America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction

ISBN-10: 0142437417

ISBN-13: 9780142437414

Edition: 2002

Authors: John Steinbeck, Susan Shillinglaw, Jackson J. Benson

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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 fifty of Steinbeck's finest essays and jouralistic pieces.
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Book details

List price: $16.00
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 4/29/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 448
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.660
Language: English

In recent years Steinbeck has been elevated to a more prominent status among American writers of his generation. If not quite at the world-class artistic level of a Hemingway or a Faulkner, he is nonetheless read very widely throughout the world by readers of all ages who consider him one of the most "American" of writers. Born in Salinas County, California, Steinbeck was of German-Irish parentage. After four years as a special student at Stanford University, he went to New York, where he worked as a reporter and as a hod carrier. Returning to California, he devoted himself to writing, with little success; his first three books sold fewer than 3,000 copies. Tortilla Flat (1935), dealing with the paisanos, California Mexicans whose ancestors settled in the country 200 years ago, established his reputation. In Dubious Battle (1936), a labor novel of a strike and strike-breaking, won the gold medal of the Commonwealth Club of California. Of Mice and Men (1937), a long short story that turns upon a melodramatic incident in the tragic friendship of two farm hands, written almost entirely in dialogue, was an experiment and was dramatized in the year of its publication, winning the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. It brought him fame. Out of a series of articles that he wrote about the transient labor camps in California came the inspiration for his greatest book, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), the odyssey of the Joad family, dispossessed of their farm in the Dust Bowl and seeking a new home, only to be driven on from camp to camp. The fiction is punctuated at intervals by the author's voice explaining this new sociological problem of homelessness, unemployment, and displacement. As the American novel "of the season, probably the year, possibly the decade," it won the Pulitzer Prize. It roused America and won a broad readership by the unusual simplicity and tenderness with which Steinbeck treated social questions. Even today, The Grapes of Wrath remains alive as a vivid account of believable human characters seen in symbolic and universal terms as well as in geographically and historically specific ones. Ma Joad is one of the most memorable characters in twentieth-century American fiction. It is her courage that sustains the family. Steinbeck's best and most ambitious novel after The Grapes of Wrath is East of Eden (1952), a saga of two American families in California from before the Civil War through World War I. Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1947), and Sweet Thursday (1955) are lighter works that find Steinbeck returning to the lighthearted tone of Tortilla Flat as he recounts picaresque adventures of modern-day picaros. The Winter of Our Discontent (1961) struck some reviewers as being appropriately titled because of its despairing treatment of humanity's fall from grace in a wasteland world where money is king. Steinbeck also wrote important nonfiction, including Russian Journal (1948) in collaboration with the photographer Robert Capa; Once There Was a War (1958) and America and Americans (1966), which features pictures by 55 leading photographers and a 70-page essay by Steinbeck. His interest in marine biology led to two books primarily about sea life, Sea of Cortez (1941) (with Edward F. Ricketts) and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951). Travels with Charley (1952) is an engaging account of his journey of rediscovery of America, which took him through approximately 40 states.

Jackson J. Benson is an emeritusnbsp;professor of Englishnbsp;at San Diego State University. He is the author of several books, includingThe True Adventures of John Steinbeck,Writer: A Biography;The Ox-Bow Man: A Biography of Walter Van Tilburg Clark; andWallace Stegner: His Life and Work(available in a Bison Books edition).

Places of the Heart
Always Something to Do in Salinas
The Golden Handcuff
A Primer on the '30s
Making of a New Yorker
My War with the Ospreys
Conversation at Sag Harbor
Engaged Artist
Dubious Battle in California
The Harvest Gypsies: Squatters' Camps
Starvation Under the Orange Trees
From Writers Take Sides
I Am a Revolutionary
Duel Without Pistols
The Trial of Arthur Miller
Atque Vale
Dear Adlai
G.O.P. Delegates Have Bigger, Better Badges
Occasional Pieces
Then My Arm Glassed Up
On Fishing
Random Thoughts on Random Dogs captured fireflies
The Joan in All of Us
A Model T Named "It"
On Writing
The Play-Novelette
My Short Novels
Critics-from a Writer's Viewpoint
Some Random and Randy Thoughts on Books
Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
from About Ed Ricketts
Ernie Pyle
Tom Collins
Robert Capa
Adlai Stevenson
Henry Fonda
Woody Guthrie
Journalist Abroad
The Soul and Guts of France
One American in Paris (fourth piece)
One American in Paris (thirteenth piece)
Florence: The Explosion of the Chariot
I Go Back to Ireland
The Ghost of Anthony Daly
War Correspondent
Stories of the Blitz
Lilli Marlene
Bob Hope
Vietnam War: No Front, No Rear
Action in the Delta
Puff, the Magic Dragon
An Open Letter to Poet Yevtushenko
America and Americans
E Pluribus Unum
Paradox and Dream
Government of the People
Created Equal
Genus Americanus
The Pursuit of Happiness
Americans and the Land
Americans and the World
Americans and the Future
Works Cited
Selected Bibliography of Steinbeck's Nonfiction
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