While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in Steinbeck’s work of the late 1930s, he narrowed his focus when composing Of Mice and Men (1937), creating an intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness. But though the scope is narrow, the theme is universal: a friendship and shared dream that make an individual’s existence meaningful.
"Ignorance is Bliss"
This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families - the Trasks and the Hamiltons - whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.
"American classic, not to be missed."
At once naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most American of American classics. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are forced to travel west to the promised land of California.
"Wonderful Tale Punctuated with Loud Harmonic Licks"
In September 1960, John Steinbeck and his poodle, Charley, embarked on a journey across America, from small towns to growing cities to glorious wilderness oases. Travels with Charley is animated by Steinbeck’s attention to the specific details of the natural world and his sense of how the lives of people are intimately connected to the rhythms of nature—to weather, geography, the cycles of the seasons. His keen ear for the transactions among people is evident, too, as he records the interests and obsessions that preoccupy the Americans he encounters along the way.
"Needed a Vacation took one with Charlie"
In this short book illuminated by a deep understanding and love of humanity, John Steinbeck retells an old Mexican folk tale: the story of the great pearl, how it was found, and how it was lost. For the diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl means the promise of a better life for his impoverished family. His dream blinds him to the greed and suspicions the pearl arouses in him and his neighbors, and even his loving wife cannot temper his obsession or stem the events leading to the tragedy. For Steinbeck, Kino and his wife illustrate the fall from innocence of people who believe that wealth erases all problems.
"Extremely poignant; incredible listen."
Published in 1945, Cannery Row focuses on the acceptance of life as it is: both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual. Drawing on his memories of the real inhabitants of Monterey, California, Steinbeck interweaves the stories of Doc, Henri, Mack and his boys, and the other characters in this world where only the fittest survive, to create a novel that is at once one of his most humorous and most poignant works.
"Five stars with a Caveat"
In awarding John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent, he had “resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American."
"Do the Ends Justify the Means?"
"Free men cannot start a war, but once it is started, they can fight on in defeat." This compelling, dignified and moving novel was inspired by and based upon the Nazi invasion of neutral Norway. Set in an imaginary European mining town, it shows what happens when a ruthless totalitarian power is up against an occupied democracy with an overwhelming desire to be free.
"A great one but not the best"
Based on the epic novel by Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck. Set during the Great Depression, tells the powerful story of the Joad family’s trek from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to the promise of a new life in California. But what they find threatens to rip apart their lives, and sever the ties that bind them together.
"Dramatization killed it for me"
Set in familiar Steinbeck territory, To a God Unknown is a mystical tale, exploring one man's attempt to control the forces of nature and, ultimately, to understand the ways of God.
"My Favorite Steinbeck; Terrible and Beautiful"
This 1936 novel—set in the California apple country—portrays a strike by migrant workers that metamorphoses from principled defiance into blind fanaticism.
The Log from the Sea of Cortez is the exciting day-by-day account of Steinbeck's trip to the Gulf of California with biologist Ed Ricketts. Drawn from the longer Sea of Cortez, it is a wonderful combination of science, philosophy, and high-spirited adventure.
"Devoted Steinbeck fans only."
Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a Camelot on a shabby hillside above the town of Monterey, California, and peopled it with a colorful band of knights. At the center of the tale is Danny, whose house, like Arthur’s castle, becomes a gathering place for men looking for adventure, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging—men who fiercely resist the corrupting tide of honest toil and civil rectitude.
"A Good Book"
More than three decades after his death, John Steinbeck remains one of the nation's most beloved authors. Yet few know of his career as a journalist who covered world events from the Great Depression to Vietnam. Now, this original collection offers a portrait of the artist as citizen, deeply engaged in the world around him. In addition to the complete text of Steinbeck's last published book, America and Americans, this volume brings together for the first time more than 50 of Steinbeck's finest essays and jouralistic pieces.
"Really good Steinbeck journalism.....no kidding!"
In 1943 John Steinbeck was on assignment for The New York Herald Tribune, writing from Italy and North Africa, and from England in the midst of the London blitz. In his dispatches he focuses on the human-scale effect of the war, portraying everyone from the guys in a bomber crew to Bob Hope on his USO tour and even fighting alongside soldiers behind enemy lines. Taken together, these writings create an indelible portrait of life in wartime.
Raised on a ranch in northern California, Jody is well-schooled in the hard work and demands of a rancher's life. He is used to the way of horses, too; but nothing has prepared him for the special connection he will forge with Gabilan, the hot-tempered pony his father gives him. With Billy Buck, the hired hand, Jody tends and trains his horse, restlessly anticipating the moment he will sit high upon Gabilan's saddle. But when Gabilan falls ill, Jody discovers there are still lessons he must learn about the ways of nature and, particularly, the ways of man.
"Steinbeck maybe about his youth?"
Streetwise George and his big, childlike friend Lennie are drifters, searching for work in the fields and valleys of California. They have nothing except the clothes on their back, and a hope that one day they’ll find a place of their own and live the American dream. But dreams come at a price. Gentle giant Lennie doesn’t know his own strength, and when they find work at a ranch he gets into trouble with the boss’s daughter-in-law. Trouble so bad that even his protector George may not be able to save him....
"As Good as They Get"
In his first novel to follow the publication of his enormous success, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck's vision comes wonderfully to life in this imaginative and unsentimental chronicle of a bus traveling California's back roads, transporting the lost and the lonely, the good and the greedy, the stupid and the scheming, the beautiful and the vicious away from their shattered dreams and, possibly, toward the promise of the future. This edition features an introduction by Gary Scharnhorst.
"A Steinbeck masterpiece below the radar"
Set against the backdrop of America's Great Depression and Dust Bowl, a family of farmers from Oklahoma head west in search of work, only to discover thousands like them are also on the move. Following a violent altercation with some locals, they head back on the road with their dream of a promised land in tatters. And life is set to get much worse for the Joads....
En Californie, pendant la Grande Crise, Lennie et George vont de ferme en ferme. Ils louent leurs bras en attendant le jour où ils auront leur ferme à eux, avec un petit bout de luzerne pour élever des lapins. Lennie, malgré sa taille de colosse, n'a pas plus de malice qu'un enfant de six ans ; George veille sur lui, le protège du monde qui n'est pas tendre aux innocents. Le soir, ils se racontent leur rêve, celui de la maison et des lapins. Mais allez savoir pourquoi, les rêves de certains finissent toujours en cauchemars.