During his lifetime E. L. Doctorow was a remarkable phenomenon among contemporary American novelists. He was a serious writer who was popular, a political writer who was a stylist, an original writer who was highly eclectic and an historical writer who invented the past. In this study, originally published in 1985, Paul Levine follows Doctorow’s progress as a novelist and traces the development of certain themes that recur in his work including the relationships between history and imagination, between high and popular culture and between political content and radical style. He also examines Doctorow’s notion of the writer as witness and actor and of writing as a subversive activity, two concerns which link him with important writers in Europe and Latin America. The book should provide a valuable and comprehensive coverage of his work to date, including the films of Ragtime and The Book of Daniel.