Retiree, nomadic adventure traveler
As a current traveler in a small RV, I began this novel while in Nebraska and finished in Albuquerque New Mexico. The surprising similarities I have encounters with meeting other travelers and people, in general, is astonishing.
Although, I have crisscrossed from Key West to Fairbanks Alaska, for the past twenty years via motorcycle and now RV. I have always marveled at the complex and diverse nature of Americans I have encountered.
It is important for all American's to visit and tour our great country via the back roads, traveling from town to town. US College, students especially need to learn the US before traveling abroad to other parts of the world.
I feel there will always remain some form of racial, political, religious discriminations in America based on uneducated people living in any section of the US isolated from the diversity.
The novel describes the south during his time, is an exact eye opening experience.
Currently, those racial epithets are not as blatant, because they would never tell me a 5'10, 275, black man who is spending money in their establishment, their true feelings.
I guess because of my imposing African-American presence and capitalism overrules racial prejudice. :-)
This is a great novel, and a must read for anyone wanting to travel the US especially by automobile. Great Read.
I loved how he prefaced his expectations as he drove into the southern US states and yet his experiences were what was to be expected from the vilest ignorant people imaginable.
Gary Sinise's voice speaks volumes for the nonchalant experiences Stien Beck encountered.
The traveling experiences across the entire US although the ignorance of what he encountered in the deep south only emphasizes that everything in life come with encounters that will last a lifetime.
An inspiring travel novel. :-)
Middle-aged, married dad of two, living in Northern Burbs of Chicago. Hard Sci Fi addict, and lover of great storytelling. Almost all of my reading is now in audio format.
I like the idea of a nationwide road trip, and I like that Steinbeck finds meaning in the people he interacts with and the mundane situations in which he finds himself.
That said, I think he forgets that the undertaking as a whole really is rather mundane. I think with the exception of his travels through the South, he plays up drama that isn't there, and hints to danger and fear when there really isn't any reason for it. Let's be clear, in 1961 he custom ordered a 3/4 ton GMC pickup, outfitted it with a custom-ordered camper, and drove it around the US with his dog. I know it was over 50 years ago, but seriously, how dramatic can it be? He was basically an early member of the old-man-in-an-RV social group.
Again, that said, his observations of the racial unrest in the Deep South at the time were really quite dramatic, and probably had a genuine potential for danger.
It's ok, but not profound.
It was too much talk about his feelings. I just wanted to hear about what he saw.
No, I like Bill Bryson very Much. He is funny as well.
G. L. Edwards
Steinbeck (for me) is truly the last, great American author. Steinbeck puts the Reader right in the passenger seat. He is filled with so many cogent insights & epitaphs about America . . . an America we find out hasn't changed all that much.
There seemed very little characters development. The author should have added life to the people he encountered along his travels.
The narrator spoke so slowly it was almost painful to listen to. I had to listen to this at 2x speed.
Worth "reading"... Story captures your wunderlust in the first few minutes. Steinbeck lives on Long Island, but longs to visit the USA and its people. Charlie, his poodle, is the perfect, silent traveling companion. The people Steinbeck meets along the way provide the adventure.If you're ever in Salinas, you have to visit the National Steinbeck Center. Rocinante was on exhibit the last time I was there. It was Steinbeck's vessel for his journey of a lifetime.
Rocinante, because the mighty machine provided the adventure.
Gary has a great voice and provides colorful reflection on the author's words.
Steinbeck starting out and finding his stuff scattered all over Rocinante. Out of choas came order?
The actual story itself could have made this a 4 or 5. I don't know why an actor of great prestige would have wanted to read such a book.
Yes... Steinbeck does have great fiction... this nonfiction was the worst
All of it...
I expected an story and view of Americana,,, geography and culture, but found the author's politics and prejudices interfering in what could have been a great account of his travels.
As Steinbeck said that The Badlands were no more representative of America than was Disneyworld, I would say that The Coopers, or the Cheerleaders, or his Texas hosts were no more representative of the families I have known as a life long resident of Texas and Louisiana.
No. Very narrow minded and biased concerning the South! There are other time periods and peoples who have been sadly illtreated in the history of this country. Someone was grouchy and homesick by the time he reached the south!
His narrow minded telling of his single experience with the South. There are many good things about the South that he failed to see. Perhaps he was wearing blinders when he reached the South in addition to cutting this part of his experience short. He missed much in his opinated abuse of our Southern states. Many of us have loving, positive experiences and memories with our black friends just as he did growing up in CA.
Until he reached the South and treated it so poorly, it was interesting.
Excellent performance - very poor ending! What a jerk! And what a pity party we were having by the time we reached the beautiful Southern states of this great country.
John Steinbeck is a pretentious jerk, a poor journalist and missed America on the trip.
And when he starts waxing poetic - just shoot me.....please.
Gary Sinise does a terrific job as narrator.