Dos Passos Reports on the “Bonus Army,” 1932

A family member shared this Library of America blog post with me.  It concerns my grandfather’s writing on the “Bonus Army” encampment in Washington, DC in 1932.

His essay on the marchers was printed in the book, In All Countries, found in Library of America’s edition of collected travel writings.


Here is an excerpt:

Anacostia Flats is the ghost of an army camp from the days of the big parade, with its bugle calls, its messlines, greasy K. P.’s, M. P.’s, headquarters, liaison officers, medical officer. Instead of the tents and the long tarpaper barracks of those days, the men are sleeping in little leantos built out of old newspapers, cardboard boxes, packing crates, bits of tin or tarpaper where to buy cabergoline online roofing, old shutters, every kind of cockeyed makeshift shelter from the rain scraped together out of the city dump.

 …One of the strangest sights Pennsylvania Avenue has ever seen was a long line of ex-service men, hunched under their bedticking full of straw, filling up a long stairway in the middle of a particularly demolished fourstory garage that the police department had turned over to them. The cops and ex-service men play baseball together in the afternoon; they are buddies together. 

 The arrival of the bonus army seems to be the first event to give the inhabitants of Washington any inkling that something is happening in the world outside of their drowsy sunparlor…