In 1960, John Steinbeck set out to rediscover and document his native land; accompanied only by his dog, he travelled all across the United States in a pick-up truck. This "Penguin Classics" edition of "Travels with Charley" includes an introduction by Jay Parini. When he was almost sixty years old, worried that he might have lost touch with the ...Read MoreIn 1960, John Steinbeck set out to rediscover and document his native land; accompanied only by his dog, he travelled all across the United States in a pick-up truck. This "Penguin Classics" edition of "Travels with Charley" includes an introduction by Jay Parini. When he was almost sixty years old, worried that he might have lost touch with the sights, the sounds and the essence of America's people, Steinbeck took note of his itchy feet and prepared to travel. He was accompanied by his French poodle, Charley, diplomat and watchdog, across the states of America from Maine to California. Moving through the woods and deserts, dirt tracks and highways to large cities and glorious wildernesses, Steinbeck observed - with remarkable honesty and insight, with a humorous and sometimes sceptical eye - America, and the Americans who inhabited it. What he saw was a lonely, generous nation too packed with individuals for single judgements; what he saw made him proud, angry, sympathetic and elated. His vision of how the world was changing still speaks to us prophetically through the decades. John Steinbeck (1902-68), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for literature, is remembered as one of the greatest and best-loved American writers of the twentieth century. During the Second World War Steinbeck served as a war correspondent, his journalism later collected in "Once There Was a War" (1958), and he was awarded the Norwegian Cross of Freedom for his portrayal in "The Moon is Down" (1942) of Resistance efforts in northern Europe. His best-known works include the epics "The Grapes of Wrath" (1939) and "East of Eden" (1952), and his tragic novella "Of Mice and Men" (1937). John Steinbeck's complete works are published in "Penguin Modern Classics". If you enjoyed "Travels with Charley", you might like "Cannery Row", also available in "Penguin Modern Classics". "Pure delight, a pungent potpourri of places and people". ("The New York Times Book Review").Read Less
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This is the sweetest book I've read in a long time.
It's certainly a must read for anyone who loves people and dogs.
Aug 15, 2007
In Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck manages to be wise about so many things: Americans and the American landscape, being male, aging, hunting, the national impulse to "go" (that is, wanderlust and mobility), migratory workers (the subject of his great novel Grapes of Wrath), New Englanders' taciturn character, the madness of nuclear terror.
Like Hemingway, Steinbeck had achieved mastery over what he knew, but his prose style lacks the artifice of a Faulkner or Hemingway. He is more easily engaging and accessible. If some Eastern critics were dismissive of his "Biblical simplicities," to quote Norman Mailer, the following question might be asked: Need all 20th century American novelists be as tortured as those two self-conscious stylists? Besides, my guess is that John Steinbeck would've made a more companionable tour guide than either Papa, F. Scott or Big Daddy Faulkner. His book proves it. A wonderful and prescient journey into the heart of a lost America.
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