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Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck "Essentials") Paperback – 26 Apr 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (26 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140292918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140292916
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.6 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (703 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Steinbeck is perhaps best known for Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, which led to his Nobel Prize for Literature award in 1962. Born in Salinas, California in 1902, Steinbeck grew up in a fertile agricultural valley about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast: both valley and 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 labourer 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 labouring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939).

Being partly based on his own experiences as a travelling worker, Steinbeck originally wanted Of Mice and Men to be titled 'Something That Happened'. The book explores themes of powerlessness, loneliness and empathy and received the greatest positive critical response of any of his works up to that point. It has achieved success as a novel, a Broadway play and three acclaimed films.

Steinbeck's compassionate depiction of the poor in The Grapes of Wrath helped the book become an immediate publishing phenomenon, discussed on a national scale and becoming an instant bestseller. The book was described by the Nobel Prize committee as a "great work" and stated that it was one of the main reasons for granting Steinbeck the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

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)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).

He died in 1968, having won a Nobel Prize in 1962.

Product Description

Review

A thriller, a gripping tale that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick (The New York Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Graphic support for the teaching of Of Mice and Men to lower attainers at GCSE --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 165 people found the following review helpful By Wicker-king on 15 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
Of Mice And Men is truly a special piece of literature that seems so simple whilst you are reading it but at the same time deals with a lot of complicated issues which all of us have to deal with at some point in our lives.
Its a story of two friends, Lennie and George, who wander from town to town looking for work in order to raise the capital to one day settle down in a farm of their own and count out their days. The one snag in this plan is Lennie, a giant of a man with the mind of a child who, although full of good intentions, finds himself trouble at every stop.
Steinbeck often tackles weighty issues (most evident in Grapes Of Wrath) and the theme of the future and the dreams of simple men is a hefty one but he handles this book with such poetic grace that you can't help but be drawn into the lives of these two men and as the book draws to its climax nothing can prepare you for the almighty hammer blow at its conclusion.
This is a book for all those who have a dream of the future or those who have found themselves somehow lost in life. It deals with how complicated the simple life can be and how elusive true contentment is. There has been many a film made of this film but believe me, nothing can compare to the vivid world that the pages of this book generates inside your minds eye and as you turn the final page it will stay there with you and be with you always.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Moseley on 16 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The introduction to this edition tells us that Of Mice and Men continues to be banned by school boards throughout the US, mainly because of the earthy, racist language used by the characters throughout. There are plenty of UK students who wish the same applied here. For some reason, Of Mice and Men occupies the same risible space in the minds of many english students as that other course staple To Kill a Mockingbird - that is, they hate it. A pity, because Of Mice and Men is superb, and touches on universal themes such as loneliness, poverty, friendship, jealousy and cruelty, which are part of its enduring relevance and appeal. It is a dream within a dream - the dream of two itinerant farm workers, Lenny and George, to scrape enough money together to buy a small farm of their own, become independent and 'live off the fat o' the lan'.

Susan Shillinglaw writes a revealing introduction to this edition, which also tells us that Steinbeck conceived a new narrative form - the 'playable novel' i.e. a story that could equally be read as a conventional narrative or seen in dramatic performance. The plot is staged as a play, with theatric scenes and a narrative that guides us carefully from one set piece to the next. It is clear from the outset that this will be a tragic 'play', and so it proves. The intro also tells us that Steinbeck saw with his own eyes a hired hand kill a ranch foreman with a pitchfork when working as a farm hand himself. This episode is reimagined as one of the pivotal points of the narrative, and leads to the tragic ending.

GCSE students may hate it, but Of Mice and Men has stood the test of time as an enduring, precautionary tale of what happens when man is pitched against fellow man in a society that has lost its true sense of morality. It is this universality and the razor-sharp tightness of Steinbeck's storytelling, that makes Of Mice and Men a profoundly moving and richly rewarding read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LJG Carson on 31 May 2005
Format: Paperback
"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck, possibly his most recognised novel, was published in 1939 and has delighted adults and school children alike right up to the present day. Proving popular in schools, it has been a novel on the GCSE exam board for years, the reason being that this novel has a lot of controversy and surprising depth.
George Milton, small and resourceful, and Lennie Small, large and simple-minded, are two men with an unlikely friendship. They arrive at a working ranch near the town of Soledad in the hope that their lives may move on since the events that forced them to flee their hometown of Weed. But trouble is never far behind. The friendship hangs in the balance and George must decide how long the pair can keep running.
School pupils who are reading this novel for GCSE should count themselves lucky. This is simply a fantastic novel.
Each page is rich in symbolism ad recurring themes of dreams and loneliness. The fact that this novel was written in times of great prejudice and that racism was almost an instinct then is reflected in Steinbeck's writing very clearly in everything the characters say and do. The story harbours many fascinating and unique characters, each with a story to tell and it is these people that really bring the story to life.
As the title of this review suggests, "Of Mice and Men" is, in my opinion, one of the top American classics along with novels such as "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. This is a definite must-read. There is much to cherish here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SWID207 on 24 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a great book which covers everything from The Great Depression to friendship, talks about characters' highs, lows, and definitely brings tension. It will leave you contemplating your friendship. Steinbeck's choice of words are very good because they show the themes of the book. For someone who likes action it may be slightly boring for them but for someone who prefers a less action-themed book it would be a good read. It's a drama/tragedy. 'Of Mice and Men' is short and sweet where action is limited however tension is extremely high. The plot and fluency are perfectly planned out.

However, at some points it was a bit boring. The book is too short - as soon as it starts to get interesting, it's over. It's also obvious at the end that the book is going to end - it's a little too predictable and there is quite a lot of death.
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