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Shocking and controversial when it was first published in 1939, Steinbeck's Pulitzer prize-winning epic, The Grapes of Wrath,remains his undisputed masterpiece. Set against the background of Dust Bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, are forced to travel west in search of the promised land. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and broken dreams, yet out of their suffering Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human, yet majestic in its scale and moral vision; an eloquent tribute to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit.
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The Grapes of Wrath is one of John Steinbeck's all-time classics. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and believe everyone should read it at least once in their life to bear witness to life during the Great Depression and the hardships that people faced. It is hard to fathom how difficult life was back then compared to this day and age, even just to have the basic necessities of food and a secure job, which many of us take for granted. It presents the captivating story of the Joad family being forced off their land in Oklahoma due to a prolonged drought resulting in economic hardship. They travel across country on nothing more than a whim with the prospect of gaining a better life in California. Unfortunately they cannot catch a break and face significant hardship at every turn along the journey. However, the family's hope that things will get better never fades, which is one of the reasons why you become so attached to the Joad family as you go on the journey with them hoping they will overcome life's hurdles and find success. The novel cleverly alternates between chapters on the Joad family's direct experiences and narratives on the wider migrant group in the Depression era to personify the migrant group as a single unit and to put the time period into context. The Grapes of Wrath has become one of my all-time favourite novels and highly recommend that you read it.
I read this because Stephen King said it was an example of great writing, and I have to agree with him. It paints a vivid picture of the harrowing life of families being forced off their farms in the depression and travelling to California to find work. Totally agree with Stephen King that it is an example of exceptional writing which hopefully at the time managed to do something for the plight of those affected. Recommend, but with the disclaimer it is certainly not an uplifting read.
A masterpiece and still gripping reading 70+ years on.
This is the sort of book that stirs one so deeply that it is almost impossible to attempt to convey the impression it leaves. It is the story of today's Exodus, of America's great trek, as the hordes of dispossessed tenant farmers from the dust bowl turn their hopes to the promised land of California's fertile valleys. The story of one family, with the "hangers-on" that the great heart of extreme poverty sometimes collects, but in that story is symbolized the saga of a movement in which society is before the bar. What an indictment of a system - what an indictment of want and poverty in the land of plenty! There is flash after flash of unforgettable pictures, sharply etched with that restraint and power of pen that singles Steinbeck out from all his contemporaries. There is anger here, but it is a deep and disciplined passion, of a man who speaks out of the mind and heart of his knowledge of a people. One feels in reading that so they must think and feel and speak and live. It is an unresolved picture, a record of history still in the making. Not a book for casual reading. Not a book for unregenerate conservative. But a book for everyone whose social conscience is astir - or who is willing to face facts about a segment of American life which is and which must be recognized. Steinbeck is coming into his own. A new and full length novel from his pen is news. Publishers backing with advertising, promotion aids, posters, etc. Sure to be one of the big books of the Spring. First edition limited to half of advance as of March 1st. One half of dealer's orders to be filled with firsts. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: Penguin Modern Classics
Number Of Pages: 528
Published: October 2000
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 12.8 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.36
Edition Number: 1