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  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605148865
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605148861
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.1 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (269 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,276,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

118 of 123 people found the following review helpful By TheReader23 on 18 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
I don't know how anyone could read this book and not give it a five star rating. The true test for me of a "great book" is one that stays with me -- one I can't stop thinking about long after I've finished. I read this book for the second time in my life a month ago (first time was in high school many years ago), and I'm still haunted by the suffering endured by the Joad family. The interesting thing is that Steinbeck wrote this book in 1939 at the height of the injustices being fraught upon the migrant workers in California. I'm sure it wasn't popular then as it brought to the forefront the corruption of some powerful people in America. It also spoke to the conscience of every American which eventually led to political reform in California. After reading this book, I did some research into Steinbeck's motivation and learned that he was haunted by the plight of California's migrant workers to the point of obsession. To fuel his anger, he would visit the migrant camps each day full of their dirt, disease and hungry people and then return home to write about those people responsible for these conditions -- people he considered to be murderers.
Steinbeck concentrated on the circumstances of one family, The Joads, tenant farmers in Oklahoma until they were forced out by the larger companies who wanted their land back. With dreams of luscious grapes and peaches in abundance waiting to be picked, they loaded up their belongings and began their journey on Route 66 headed for Bakersfield, California. They began their trip with a bevy of colorful characters led by Ma and Pa Joad. It's amazing how much power Steinbeck gave to Ma Joad -- years before women had any right to a voice. Unfortunately, just as the Joads were heading out, so were thousands upon thousands of other families.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 4 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Who am I to review one of the greatest literary works of all time? Could I possibly give this book anything less than the maximum rating it so richly deserves? Should I even commence? Those were just some of my private thoughts as I finally put down a copy of this book - read. This is the book which stirred the American conscience, caused political reform and brought about change when first published in 1939. This is the book which described how families were starving to death because of corruption. This is John Steinbeck at his exceptional best. For those people who never got around to reading this engaging and absorbing account of the Joad family, may I suggest you actually purchase a copy (any copy!) and finally read it.

Today the world is either in recession or emerging from the dark grip of this latest financial catastrophe. Whilst we may live in a time when millions of families are no longer allowed to starve to death - well, not in the developed world at any rate, I earnestly believe there are lessons to be learned from this book about the rich and powerful who care not for their fellow man but only for personal gain. More importantly, those lessons are as relevant today as they were in 1939.

Another similarity also failed to escape my notice; In this book we see how US police and other officials use their positions of authority to threaten and even blackmail the many thousands of American migrants who were simply looking for work in order to feed hungry mouths. These people had not arrived from any foreign country and were not even black - something which would have made their persecution much easier. No!, these ordinary white American folk were honest farmers who had been forcibly evicted from their homes and the land they had worked for generations.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Aug. 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is one of my alltime favourite books, it combines very belivable and enjoyable charachters with a serious and tragic theme. It follows the fortunes of the Joad family as they migrate West in search of a better life. It also explores the rapid commercialisation of the West during the 20's as well as people like the Joads whom it left behind. Steinbeck breathes life into this case example family and I found myself with several favourite charachters, something I have not found in a book for a long time. Despite the poverty and sad theme of the book the strength of human spirit and hope emerges throughout the book. We can and should take lessons from this book, and the crude new greedy culture that is emerging during this novel is now ever too aparent in our society too. The introduction by Brad Leithauser is helpful for understanding the themes and background of the book, but I would not class it as esssential and it could of been explained in much more detail. If you enjoyed 'Of Mice and Men' you will love this, it is definitely Steinbecks masterpiece. All in all it is a very rewarding and un-put-downable book and I would recommend this book to everyone.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Chris Chalk on 14 July 2005
Format: Paperback
I was seriously contemplating 5 stars for this book, but then as I got toward the end of it I was reminded how tough a book this can be to read at times. I don't mean it's full of difficult long words, or that the paragraph structure is such that the reader becomes dazed and confused. What I mean is that the subject matter can really grind you down, but that is what makes the book so impressive.
The Grapes of Wrath follows a migrant farm working family from the 1930's who, during the great depression, are forced to leave their home and their livelihood to seek a future in California. This in essence is the thread of the story but what the Grapes of Wrath does is it branches off to give a number of sub-stories which really give the reader a sense of what life was like for these migrant workers.
The book in interspliced with a number social commentaries on this time, which show how badly these people were thought of, and also shows how normal "god fearing" people can turn on their own people, scared that these outsiders will ruin their way of life. These moments though do not constitute the whole book and there are a variety of other stories (purely fictional) around the family and how they bond together, yet break apart as the journey slowly wears them down.
The greatness of the book is the timelessness of it. Steinbeck shows how people will turn on each other with the right provocation. In Grapes of Wrath it's the wealthy Californians, we can see this mimicked to a point in peoples attitudes to modern day asylum seekers. People fear what they don't understand and what they are scared of they attack.
A brilliantly written book but really does need perseverance.
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