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Travels with Charley in Search of America Paperback – January 31, 1980
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“Profound, sympathetic, often angry . . . an honest moving book by one of our great writers.” The San Francisco Examiner
“This is superior Steinbecka muscular, evocative report of a journey of rediscovery.” John Barkham, Saturday Review Syndicate
“The eager, sensuous pages in which he writes about what he found and whom he encountered frame a picture of our human nature in the twentieth century which will not soon be surpassed.” Edward Weeks, The Atlantic Monthly
About the Author
After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.
Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942). Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright (1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.
The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata! (1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).
Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.
- Publisher : Penguin Books; F edition (January 31, 1980)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 277 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0140053204
- ISBN-13 : 978-0140053203
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Lexile measure : 1010L
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 7.4 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Some of my favorite quotes from "Travels with Charley":
"I am very fortunate in having a wife who likes being a woman, which means that she likes men, not elderly babies."
"For how can one know color in perpetual green, and what good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness"
"We value virtue but do not discuss it."
"When I went away I had died and so became fixed and unchangeable. My return caused only confusion and uneasiness. Although they could not say it, my old friends wanted me gone so that I could take my proper place in the pattern of remembrance -- and I wanted to go for the same reason. Tom Wolfe was right. You can't go home again because home has ceased to exist except in the mothballs of memory."
"I have known desert men who chose their places with quiet and slow passion, rejecting the nervousness of a watered world. These men have not changed with the exploding times except to die and be replaced by others like them. "
Top reviews from other countries
I enjoyed it back in the day and perhaps enjoyed it even more this time around.
Steinbeck always left me with some observation of life and particularly human beings. There are bits from this book that stuck in my memory from all those years ago. An example would be 'there's nothing to beat a good man'. These days he would have had to say person. But there you go he wrote in his time. He is referring to the vet that fixed his dog after experiencing poor care earlier in the journey.
And he's quite correct there is nothing like a good person when you need something fixing.
Steinbeck's books are full of these observations written in a way that after reading I say to myself, 'yes that's just how it is'.
I'm going to read him again thanks to this book reawakening the genius that he is.
I hope you enjoy him to.
This is not only a fine book about his travels around many of the states in America, but it is also a history that can be viewed from two different perspectives. He is searching for the America of his youth from the viewpoint of a middle aged , mature and sceptical man looking back over the changes that happened during his life and has very mixed views about the result. From the viewpoint of today we can see how life has changed in the 50 years since it was written. I remember looking at America as the source of films, music, big open spaces, flashy cars and money and all that seemed to be good in the 50's, but of course I was a naive and silly boy!!. The areas of heavy industry described in the book have mostly gone, alongside the jobs that went with them, and so, I am sure have many of the little rural hamlets.
His language is rich and the vocabulary sometimes a little unfamiliar but the description of him and Charley as they meander around takes some beating. He generally writes in a balanced and considered way and is only raised to anger by the treatment of negro children who were being bussed into previously segregated schools in New Orleans and daily shrieked at by a gaggle of awful white women.
I had managed to miss this book earlier in my life, but now that I have read & enjoyed it, I am sure I will return to re-read it later.