->''"In 1902 father built a house at the crest of the Broadview Avenue hill in New Rochelle, New York, and it seemed, for some years thereafter, that all the family's days would be warm and fair."''
-->-- "Prologue: Ragtime" (from TheMusical)

'''''Ragtime''''' is a 1975 historical fiction novel by E. L. Doctorow. It takes place in and around NewYorkCity between 1900 and 1917, and follows three fictional American families whose lives intersect with those of various major historical figures from the time, such as Evelyn Nesbit, Harry Houdini, Emma Goldman, Booker T. Washington, Henry Ford and J.P. Morgan. The three families are: an upper-class [=WASP=] family from New Rochelle, consisting of [[NoNameGiven a grandfather, a father, a mother, their son, and the mother's younger brother]]; a talented young black pianist Coalhouse Walker Jr., his girlfriend Sarah, and their son; and a Jewish Eastern European immigrant and his young daughter. [[SceneryPorn It is written with a ridiculous amount of detail]], approaching JRR Tolkien levels.

In 1981 it was adapted into a [[TheFilmOfTheBook film version]], written by Michael Weller and Bo Goldman and directed by Milos Foreman. The film, which featured Howard E. Rollins Jr., Creator/MandyPatinkin, and James Cagney (among others), was nominated for eight AcademyAwards.

It was further adapted into a [[TheMusical musical]] with a book by Terrence [=McNally=], lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. The original cast included Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra [=McDonald=] and Marin Mazzie. It was nominated for twelve Tony awards, and won four: Best Featured Actress ([=McDonald=]), Original Score, Book, and Orchestrations. A revival of the musical opened on Broadway on November 15, 2009 after transferring from a successful regional production located in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It closed January 15, 2010.

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!!Includes examples of:
* AllMusicalsAreAdaptations
* AmericanDream: If it were possible to kill tropes, this one would be dead.
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler: Sarah, Coalhouse, Father and Younger Brother and Grandfather in the novel as well]]
** Although [[spoiler: Father's]] death is only mentioned in the epilogue.
* AxCrazy: Coalhouse after [[spoiler: Sarah's death]]
* BigNo: Coalhouse, once again after [[spoiler: Sarah's death.]] It works.
** Father gets to have one as well [[spoiler: at the end of the play when Coalhouse steps outside the library with his hands up, only to be gunned down.]]
* BigApplesauce: The majority of the plot takes place in New York and the surrounding area.
* BilingualBonus: Or Quadralingual. "A Shtetl is Amerike" has three separate parts, being sung at the same time. The languages are Yiddish, Italian, and ''Creole.''
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Coalhouse, Sarah, and Father]] are all dead, but the rest of cast is (generally) happy!
* {{Bookends}}: The prologue/epilogue
* CrowdSong: "'Til we Reach That Day", "Prologue"
* DarkReprise: "Prologue:Ragtime", "Wheels of a Dream", though it then gets a light reprise also, and "Your Daddy's Son", though the original was already dark, the reprise is much darker.
* DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife: Younger Brother, until "The Night That Goldman Spoke at Union Square." Then he goes kind of crazy with the newfound purpose.
* DoubleMeaningTitle
* EpicRocking: "Till We Reach That Day", "New Music", "Journey On", "Make Them Hear You", the reprise of "Wheels of a Dream" in the epilogue.
* FinalLoveDuet: subverted, "Sarah Brown Eyes" is a flashback
* HeroicBSOD / BSODSong: "Coalhouse's Soliloquy"
* HistoricalDomainCharacter
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: J.P. Morgan
* InThePastEveryoneWillBeFamous
* InspirationNod: Coalhouse's name is a ShoutOut to ''Literature/MichaelKohlhaas''.
* IWantSong: "Goodbye My Love", "Journey On" and "What Kind of Woman", in sequence.
* MeaningfulFuneral: [[spoiler:Sarah's]]
* MoodWhiplash: "Sucess" going right into "His Name Was Coalhouse Walker"? "Wheels of a Dream" to Tateh [[spoiler: working his fingers to bloody stumps at the loom?]] Yeah, the play was full of this.
** "Atlantic City" and the associated songs and "What a Game" in the rather grim second act.
* MotiveDecay: Coalhouse goes from seeking reparations for his car to terrorizing the city of New York as revenge for [[spoiler:Sarah's death.]]
** Lampshaded in the narration, where Booker T. Washington explains that Coalhouse choosing a target so wholly unconnected with his stated grievances was regarded as proof of his insanity.
* MsFanservice: in-universe: Evelyn Nesbit
* {{Narrator}}: At different times in TheMusical everyone behaves as if they were a third-person narrator.
* NoNameGiven: Father, Mother, (Mother's) Younger Brother, Grandfather, Tateh (which is just the Yiddish word for 'father'), the Little Girl.
** In fact, this is invoked so much that (historical figures aside), it might as well be a NamelessNarrative.
*** In TheMusical, The Little Boy is NamedByTheAdaptation, addressed onstage as "Edgar", named after E.L. Doctorow. WordOfGod says this was because it was too difficult to address him otherwise.
* NotSoDifferent: Coalhouse and Younger Brother ("He Wanted to Say")
* OverlyNarrowSuperlative: "And although the newspapers called the shooting the Crime of the Century, Goldman knew it was only 1906...and there were ninety-four years to go!"
* ScaryBlackMan: Quite literally, as the Coalhouses are black terrorists.
* SceneryPorn: The book is ''ridiculously'' detailed.
* ShootHimHeHasAWallet: [[spoiler: Sarah dies this way]]
* SidekickSong: "What a Game", "Crime of the Century"; in a semi-subversion "Atlantic City"
* StepfordSmiler: Mother is implied to have been this, but we only see her as she grows more and more independent and farther and farther away from Father.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: From Younger Brother to Father: "You are a complacent man with no thought of history! You have traveled everywhere and learned ''nothing''! '''I despise you.'''"
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The epilogue of TheMusical
* TwoLinesNoWaiting: There are three separate plotlines following the three families. They cross over and eventually become one towards the end.
* VillainousBreakdown: Since Fire Chief Will Conclin (Conklin?) is the closest thing to a villain in the show, he breaks down first in "Coalhouse Demands" and even more in "Look What You've Done."
* WaifProphet: Male variation, with the little boy who ''sees World War I coming'', and keeps trying to tell [[strike:people]] Harry Houndini that he needs to save Franz Ferdinand.
--> "Warn the duke!"
* WhamEpisode: [[spoiler:Sarah's death is the first of ''many'' in the last 15 chapters of the book.]]
* WhatTheHellHero: Booker T. Washington to Coalhouse in "Look What You've Done."
* WideEyedIdealist: Younger Brother during the first half of book.
* YiddishAsASecondLanguage: Makes sense, considering Tateh's Jewish.
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