In 1960, John Steinbeck set out to rediscover and document his native land; accompanied only by his dog, he travelled all across the United States in a pick-up truck. This Penguin Classics edition of Travels with Charley includes an introduction by Jay Parini.
When he was almost sixty years old, worried that he might have lost touch with the sights, the sounds and the essence of America's people, Steinbeck took note of his itchy feet and prepared to travel. He was accompanied by his French poodle, Charley, diplomat and watchdog, across the states of America from Maine to California. Moving through the woods and deserts, dirt tracks and highways to large cities and glorious wildernesses, Steinbeck observed - with remarkable honesty and insight, with a humorous and sometimes sceptical eye - America, and the Americans who inhabited it. What he saw was a lonely, generous nation too packed with individuals for single judgements; what he saw made him proud, angry, sympathetic and elated. His vision of how the world was changing still speaks to us prophetically through the decades.
John Steinbeck (1902-68), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for literature, is remembered as one of the greatest and best-loved American writers of the twentieth century. During the Second World War Steinbeck served as a war correspondent, his journalism later collected in Once There Was a War (1958), and he was awarded the Norwegian Cross of Freedom for his portrayal in The Moon is Down (1942) of Resistance efforts in northern Europe. His best-known works include the epics The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952), and his tragic novella Of Mice and Men (1937). John Steinbeck's complete works are published in Penguin Modern Classics.
If you enjoyed Travels with Charley, you might like Cannery Row, also available in
Penguin Modern Classics.
'Pure delight, a pungent potpourri of places and people'
The New York Times Book Review