Friday, February 1, 2013

The Grapes of Wrath | John Steinbeck

This is a true classic. One of the things I like most about Steinbeck's writing is that he can really tell a story.  His books are full of colourful characters who are not superheroes but ordinary people. The last time I read this book was in high-school so I wanted to re-read it to remind myself why it's held in such high regard.

The Grapes of Wrath deals with the dustbowl years. They were a hard and impoverishing time in the USA when the weather and politics combined to drive people off the land and into cities in search for jobs. Farmers watched as the wind literally picked up their top-soil and blew it all away. Hard working families packed up what they could and took to the roads, often in a southerly direction, looking for jobs.
There was great animosity towards these 'migrant' workers and this conflict is well captured in this book.
Steinbeck had the ability to draw people in such a way that we empathise with them  regardless which side of the argument they are in.

Yes, it's a classic and well worth reading every few years.

As an aside  my favourite photographer is Dorothea Lange who photographed this era and recorded the plight of the workers. Well worth checking out her photos.

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