]

3112 Number One 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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