On Reading the Grapes of Wrath (Paperback)

On Reading the Grapes of Wrath By Susan Shillinglaw Cover Image

On Reading the Grapes of Wrath (Paperback)


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In this compelling biography of a book, Susan Shillinglaw delves into John Steinbeck's classic to explore the cultural, social, political, scientific, and creative impact of The Grapes of Wrath upon first publication, as well as its enduring legacy. First published in April 1939, Steinbeck's National Book Award-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. The story of their struggle remains eerily relevant in today's America and stands as a portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, "in the souls of the people."
Susan Shillinglaw is a professor of English and the director of the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State University.
Product Details ISBN: 9780143125501
ISBN-10: 0143125508
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: February 19th, 2014
Pages: 224
Language: English
“[Shillinglaw is] a scintillating guide. Shillinglaw explores the novel’s layers of meaning, richly mining cultural context, history, and social thought, as well as Steinbeck’s own background, work process, and politics. The captivating result resembles an extended college lecture series, appealingly combining personal reflections and a conversational tone with accessible scholarship.”
—Publisher's Weekly (Book of the Week Selection)

"Shillinglaw provides, moreover, a richly detailed account of the growth of The Grapes of Wrath...This book will appeal to serious students of Steinbeck’s work, particularly those interested in his connection to ecology and the environmental movement."
—Library Journal

"In Shillinglaw, Steinbeck, who died in 1968, has an ardent reader, dedicated to the urgency and everlasting timeliness of the author's work. More than the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and countless other decorations, this would have mattered to him."

"A concise yet penetrating study of the genesis of the book and its interlocking themes...[Shillinglaw is] an astute critic."

"As Shillinglaw so well demonstrates, Grapes is not only “an urgent book,” but it is also a work of art that has withstood the test of time. Her own On Reading The Grapes of Wrath has enduring merit as well; like a good teacher, it instructs and delights. With its accompanying notes, Shillinglaw’s little 206-page tome is such a learning experience—invaluable for teaching, researching, and understanding more fully the complexity of Grapes, with its multiple layers of content and meaning."
—Steinbeck Review
"Nobody who’s ever managed to enjoy The Grapes of Wrath should miss this powerfully memorable little study of it."
—Open Letters Monthly

"Longtime Steinbeck fans and first-time readers alike will find much to enrich their understanding of The Grapes of Wrath in Shillinglaw's book."
—Tampa Bay times

"For those familiar with the novel, try reading this book and then return for a rereading of Steinbeck’s classic. You will find it a much more rewarding experience after you have pondered the contents of Shillinglaw’s book."
—The Salinas Californian

"Susan Shillinglaw brings [the power of Steinbeck's novel] out beautifully in her excellent On Reading The Grapes of Wrath."
—Shelf Awareness