The Log from the Sea of Cortez

The Log from the Sea of Cortez

by John Steinbeck, E. F. Ricketts
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The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck, E. F. Ricketts

In 1940, Steinbeck and biologist Edward F. Ricketts ventured aboard the Western Flyer, a sardine boat out of Monterey, California, on a 4,000-mile voyage around the Baja peninsula into the Sea of Cortez. This exciting, day-by-day account of their expedition wonderfully combines science, philosophy, and high-spirited adventure, and provides a much fuller picture of Steinbeck - and his beliefs about man and the world - than any of his fictional works.

This edition includes a critical introduction that places the Log within the context of Steinbeck's life and work, as well as Steinbeck's delightful profile "About Ed Ricketts."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140042610
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 04/28/1977
Series: Travel Library
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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. 

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 Log from the Sea of Cortez 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
RandallCBlackerby More than 1 year ago
Steinbeck turns his attention to the sea as he documents a scientific collecting expedition along the coast of Baja California in 1941. This book explores our fascination with the sea and its creatures, and also formulates ideas on man’s impact on the marine environment that resonate in timeless wisdom. If you love adventure, littoral creatures, boats and philosophical exploration, then you will want this book in your collection. One of my favorites from way back. .
midnight1 More than 1 year ago
I visited the Monterey/Carmel area last summer so I wanted to read this book. Nonfiction is not my usually forte but I enjoyed it. It works as a travelogue & science journal and has some philosophy thrown in. The only reason I didnt give it 5 stars is it is a bit preachy and wordy in a couple of spots. Worth reading.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the greatest books I've ever read. I didn't expect, from the description on the back, to open the book randomly to any page and literally be wrapped in it until my legs ached from standing up at the bookstore. This is an example of what makes a brilliant writer: the subject could have been so dry and yet Steinbeck makes it a joy to read about the life between the ocean and the land -- and between himself and his friend Ricketts. Most importantly, it reveals just how closely linked art and knowledge (science) really are when great minds are willing to come together the way they did here. I really think this is was a miraculous event in the history of writing, and especially in the context of our 'science' emergency today (both in terms of education and in terms of the state of our natural resources), this book should be mandatory reading for all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It shows Steinbeck's outstanding sense of humor. Furthermore, it shows Steinbeck's strong ecological principles. It was entertaining and fun to read. I have read other Steinbeck books and this is a little lighter in tone. I highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. As far as Steinbeck's writings go, this is his greatest work. As the title implies, this is a ships log created in the 40's during an expedition made by John Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts and others to collect biological samples from the inter-tidal zones. The result was a textbook written by Ricketts and Hudspeth, Between Pacific Tides, which is still used for students of Marine Biology 50+ years later. The style of this log is Steinbeck's, warm and full of humor. It also sheds light on many of the characters from Steinbeck's 'Monterey' novels. A must read for Marine Biologists as well as fans of John Steinbeck!