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The Good Earth (The Good Earth Trilogy Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Pearl S. Buck
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (801 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Pearl S. Buck’s timeless masterpiece, the Pulitzer Prize–winning story of a farmer’s journey through China in the 1920s

The Good Earth
is Buck’s classic story of Wang Lung, a Chinese peasant farmer, and his wife, O-lan, a former slave. With luck and hard work, the couple’s fortunes improve over the years: They are blessed with sons, and save steadily until one day they can afford to buy property in the House of Wang—the very house in which O-lan used to work. But success brings with it a new set of problems. Wang soon finds himself the target of jealousy, and as good harvests come and go, so does the social order. Will Wang’s family cherish the estate after he’s gone? And can his material success, the bedrock of his life, guarantee anything about his soul?
 
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the William Dean Howells Award, The Good Earth was an Oprah’s Book Club choice in 2004. A readers’ favorite for generations, this powerful and beautifully written fable resonates with universal themes of hope and family unity.
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Pearl S. Buck including rare images from the author’s estate.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“A comment upon the meaning and tragedy of life as it is lived in any age in any quarter of the globe.” —The New York Times

“One of the most important and revealing novels of our time.” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“One need never have lived in China or know anything about the Chinese to understand [The Good Earth] or respond to its appeal.” —Boston Evening Transcript

“[Buck] did for the working people of twentieth-century China something of what Dickens had done for London's nineteenth-century poor.” —Hilary Spurling, author of Pearl Buck in China

About the Author

Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973) was a bestselling and Nobel Prize–winning author. Her classic novel The Good Earth (1931) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and William Dean Howells Medal. Born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, Buck was the daughter of missionaries and spent much of the first half of her life in China, where many of her books are set. In 1934, civil unrest in China forced Buck back to the United States. Throughout her life she worked in support of civil and women’s rights, and established Welcome House, the first international, interracial adoption agency. In addition to her highly acclaimed novels, Buck wrote two memoirs and biographies of both of her parents. For her body of work, Buck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938, the first American woman to have done so. She died in Vermont. 

Product Details

  • File Size: 13964 KB
  • Print Length: 372 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1416511350
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (August 21, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008F4NRA8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,603 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
291 of 306 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A PROFOUND STORY SIMPLY TOLD... September 18, 2004
Format:Paperback
This 1932 Pulitzer Prize winning novel is still a standout today. Deceptive in its simplicity, it is a story built around a flawed human being and a teetering socio-economic system, as well as one that is layered with profound themes. The cadence of the author's writing is also of note, as it rhythmically lends itself to the telling of the story, giving it a very distinct voice. No doubt the author's writing style was influenced by her own immersion in Chinese culture, as she grew up and lived in China, the daughter of missionaries.

This is the story of the cyclical nature of life, of the passions and desires that motivate a human being, of good and evil, and of the desire to survive and thrive against great odds. It begins with the story of an illiterate, poor, peasant farmer, Wang Lung, who ventures from the rural countryside and goes to town to the great house of Hwang to obtain a bride from those among the rank of slave. There, he is given the slave O-lan as his bride.

Selfless, hardworking, and a bearer of sons, the plain-faced O-lan supports Wang Lung's veneration of the land and his desire to acquire more land. She stays with him through thick and thin, through famine and very lean times, working alongside him on the land, making great sacrifices, and raising his children. As a family, they weather the tumultuousness of pre-revolutionary China in the 1920s, only to find themselves the recipient of riches beyond their dreams. At the first opportunity, they buy land from the great house of Hwang, whose expenses appear to be exceeding their income.

With the passing of time, Wang Lung buys more and more land from the house of Hwang, until he owns it all, as his veneration of the land is always paramount.
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126 of 131 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While reading this book, I was totally struck by the honest and compassionate way Pearl Buck told her story. Born and raised in China, I can see my great grandparents in Wang Lung and his wife O-Lan, although in the end they didn't make it to the riches but stayed in the middle class among farmers and had put all their kids through schools which was the first ever in their village.
What I love most about this book is that it shows the Westerners what life was REALLY like in rural China at the turn of the century instead of the usual stereotype or common cliche. In that sense, Pearl Buck was more Chinese than Chinese, for Amy Tan, Dai SiJie and the alike are just commercial writers in my opinion, who more or less only wrote what they thought would sell.
The book itself is certainly well written too. It's as if walking through a living museum of the past and one could vividly envision what Wang Lung and O-Lan had gone through as the story unfolds. Pearl Buck used simple yet powerful narrative language in which I felt Wang Lung's pain, suffering, ambition, agony, pride and all sorts of emotions and couldn't help but empathized with him as a human being.
There are also small things that delighted me in Perl Buck's writing. To name just one, she had faithfully translated the characters' dialogs into English and I have to say you can't get more authentic than that. For example, she used moon for month, old head for old man, etc., and those are exactly how we say in Chinese, literally.
It's a pity that neither in the US nor in China Pearl Buck is recognized or respected as much as she should have been. Though I went to Nanjing University where Pearl Buck had taught for years in China, little have I heard of her until just now, after finishing the Good Earth.
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transcends Space and Time! July 4, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Every soul that has the ability to read should absorb this book! These are the lessons we all encounter at some point in our lives.

