The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath

by John Steinbeck, Robert DeMott
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The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of America’s greatest writers and cultural figures. Over the next year, his many works published as black-spine Penguin Classics for the first time and will feature eye-catching, newly commissioned art.

Of this initial group of six titles, The Grapes of Wrath is in a new edition with a completely revised introduction and, for the first time, detailed notes by leading Steinbeck scholar Robert DeMott.

Penguin Classics is proud to present these seminal works to a new generation of readers—and to the many who revisit them again and again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440637124
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/28/2006
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 19,992
File size: 766 KB

About the Author

John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).
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. 

Robert DeMott, editor, is the Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor at Ohio State University and author of Steinbeck's Typewriter, an award-winning book of critical essays.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Date of Birth:

February 27, 1902

Date of Death:

December 20, 1968

Place of Birth:

Salinas, California

Place of Death:

New York, New York


Attended Stanford University intermittently between 1919 and 1925

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The Grapes of Wrath 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 547 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck is an all time classic novel that depicts the reality of the Great Depression during the 1930's. The story first takes place in Oklahoma where the Dust Bowl had hit many crops and open fields where farmers farmed, children played, and had also hit the worst place to be hit-the lives of innocent people who lived day by day off their land. Because food and jobs were scarce, many families were forced to pack up what ever belongings they had left and move west. The main characters who take on the expedition of a new life are Tom, Ma, Pa, Jim, and Rose of Sharon. Each character has their own special quality's that they carry within that suffices the long and hard journey to California. While on the road the characters find not only how difficult it is to survive, but there are many things that have to be sacrificed in order for the majority to move on. Within the storyline you will find bumpy roads and battles that the characters must endure, thus so does every other book, however, this book will catch your attention very quickly because you will not only feel empathy for each and every character, as they struggle through the day, but you will be able to relive the hardships of the 1930's and think to yourself, "Wow, this tragic event actually happened to ordinary people and they survived." John Steinbeck is an amazing author and has never let his readers down. You will be oh so very delighted to read this book and will not ever want to close it.
Sarah_N_NC More than 1 year ago
At times, I had to make myself plow through this one. It was very depressing, made more so by the fact that things like what the Joads went through actually happened. I'm 'anti-spoiler', so I won't give away the ending, but let me just say that the ending hit me hard. It's as if the whole story came back to slap me in the face, making the power of it much stronger. I'm glad I finished it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As much a political manifesto as the simple story of a family forced to leave their family farm and seek a new life in California, the Grapes of Wrath is a masterpiece of American literature. Set in the American West at the start of the mass migration to the West Coast, the story follows the Joad family from the foreclosure of their farm through the long road trip along Route 66 and finally to their lives as migrant workers in a land overflowing with workers. Their lives and hardships are vividly painted in Steinbeck's outstanding prose.
Steinbeck alternates styles in each chapter. Every other chapter details the story of the Joads. In the remaining chapters Steinbeck uses a repetitive, haphazard, ungrammatical, absolutely brilliant style to sketch a scene from the life of a migrant family, ostensibly the Joads. In these chapters, he conveys scenes such as the high-paced action of a used car lot, the bitterness of a family receiving foreclosure notice, or the back breaking work of cotton picking with such clarity and color that the words of the book seem to fall away leaving the reader with a tangible world in which voices are shouting or the breeze is tossing the cotton tufts into the air. In my own reading, I've seen many authors try to mimic this unstructured, repetitive style, but never done as well as this.
The story is rich with symbolism and emotion. While there are some spots where Steinbeck seems to be working too hard, the book as a whole is a wonderful read. You will come away a little more educated about that era in America's history, a little more sympathetic to the plight of migrant workers, and maybe even a little more left-leaning in your political views. Regardless of what you intend to get out of it, the Grapes of Wrath is absolutely recommended for anyone of the maturity to understand the deep themes that run through the story. Highly recommended novel.
Bookworm95AO More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a tenth grade summer assignment. To tell you the truth, I thought it was going to be terribly boring? I thought, "What adventures could this family possibly go through that would be worth putting into a book?" I was so wrong! This book is amazing. Not difficult to understand; definitely an ideal American Literature novel. The only thing I disliked about the book was the chapters in between that described in GENERAL the experiences of migrant farmers during the Great Depression. Some of them were interesting, but in general, boring and hard to understand. But don't let that stop you from reading the book. It's great!
literatigirl-42 More than 1 year ago
Even when I first read this in high scool I enjoyed it, but now it seems eve3n better to me. Maybe it's having such a hard time with finding work or working in such a crap job when I do, but this is a book that holds up to time in both the texture and pleasure of the story and in the subjects it tacles. I recomend it to anyone willing to let a little bit of real into their fiction.
Fox_Douglas More than 1 year ago
While having been writtin in 1939, John Steinbeck wrote a masterpiece that is as contemporary today in its ideas as it was when it was written. The simple matter is that the "monster" never went away, it only grew and, "it breathes profits. If it doesn't have profits it will wither and die." The more things have changed, the more the banks and asset holders haven't. We've gone from the Great Depression to the Great Denial, now referred to as the "Great Recession." This is a masterpiece that highlights the depth of people in a time of trial, and shows that even if society should lose its humanity, there will still be individuals who will bring hope for the future. The genius of this book is in the ending. Whether it is a tragic or hopeful ending is left to how the reader sees the last chapter, as an ending or as a new beginning. FD.
Jewelies42 More than 1 year ago
