Book Circle Reads 24Rating: 3.5* of fiveThe Book Description: On one level An American Tragedy is the story of the corruption and destruction of one man, Clyde Griffiths, who forfeits his life in desperate pursuit of success. On a deeper, more profound level, however, the novels represents a massive portrayal of the society whose values both shape Clyde's tawdry ambitions and seal his fate. Clyde Griffiths is a young man, from the poor branch of his family but with ambitions of making the big-time; and seeks a start in his rich uncle's factory. He gets a poor girl pregnant, Roberta Alden, who works with him at the factory; but then something better turns up in the form of a rich girl, offering a much better future. Meeting the rich girl at a family function at his uncle's home makes him suddenly regret getting involved with Roberta, and he feels trapped. He takes Roberta canoeing on a lake with the intention of pushing her into the water, changes his mind at the last moment, but she falls into the lake and drowns...and he can never prove that it wasn't what he had planned. His fate is sealed, he is found guilty of murder. A dramatic story, it was based on a real life murder trial of the 1920s, and the success of Dreiser's novel saw it made into a film in the 1950s -- A Place in the Sun, which starred Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters and Elizabeth Taylor.My Review: Watch the movie. The "novel" is bloated and Dreiser's prose is as wooden as a plank.