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East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) [Kindle Edition]

John Steinbeck , David Wyatt
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (819 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $7.50
You Save: $9.50 (56%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book," and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel 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. The masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence.

This edition features an introduction by David Wyatt.

Editorial Reviews


A fantasia of history and myth The New York Times Book Review


"The book that brought the book club back!"
—Oprah Winfrey

"A novel planned on the grandest possible scale...One of those occasions when a writer has aimed high and then summoned every ounce of energy, talent, seriousness, and passion of which he was capable...It is an entirely interesting and impressive book."
The New York Herald Tribune

"A fantasia and myth...a strange and original work of art."
The New York Times Book Review

"A moving, crying pageant with wilderness strengths."
—Carl Sandburg

Product Details

  • File Size: 1182 KB
  • Print Length: 620 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic; Revised edition (February 5, 2002)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001BC5HXG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,123 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
181 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I've read December 12, 2003
It's always difficult reading a book that has been praised to the skies without expecting too much, and that's why it usually fails to deliver. Those who read it after this book became an Oprah Book Club selection seem to have come to it with just such expectations.
Try, however, to always approach a book or movie, however much it has been praised, as any other. Simply pick it up and read it without any expectations. This is how I read it, and gosh, was I pleasantly surprised.
The characters are people I wish I could know personally--especially Samuel, I wished I could be one of his many children just to have him as a father; Lee, so taciturn yet wise and always there, such a comfort to have and know such a person; and Caleb, whom we tend to identify with in so many ways.
True, the story might have extremes, and be predictable if you were able to keep yourself so uninvolved in the story. Those who commented on the 'plot', perhaps such a book is not what you ought to read. Pick up a Grisham or some other fast-paced 'plotty' book.
East of Eden is for those who think, who care about who they are and who they want to be or ought to have been. People have talked of its being depressing. It's not. I hate depressing books myself. At least it's not a meaningless depression in which you can't identify with the story at all, but it simply sucks you down. This book made me cry at many points--from empathy or sympathy for the characters, from the beauty of the language, and from appreciating the wisdom in it.
I admire passages, descriptions, dialogues so much in this book that I re-read them, and re-read the entire novel already, and may do so again. I'm not the kind who likes to re-read books either. There's simply so much wisdom and simplicity and reassurance in here that it's a treasure--for me, at least. I think I'm lucky to have a book that means so much to me.
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251 of 260 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Eternal Struggle March 3, 2003
John Steinbeck's EAST OF EDEN was not well received by critics when it debuted in the 1950s, and although passing years have seen several re-evaluations it is still reguarded as secondary to the likes of GRAPES OF WRATH and OF MICE AND MEN. It is true that the novel is flawed: it is a great big rambling thing crammed with obvious allegory, metaphor, and allusion, loosely structured to say the least. And yet, in a odd sort of way, the very rambling, the looseness, the obviousness of the work gives it a tremendous grandeur that Steinbeck's more tightly structured work lacks. The novel is as broad and vulgar and lively and provocative as the America it describes--and it is my favorite of Steinbeck's fiction.
Any one who comes to the novel from the famous film adaptation starring James Dean will be surprized, for the roots of the novel run much deeper than the film, which is based only on perhaps a third of the novel. This is not so much the story of brothers Aaron and Caleb Trask as it is the story of their parents, Adam Trask and Catherine Ames. And in "Cathy" Ames, Steinbeck creates one of the darkest characters in all of 20th Century American Literature, a creature devoid of virtually anything recognizable as human emotion. Fleeing from a past that includes murder, perversion, blackmail, and prostitution, Cathy assumes an angelic demeanor and lures the emotionally needy Adam Trask into love and marriage. And when she no longer requires his protection... she destroys him.
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136 of 145 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
John Steinbeck is at his best in this classic tale of sibling rivalry as he examines what we become vs. what we *may* become. The Biblical tale of Cain and Abel sets the tone as we are introduced to two sets of brothers. Each tries to win the love of his father in different ways. The story of why one brother succeeds while another feels unloved is beautifully told.
Adam Trask, from the first set of brothers, repeats his own story with his sons, the twins Aron and Caleb. The enduring themes of light vs. dark, good vs. evil, hatred vs. love, and always the free will, the ability to choose one's own destiny are paramount to this rich and multi-layered tale.
Above all, it is the characters you will long remember from this riveting saga. Cathy, the whore with a heart of stone, has to be one of the most evil characters in all literature. She kills her parents, beds her husband's brother on her wedding night, shoots her husband and desserts her infant sons. And, all this before she turns really bad! Truly a character to be analyzed for decades to come. On the other hand there are the wonderful characters of Samuel and Lee, men you will long remember for their wisdom, caring, and sheer goodness. And there is Adam, a zombie of a man until his great re-birth and spectacular failure finds him caught in a web of good and evil that he will long struggle with.
John Steinbeck puts himself into the novel, as Samuel Hamilton is based on his own maternal grandfather. The entire Hamilton clan is one that represents the true "salt of the earth" and elevates this to "great American novel" stature.
The story is complex and involving, the characters unforgettable. Kudos to Oprah for reviving interest in this wonderful story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite book of all time
East of Eden was Steinbeck's magnum opus.

A fantastic quasi-autobiographical family history, with epic characters both virtuous and evil, characters you will remember... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Michael S. Pollard
4.0 out of 5 stars We toasted to Kate with champaign.
My book club took time to reread this classic. Made for great discussions from personality disorders to the meaning if wealth.
Published 3 days ago by Margaret Ellsworth Herrmann
5.0 out of 5 stars I finished the last page and immediately began from the first page,...
This book came recommended from my 17 year old niece. I enjoyed the writing style, the history and the story. I read this on my Kindle but will be purchasing the hardcover. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Robin
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, Mr Steinbecks magnum opus
It took me three weeks to finish this book, and for me thats a long time for a great read. Even though these three weeks have been busy, I looked forward to at least a few pages... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Antonio (unlike the character in the book, I would choose flight not fight)
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite and raw
Has this book ruined me? Will I forever be in search of a book this rich, simple, questioning and essential. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Elsa
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing, but storyline became repetitive and predictable
Steinbeck is an excellent author and storyteller. However this particular story became somewhat tedious and the characters were too unrealistic. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Mark Knott
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this, as Steinbeck's best.
It is actually his family history within the novel.

When I went to California, I went to his museum in Salinas , where this book takes place. Read more
Published 13 days ago by mermaid
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding literature, exciting story, brilliant history
This is the third time I have read this book. First time in Icelandic, as a young man, and it then gave me an excellent view of the WWI times in US history. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Gudni Jonsson
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read, but worth it.
It was not an easy read, I am glad I read it. I never read it in school. It is a good story, but sometimes it was hard to follow. I might have to watch the movie again.
Published 22 days ago by Patricia Myers
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Tale
Steinbeck wrote many excellent short stories and novels. This is his very best. Be aware of his stereotypical characterization of women. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Catherine D. Belles
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More About the Author

John Steinbeck (1902-1968), winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, achieved popular success in 1935 when he published Tortilla Flat. He went on to write more than twenty-five novels, including The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.

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e-book more expensive than paperback
They have the right to charge whatever the want BUT I agree with you that they're making a stupid decision because there's no way in hell I'm paying more for the Kindle version than I would for the paperback. And I'm sure they are going to be losing plenty of Kindle sales because of this. To be... Read more
May 11, 2011 by A. Machin |  See all 5 posts
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