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The Good Earth | [Pearl S. Buck]

The Good Earth

This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.
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Publisher's Summary

This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall.

Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

©1958 Pearl S. Buck; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A beautiful, beautiful book. At last we read, in the pages of a novel, of the real people of China." (Saturday Review)
"The Good Earth has style, power, coherence and a pervasive sense of dramatic reality." (New York Times Book Review)
"To read this story of Wang Lung is to be slowly and deeply purified; and when the last page is finished it is as if some significant part of one's own days were over." (Bookman)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1956 )
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4.5 (1109 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Deb New Milford, CT, United States 12-28-11
    Deb New Milford, CT, United States 12-28-11 Member Since 2009
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    "A Must Read for All Ages"

    This timeless classic covers poverty, adversity, and endurance. It also conveys unconditional love and loyalty. Still a story for our modern time about what's really important in life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fran Jacksonville, OR, United States 10-23-11
    Fran Jacksonville, OR, United States 10-23-11 Member Since 2011
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    "LOVED IT!"

    I had read the book over 40 years ago --it has held up well. Great historical fiction with wonderful writing. Especially interesting in view of recent changes in China -- it's truly amazing how much has changed in 100 years. Be sure to read Parts 2 and 3 -- I never knew it was a trilogy and am so glad I found out. The experience of sitting back and listening to this story unfold was a real treat -- I hated to have it end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joya 10-22-11
    Joya 10-22-11 Member Since 2010
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    "A Facinating Journey into the Past"

    Published in 1931, "The Good Earth" is the first in "The House of Earth" trilogy. The book was awarded the Pulitzer prize in 1932, and its author, Pearl S. Buck went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. It is the beautifully written story of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer with a deep and enduring love for his land. The story spans his lifetime from young adulthood until his old age near his death. The setting is rural pre-Revolution China. The language is simple and dispassionate. The characters are flawed but richly presented. The themes are universal, timeless and filled with irony. It is a story of the passions that drive all human beings to achievement and often to tragedy and destruction. The author takes us on an emotional journey of ambition, survival, the attainment of wealth, self-sacrifice, family, the abandonment of traditional values and of lust. The contrast between modern Western culture and the Chinese agrarian culture at that time is striking, and I perceived that the story contained a faint thread of disdain for that society's treatment of women. As a modern woman, this particular quality is not difficult to identify with, but I found it to be slightly unsettling. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but found that while the author presents the characters and customs with affection, she remains firmly an outsider with a voice tainted - almost imperceptibly - common to Western writers who find themselves immersed in an alien culture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorraine United States 10-14-11
    Lorraine United States 10-14-11
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    3
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    "Beautifully Narrated Classic"

    I listened to this book to try to remember it from 30+ years ago...the narration was so believable, a truely theatric performance without too much drama or force of character voices. The story is a life lesson, and affected me with a sense of acceptance and balance. It also took me away to another land and another time, culturally.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashley Athens, GA, United States 09-30-11
    Ashley Athens, GA, United States 09-30-11
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    "A great story with a great story teller..."

    I really liked the voice of this book. The characters were real and it was a frightening look at the cycles of greed--and how one generation would never understand the previous or the following. I thought the characters were real and you could see how they fell into their corrupt paths. Glad to have this in my library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 09-22-11
    Laura 09-22-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enoyable"

    This was a well written and enjoyable story. I thought that the narrator was especially good!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy United States 04-23-11
    Nancy United States 04-23-11
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    "The Good Earth, yes indeed"

    I had seen the 1930's movies in the '60's when I was 10 and the book has the same effect, it will long remain in your memory of the people who lived the lives within the pages. The history and culture are definate of the times Ms Buck shows us. This is a classic story and it continues to live on in literary history

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarrie Bolingbrook, IL, United States 02-23-11
    Sarrie Bolingbrook, IL, United States 02-23-11
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    "I was sad when it was over."

    I love Asian fiction; i.e. Amy Tan. This is written in the same style and follows three generations of a family while it moves from rags to riches. A very interesting peek into life in this time and place in history. Worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Red Emma Seattle, WA USA 02-18-11
    Red Emma Seattle, WA USA 02-18-11
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    "I would give this 10 stars if I could!"

    I thoroughly enjoyed the narration of this book. Anthony Heald really brought to life the characters. Can't recommend it more highly. Great story, great reading of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Evansville, IN, United States 12-23-10
    Jean Evansville, IN, United States 12-23-10
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    3
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    "Now I know why it is a classic"

    The story grabbed me from the start and kept my interest tight the whole book. That rarely happens for me. Loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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