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Tobacco Road | [Erskine Caldwell]

Tobacco Road

Set during the Depression in the depleted farmlands surrounding Augusta, Georgia, Tobacco Road was first published in 1932. It is the story of the Lesters, a family of white sharecroppers so destitute that most of their creditors have given up on them. Debased by poverty to an elemental state of ignorance and selfishness, the Lesters are preoccupied by their hunger, sexual longings, and fear that they will one day descend to a lower rung on the social ladder than the black families who live near them.
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Publisher's Summary

Set during the Depression in the depleted farmlands surrounding Augusta, Georgia, Tobacco Road was first published in 1932. It is the story of the Lesters, a family of white sharecroppers so destitute that most of their creditors have given up on them. Debased by poverty to an elemental state of ignorance and selfishness, the Lesters are preoccupied by their hunger, sexual longings, and fear that they will one day descend to a lower rung on the social ladder than the black families who live near them.

Caldwell's skillful use of dialect and his plain style make the book one of the best examples of literary naturalism in contemporary American fiction. The novel was adapted as a successful play in 1933.

©1932 Erskine Caldwell; (P)1998 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Caldwell's book is...well served by this classy performance, which manages to highlight the realism amid the rambunctiousness." (AudioFile)
"An original, mature approach to people who ignore the civilization that contains them as completely as it ignores them." (The Nation)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (29 )
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Performance
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  •  
    chris las vegas, NV, United States 07-18-10
    chris las vegas, NV, United States 07-18-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No Grapes of Wrath"

    Audible doesn't carry Grapes of Wrath at this point, but this book is a lesser-known, not as epic story of depression-era people living on a farm in Georgia. I thought the narration was great and it makes for a great short book. It lacked the seriousness of grapes of wrath, but was enjoyable not as a deep life-changing novel. I liked it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William M Storm MILWAUKEE, WI, United States 10-14-12
    William M Storm MILWAUKEE, WI, United States 10-14-12 Member Since 2012

    An academic who listens to novels on runs and commutes to campus.

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    "The Depression is Depressing"

    This is an unsympathetic view of depression-era life in Georgia. The opening scene of the Lester family stealing turnips from their son-in-law, Love, deploying their own hare-lip daughter as bait, is a stomach-turning incident. Because of the unsympathetic view, readers will find no character as morally praiseworthy. Each character has multiple foibles, and those failings overwhelm any depiction. Unlike the more famous Grapes of Wrath, the depression is so all-encompassing as to leave no hope for any of the characters, with all of the characters falling victim to their circumstances in some manner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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