Wang Lung and his family's journey through life serves as a passage we all can travel through and come away better people for having done it. His wife O-lan represented such great strength, and I hurt when I knew she was hurting from the actions of her husband but was unable to show it. Her life went the way of so many women's lives, unfulfilled and short-changed. Likewise, I hurt when Wang Lung hurt. I felt his confusion, guilt, stubbornness, etc. These are brilliantly crafted people that I am honored to have met.

I totally understand why this book transcends space and time. Over 30 years after her death, Pearl S. Buck's legacy is still changing people for the better....thank God for good storytelling.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Way to Understand China May 26, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When great political upheaval occurs, do the "ordinary people" even know about it? How does it affect their lives? Is social change something palpable, or only something one can see in retrospect?

These questions are addressed in Pearl Buck's moving and exquisitely written Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, "The Good Earth." It is the story of a simple Chinese peasant, Wang Lung. We first meet him as a young man on his way to pick up his bride, whom he has purchased from the estate of a wealthy landowner.
Wang Lung is a farmer, barely able to survive, but it is time for him to marry and produce a grandchild for his aged father, who lives in his simple farm hut and is shown great reverence, as was the way in China at the time.
The only way that Wang Lung could afford a wife at all, and a virgin, which was highly desired, was to purchase an ugly female slave from the great house. All of the pretty slave women were defiled by the master and his sons early on; O-lan was so ugly that she was spared. Harsh? Evil? Yes. But the story is told with such simplicity, from the viewpoint of Wang Lung, who knows no other life. Which is one of Buck's points: the simple Chinese peasant, struggling to survive, had no wherewithal to stand back and say, "I should not be buying an undefiled slave from a corrupt landowner who keeps me in virtual slavery as well." It just didn't happen that way.

O-Lan turns out to be the perfect farmer's wife, hardworking, efficient, and, it turns out, wonderfully fertile. The scene where the young woman painfully gives birth in the field during harvest time and then goes back to work without missing a beat is almost a cliche by now.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
I had to read this for class and it was not very exciting for me.
Published 19 hours ago by Emmie Vallee
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good Earth is a Great Book
The book is great! It is in almost perfect condition, the only things being a small scuff mark on one corner and someone's name signed on the inside cover.
Published 2 days ago by Christian Bohner
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved the book even more than the first time I read it. Beautifully written. A well-deserved classic.
Published 4 days ago by DOREEN HAZEL
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, writing style keeps you wanting more
Great book, writing style keeps you wanting more. Read these books years ago, but they are just as fresh today.
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
son needed for school
Published 6 days ago by ajmeema
1.0 out of 5 stars He was bored to death
This book was chosen by my sons school to read over the summer. I had to bribe him to read it. He was bored to death. I wouldn't recommend it at all for young kids.
Published 10 days ago by Leontyne Ridley
4.0 out of 5 stars better than i thought
The book started off extremely slow, but after page 120 I couldn't stop reading it. It's a book leading you from being poor, to almost dying and later ending up rich and careless. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Zigg
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read.
As a child I fell in love with this book reading it over and over again through the years. It has been many years since I thought of the book. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Bonnie Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Earth Good!
Great period piece detailing the hardships of a farmer and the hardships of family life. Good analysis of why money doesn't always bring happiness. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Kerrie deVay
5.0 out of 5 stars ... is a pleasure to read a book by a great
It is a pleasure to read a book by a great author
Published 21 days ago by R. S. Hochleitner
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More About the Author

Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker was born on June 26, 1892, in Hillsboro, West Virginia. Her parents were Southern Presbyterian missionaries, most often stationed in China, and from childhood, Pearl spoke both English and Chinese. She returned to China shortly after graduation from Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1914, and the following year, she met a young agricultural economist named John Lossing Buck. They married in 1917, and immediately moved to Nanhsuchou in rural Anhwei province. In this impoverished community, Pearl Buck gathered the material that she would later use in The Good Earth and other stories of China.
Pearl began to publish stories and essays in the 1920s, in magazines such as The Nation, The Chinese Recorder, Asia, and The Atlantic Monthly. Her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, was published by the John Day Company in 1930. John Day's publisher, Richard Walsh, would eventually become Pearl's second husband, in 1935, after both received divorces.

In 1931, John Day published Pearl's second novel, The Good Earth. This became the bestselling book of both 1931 and 1932, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Howells Medal in 1935, and would be adapted as a major MGM film in 1937. Other novels and books of nonfiction quickly followed. In 1938, less than a decade after her first book had appeared, Pearl won the Nobel Prize in literature, the first American woman to do so. By the time of her death in 1973, Pearl had published more than seventy books: novels, collections of stories, biography and autobiography, poetry, drama, children's literature, and translations from the Chinese. She is buried at Green Hills Farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


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