Classic Views of American Life: Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Fiction

John Steinbeck, 1902-1968

The Grapes of Wrath


  • Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, a fertile agricultural valley about 25 miles from the Pacific Coast.
  • Attended Stanford University intermittently from 1919 to 1925. Did not complete a degree.
  • Worked several years as a laborer and a journalist before publishing his first novel.


  • Many of his best novels set in Monterey County, California, where he grew up.
  • Wrote three novels during the late 1930s that focused on the California laboring class (In Dubious Battle, 1936; Of Mice and Men, 1937; The Grapes of Wrath, 1939).
  • Received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, the year Travels With Charley was published.

Major Writings

Cup of Gold
The Pastures of Heaven (1932)
To A God Unknown (1933)
Tortilla Flat (1935)
In Dubious Battle (1936)
Of Mice and Men (1937)
The Long Valley (1938), short stories
The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
The Forgotten Village (1941)
Cannery Row (1945)
The Red Pony (1945)
The Wayward Bus (1947)
The Pearl (1947)
East of Eden (1952)
Sweet Thursday (1954)
The Winter of Our Discontent (1961)
Travels With Charley in Search of America (1962)
America and Americans (1966)

Critical Sources and Reviews

  • New York Times Book Review [of Steinbeck's diary of writing Grapes of Wrath] March 30 1989 ("Steinbeck's 'Grapes' With His Diary of Writing It" by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt) and April 9, 1989 ("My Work is No Good" by W illiam Kennedy, [book archive search: "Steinbeck"]
  • New York Times Book Review [of Jay Parini's John Steinbeck: a Biography], February 26, 1995 ("I'll be Ever'where," by Terry Teachout) [book archive search: "Steinbeck"]
  • New York Times Book Review[of Jackson J. Benson's biography The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer], January 6, 1984 ("Review" by Anatole Broyard) and January 22, 1984 ("A Life of Dubious Battle," by Kevin Starr), available online at [book archive search: "Steinbeck"]

Other Online sites

Guide for Book Discussion Groups, Penguin Putnam Books

The John Steinbeck Page

Retired Discussion Series

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