10 Questions for E.L. Doctorow

Taken together, his 11 novels, which include Ragtime and Billy Bathgate, retell the past 150 years of American history. Doctorow's new work, The March, narrates General Sherman's Civil War campaign and just earned the author his second PEN/Faulkner prize for fiction. Doctorow spoke to TIME's Lev Grossman about his novel, his generation and his country's newest war.

SO ... WHAT DO I CALL YOU? E.L.? Well, my first name is Edgar. My father liked [Edgar Allan] Poe's work very much. He liked a lot of bad writers. But Poe is our greatest bad writer, so that's my consolation.

WHY THE CIVIL...

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