This is, as far as I'm concerned, the most perfect novel ever written. It is at once a very simple story about a simple family and their struggles during the Dust Bowl era, and at the same time it is a complex commentary on a plethora of social issues that still affect working people today. Even the language of the book is deceptively simple, until the depth of what Steinbeck is saying through his characters or through his descriptions of the land hit you. Then you realize that what he has done is amazing...he's taken the simplest words and the simplest characters and created poetry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Grapes of Wrath is definitely an American classic. John Steinbeck has written a magnificent story that captures the hopes, shattered dreams and intense struggles of the Joad family during the Great Depression. This book is a must read for anyone looking for a stimulating book that will leave a big impression on you for a long time!
manoftheworld More than 1 year ago
The story is about an Oklahoma family,the Joads. After Tom is released from prison for killing someone, he finds his house is torn dow, and he leads his family to work in California. My dad is the one who recommended this book for me, because he is a great fan of classics, and I guess I inherited that from him. This book is an absolutely, positively, must! Steinbeck, as every author does, has his own unique writing style. In a way, he is like another one of my favorite authors, Hemingway. He has a very simplistic, but beautiful writing style. The story is a sort of historical social realism and that's what makes me different from today's readers. Instead of the modern-day thriller, I'm into these kinds of stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best written books from John Steinbeck. Tom Joad is a classic character. A must read for anyone interested in classic American literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Grapes of Wrath is my absolute favorite novel of all time. It's beautifully written- honestly written. I recommend this book to everyone- some may say that it starts out slow, but only to set the whole mood of the story. It is full of hardships, sadness, passion, the will to survive and the love of a family trying to hold it together while they begin to lose everything. Shocking, historical, emotional. Don't miss this book -or the powerful ending!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you read steinbeck you know how his words intertwine lushously to create characters we want to know and feel we do. Ive read this book twice now and yet i must ask what happened to the ending??? Its as if he just decided one day he didnt want to write about the joad family anymore. Like falling off a cliff the book just stops. As much as i wanted to see any sort of resolution to the many storylines and didnt get it, the book is that good. Still gets 5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To be honest, the book was at first was hard to get through quickly, and the language at times was hard to understand or to stay interested in. But as far as the storyline went it become more surreal and imaginable, the life questions asked within the book can really get you thinking. The wonderful reading experience from this book was being able to analyze the characters and certain themes that Steinback purposefully put out there to catch with easy notice, I, personally like being able to grasp on to the themes and characteristics of the characters and plot. It gives me a better understanding of the essence of the book. Here are some things that struck me: The courage and stronghold of the Ma Joad impressed me quite a bit. Her character of being the ultimate anchor of the whole family and fulfilling her job as a wife, and mother of many children. Even though her own husband acts cowardly and always "turns away" in shame whenever confronted by her. Tom Joad you can also see a developing change in character throughout the book. He begins with a 'only today and no tomorrow' kind of outlook on life because of his experience in prison. But as he experiences the cruelty of possessiveness of the owners of the companies and jobs in California he begins to think more of the future and how to prepare and protect people and his family. Rose of Sharon also developed in her character, at the beginnning she was just a young pregnant and married lady,hopeful for a brand new happy life with her husband, but having to deal with extreme hardships of death, abandonment, and sorrow and overcoming them with a stronger hope, faith. Oh and by the way! Here's a hint! The true greatness of this book is not shown till the very last page, so I would still recommend to read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Grapes of Wrath is a great American classic novel ,that was a quick read and I book that I loved, it shows the struggle that most families had to face during the 1930s, The Great Depression, and the Dust Bowl. The main characters Ma, Pa, Tom, Al, and Rose of Sharon, all struggle on the long and hard journey from Oklahoma to the big cities of California. They are forced to leave their home, when there all of their decedents grew up and made their home, to find work to try to stay alive. Soon they will all realize how hard this task will be. While their family struggled to stay alive their relationships grew stronger within their family as the time went on through out there long journey. I have found that this book is defiantly one of the best books that I have ever read. Although that it was written many years ago it is still around and popular and a great novel to this day. I believe that John Steinbeck is a wonderful author, and he wrote this book, as of many others, very well. To wrap it up I think that this is a very wonderful book to read. It is written with passion, love, and it interests almost everyone. I would recommend this book for all ages, no matter if you are thirteen or sixty five this is a magnificent book to curl up with on the couch and read. It is one of those books that when you start it you cannot stop and you will never want to put it down!
Nicole-Syracuse-NY More than 1 year ago
Yes read this book. If you watch the movie you will miss half of the book. I would say that this is excellent read and quick also. It is a little sad and it makes you think about history.
Stephanie60 More than 1 year ago
The dust bowl migration of the Joad family in the 1930's chronicles a thought provoking subject and is told in an amazing writing style. The simple nature of the characters is depicted without apology. Steinbeck's use of their Southern dialect is authentic and coarse, but it contrasts with their noble approach to life and living. I loved this book and will probably read it again.
India_Barnes More than 1 year ago
I read this book for Book Club as times are tough today but after reading the book we all realized that we still have it pretty easy. It took a while getting into the book as the first 100 pages are bit slow. But after that I could not put the book down. I heard that Steinbeck followed a family from Oklahoma to California and that is how he got his material for the book. The big takeaway for me is it made me think of how Hispanic Farm workers are treated today (2009) and it is a lot similar to how the Joad family and others were treated during the dust bowl.
Robin_M More than 1 year ago
I starting reading this novel for an American Literature class and ended up buying it to place in my library. An incredible story about a family's hardships during the Dust Bowl. Wonderful symbolisms and motifs. A brilliant read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nick34 More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! I plan to read East of Eden and Of Mice and Men as a result of enjoying this book so much. It is truly a great book.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Why did I get a eastern europian/russian version. I thought I was buying an English/American version. Would like what i paid for or a refund please
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why is this book in Russian? All of the reviews are in english and so is the description. And yet when i open the book all the text is cyrillic. How did this happen?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Stumbles into camp* "Help!"I screamed. *Falls and rolls the rest of the way down the hill* Everything goes black.