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The Good Earth [Textbook Binding]

4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Textbook Binding
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416500189
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416500186
  • ASIN: B006U1IL04
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.7 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,825,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
In The Good Earth (1931), Pearl Buck tells a timeless story about a farmer struggling to eke out a living from the earth. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable classic 23 Oct 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book years ago and it has stayed with me ever since.
Originally published in 1931, it won the Pulitzer prize the following year.

The setting is in China, right before the revolution. Wang Lung is a poor farmer in a village and the book starts with his wedding to plain O-lan. They have four children together, three boys and one girl. He is a very hard working farmer and bit by bit, thanks also to O-lan's skills, he builds a fortune by buying land from the House of Hwangs's family, landowners in a nearest village whose wealth declines dramatically due to their relentless spending.

We are dipped into Chinese culture, taken from the seemingly bottomless poverty of the early days throughout the rise to wealth, only to be propelled downwards again due to a terrible draught and subsequent famine, when everything seems lost and the family has to move to the city, starting all over again.

We are reading spectators of the rise and fall and twists & turns of Wang Lung's family. Many touching episodes have moved me throughout the book, especially the ones connected with hard-working, silent, subservient O-lan and later on, the ones related to their mentally retarded baby girl.

The story is absorbing and mesmerizing, exquisitely written. Page after page, truly unforgettable. A must-read classic.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Good Earth by Pearl Buck 14 Dec 2004
By A Customer
The Good Earth is basically the story of a low born Chinese peasant who, through a combination of hard work and fortunate circumstances becomes a rich landowner.
The depths and richness of this novel arises from the author's portrayal of family life in pre-revolution China. The protagonist's relationships with his father, his wives and his children show him to be an essentially flawed yet compassionate human being, and reveal the cultural influences that shaped his
family, and ultimately the society in which he found himself.
The plot progresses slowly and consistently,and the main theme of the novel; the cycle of life, of the new coming to take the place of the old, is established and developed in a subtle manner, through the use of simple yet poetic language.
A very enjoyable read - highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic tale of change in pre-revolutionary China 28 April 2011
I also came to Pearl Buck via Hilary Spurling's excellent biography, Burying The Bones: Pearl Buck in China, and for those interested in Buck's life and experiences in China, it makes for a perfect counterpart to this novel. The novel reading experience is enhanced, I think, by a more detailed knowledge of China at the time.

The Good Earth is, on the surface, a simple novel about simple people. A small cast of characters and the development of a family through several generations are revealed through the eyes of farmer Wang Lung. The earth of the title is the lifeblood of the farmer: "this earth which formed their home and fed their bodies and made their gods.... Each had his turn at this earth." In times of flood and drought, the cyclical disasters that revisit Wang Lung, he is forced to give up everything and must even abandon his home and move his family south; but he will not relinquish his land. Bands of marauders may strip his home bare, yet the land is "that which cannot be taken away ... it is mine."

O-Lan is Wang Lung's wife, a servant purchased from a town family: the only bride a poor farmer could hope for. She is, to Wang Lung, a "faithful, speechless serving maid ... he was ashamed of his own curiosity and of his interest in her. She was, after all, only a woman." The reader will perceive her as a power of goodness, honesty and silent strength. She is thrifty, adept, and hard-working, hoeing the fields side by side with her husband, bearing her children alone, and never complaining. Together with their land, prudence and hard work, the couple raise a family and slowly become rich.

The material comfort that money brings the family is cold.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Morality tale 20 Oct 2005
This is a beautifully written morality tale, set in China many years ago. The peasant farmer Wang marries a local servant girl, O-lan, from the wealthy Big House, and they make their lives together. The story unfolds of their struggle to survive, with their family of young children and Wang's elderly father, and of how, when famine strikes, they must move to a southern city to find work or to beg for a few pennies to buy rice. Then by a stroke of fate, they obtain riches beyond their wildest dreams, and life changes in many ways for them all. O-lan, especially, finds that wealth does not bring guaranteed security and happiness, and the twists and turns of their lives on the land keep you reading page after page, hoping against hope that all will turn out well, but seeing clearly that there is every likelihood that it won't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic read 4 April 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Pearl S. Buck is one of my favorite authors. And since I absolutely love well written books, I virtually devoured THE GOOD EARTH. I read this classic book when I was fourteen and have re-read six times since then. The character development was great and the story kept my interest until the last page. The pacing of the story was expertly done, and the writing style was just marvelous. With a rich plot and fantastic setting, the author successfully captured the remarkable element of human relationships, tapping into the varying human emotions that made the story so real. The more you reread the book the more your perception deepens, and the more you get to enjoy it. The setting enabled me to learn a great deal about China, the Chinese people and their traditions and customs and finally the lot that we all share as humans with cardinal virtues. That human touch is best portrayed by Wang Lung and O-lan his wife, the heroes of the book who defy the negative aspects of life and survive from the sweat of their brow and the produce of the good earth.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great and genuine book
Published 9 days ago by peter444
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read.
Published 13 days ago by Mrs. E
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book shed light on life in China of old time
Published 21 days ago by Eva Fielding-Jackson
4.0 out of 5 stars Farming in China
(Note - this is only book one of the trilogy, which the advertised title is misleading about)

A very interesting account of a poor farmer living at some point in China's... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Kublai
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good Earth is no less depressing finally but somehow uplifting ...
After reading the Wild Swans (following a visit to China) I was thoroughly depressed. The Good Earth is no less depressing finally but somehow uplifting during the course of the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. G. H. Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Chosen for reading group
Published 1 month ago by irene reveco
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
I don't have too much to say about this book other than it taught me a lot about Chinese history. It was a brilliant read nd I could not put it down. Wuld recommend.
Published 3 months ago by Sally J. Budd
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking
I read this because it was recommended by my Book Club. I really enjoyed it. Although written many years ago, it could still be appropriate today as it shows how people can lose... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. B. D. Hollidge
5.0 out of 5 stars A last from the past
A wonderful book by a wonderful writer quite some years since Infirst read this but both the story and the narrative have lost any of it's power
Published 5 months ago by Luck on the brightside
1.0 out of 5 stars Print Defects
I do not mind a used book but this book is poorly printed and had I noticed before I would have returned it for a full refund. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Miss Amaya Manzano
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