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In Dubious Battle

Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (266 ratings)

Regular price: $28.00

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Publisher's Summary

This 1936 novel—set in the California apple country—portrays a strike by migrant workers that metamorphoses from principled defiance into blind fanaticism.

©1936 John Steinbeck (P)2011 Penguin

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The best story - ever ! Awesome narrator !!!!!!!!!

Would you listen to In Dubious Battle again? Why?

Yes, great story of the ever present struggle of Little Man and Big Man and how Group Man must be smarter than Small Men are dumb.

What did you like best about this story?

The narrator is fantastic - changes sound to capture all the characters (voices, personalities, etc). Steinbeck is the Yoda of exposing and exploring the nature of men. He brings in thru the back door and into the living room without telling you which house you are in

Which character – as performed by Tom Stechschulte – was your favorite?

London

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Didn't want to "put it down", but it is pretty heady stuff, so you might need a break in the middle.

Any additional comments?

This is better than reading it and better than a movie

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping and relevant

I'd call this a political thriller. Was amazed at how relevant it still is. Steinbeck's command of story and character is excellent, as is the narrator's performance. Highly recommended, even for a first timer to Steinbeck.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Seemed to drag on

Any additional comments?

I'm new to audiobooks and Steinbeck, listened to Of Mice and Men and absolutely loved it. I do like how Steinbeck writes and describes everything. In Dubious Battle comes and goes with me. At times I really like the story then at times I feel like the story just keeps going and going and doesn't get anymore interesting. I have about 3-hrs left but doubt my opinion will vary much upon completion. However, I plan on listening to East of Eden and would like to listen to more Steinbeck. I would just think that there are better Steinbeck's out there. The narration is very good though.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

amazing<br />

loved it! it was another awesome story from John steinbeck. from an Era that he does so well! highly recommend if you love john steinbeck do not miss this book!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Into the heart

What an Incredibly realistic Journey into the Heart of a different American dream. This was, by far, the easiest book I've ever listened to, and I am now thoroughly addicted to John Steinbeck. What an insightful author. Rave reviews for the gentleman that read this as well. Bravo!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best. absolutely loved this one.

such a great story, great performance by Tom stechsulte. made it seem like there was more than one person reading the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • jaye
  • GREENWICH, CT, United States
  • 10-24-12

selfless attempts to get decent wages for working.

If you could sum up In Dubious Battle in three words, what would they be?

fighting the good fight

What was one of the most memorable moments of In Dubious Battle?

memorable is not the word. but i found these men had high values and they were selfless. they were fighting for every wage earner that was not being paid fairly for their work.

What about Tom Stechschulte’s performance did you like?

wonderful. and the reader brings a lot to the book. five star reader!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

swimming upstream

Any additional comments?

this was not one of my favorite steinbeck books, but still i rated the story a 4. i think steinbeck could write a good book in his sleep. he just can't go wrong. he had so much talent!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Rick
  • Urcuqui, Ecuador
  • 04-06-19

A Steinbeck Gem

This 1936 novel about an apple-pickers’ strike in California is often considered one of Steinbeck’s best works, even though it’s not one of his best-known. While it may be a bit of a period piece, it’s also a tightly crafted story with constant drama and strong central characters. The pacing alone is a work of art. So are Steinbeck’s legendary descriptive and dialogue skills.

Mac McLeod is a union organizer, generally assumed to be a communist, who arrives with his young acolyte, Jim Nolan, to encourage a strike by men whose pay has just been cut by the apple growers. What follows could be a parable for today’s hyper-polarized political environment.

The owners and laborers exist at the far ends of the spectrum. But Doc Burton, a reliable volunteer of health services for striking workers, is a rare exception.

“I want to see the whole picture, as nearly as I can,” he says. “I don’t want to put on the blinders of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and limit my vision. If I use the term ‘good’ on a thing, I’d lose my license to inspect it. Because there might be ‘bad’ in it, don’t you see? I want to be able to look at the whole thing.”

But Mac insists, “How about social injustice, the profit system? You have to say they’re bad”—thus missing the doctor’s point, or illustrating it. The “Red” labor agitator can’t see the big picture any more than the corporate farmers can.

Mac hopes for violence, to keep the men fired up. He obsesses constantly over the danger that the strikers will lose their nerve, and he will do anything to maintain it. He worries about boredom, rain, food shortages, leadership—anything. The end justifies the means, and the orchard owners would agree, but from an entirely different perspective.

It’s an excellent read, and Tom Stechschulte is a great reader.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Essential Reading for Steinbeck Lovers

Written and published in the heart of the depression before his literary star exploded, this novel establishes his understanding and empathy with the common people suffering in this extreme economic period. The great abundance of available labor fostered extremely inequitable employment situations for most people. Many were forced to accept starvation wages.
We, who were there to witness these times in person, are able to see the detail and the daily suffering in “In Dubious Battle.” Steinbeck sets the story in the apple orchards of northern California. His telling of the story rings with such an authenticity that lets the reader know that this story could be in any industry in any part of the country during the great economic tragedy of the times. He exposes the excess of both sides of the labor dispute, the growers taking unfair advantage of the labor situation to fatten their wallets, and the union organizers (in this case communists) who blithely expose the workers to extreme risk.
This is another of JS’s dialogue-driven novels. He uses the vernacular of the depression era manual labor class to give his characters creditable reality. His narratives using the characters own word are terse and intense. Expect a short but intense novel-reading experience.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

good read

even though it was a school assignment it was very entertaining and a very good read.