The author of such classics as The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, and more, John Steinbeck is one of the most beloved of 20th-century American writers. Critical Companion to John Steinbeck is an essential reference to Steinbeck's life and work. This volume contains: a concise but comprehensive biography of Steinbeck; detailed synopses of, and critical commentary on, Steinbeck's works, including his novels, short stories, dramatic works, and nonfiction; discussions of the main characters of major works; descriptions of major film and television adaptations; and entries on family, friends, and places important to Steinbeck. Additional features include a chronology of Steinbeck's life, bibliographies of his work and of secondary sources, a list of Steinbeck's awards and honors, and more.
Divided into four sections covering both the personal and the professional aspects of writer John Steinbeck's life, this book, edited by Schultz (The Encyclopedia of Women in American Politics) and Li (humanities, Kettering Univ., MI; John Steinbeck: A Documentary Volume), shows the diversity of his works, styles, and genres. While Part 1 concentrates on biographical information, Parts 2 and 3 are organized in dictionary format and concentrate on individual works and on places and topics related to Steinbeck, respectively. Each of the unsigned entries includes a brief history, the date of publication, a synopsis, a discussion of early criticism, contemporary perspectives, and a short bibliography. Entries covering theater and movie versions of Steinbeck's books include an outline of characters and places as well as cast and production credits. Entry length ranges from half a column (e.g., "D for Dangerous," "Zanuck, Darryl F.") to 23 pages (e.g., "East of Eden"). Part 4 includes a chronology of Steinbeck's life and works, selected awards, a filmography, a comprehensive bibliography of his works, and a selective bibliography of secondary sources. Cross references appear within the individual entries as well as in the index; approximately 35 black-and-white photographs complete the text. Bottom Line Many readers will wish they had had access to this work back in their college days. Useful, succinct, and reasonably priced, it packs an abundance of information into one compact resource. Recommended for public, academic, and school libraries.-Laurie Selwyn, Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.