I stumbled across this book years ago in my high school library, and I have never been the same. I am so glad that I was never forced to read this book in school and that it wasn't ruined for me by English teachers. It's sad to think that this has happened for many students because it is a breathtaking book. If you have never read this book, please do. If required reading in school gave you a bad taste in your mouth for this book, pick it up again and give it another try...read it for yourself and in your own way. It is a wonderful book...a treasured favorite on my bookcase. For most Americans, _The Good Earth_ will be a shock. It is a very foreign, alien book with people interacting in ways very different from our own society. _The Good Earth_ takes place in rural, pre-Communist China. It's the story of a farmer and his family and how they acquire land and wealth and the lifealtering changes (for the better and definitely for the worse) that result from the corrupting power of money. This book gives a valuable glimpse into the Chinese concept of filial duty. The family relationships and obligations may surprise many Americans who function under a much different dynamic. The relationships between men and women are also strikingly different and can be very disturbing. But the book as a whole is a lovingly rendered story that draws the reader into caring about the characters. As time passes in the book, the reader has the unique privilege of growing and maturing with the family. As you turn the last page and read the final word, your mind and soul will thank you for the enriching experience. I strongly recommend this book.