Travels with Charley in Search of America

Version: Unabridged
Author: John Steinbeck
Narrator: Gary Sinise
Genres: Biography & Memoir, Travel
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Published In: June 2011
# of Units: 7 CDs
Length: 8 hours
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In 1960, at age 58, John Steinbeck set out with his French poodle, Charley, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years. Together they crossed America from the northernmost tip of Maine to California's Monterey peninsula, stopping to smell the grass, to see the lights, and to hear the speech of the real America. Steinbeck dined with truckers, encountered bears at Yellowstone, and reflected on the American character, racial hostility, and the unexpected kindness of strangers. Lyrical, perceptive, and surprising, it's an indispensable portrait of our national identity.

Reviews (2)

Easy Listening

Written by Albert from Annapolis, MD on December 17th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Take a ride around the USA with John Steinbeck. The author surveys our national character through the idiosyncrasies of the individuals he meets in the course of a driving trip from Maine to Washington State, south to California, and then back across the southern states. No pretensions of completeness or accuracy are made. This is a chance to become better acquainted, personally, with one of the best American writers of the Twentieth Century. I enjoyed it very much.

Wonderful trip

Written by Kathy on October 23rd, 2012

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Ahh - the joys of listening to Gary Sinise reading John Steinbeck! I have no idea what Steinbeck's voice sounded like, but to me, it will always be Gary Sinise. He read the words as if they were his own, right down to the dismay and disgust Steinbeck wrote about when describing the integration efforts in New Orleans. And for those not old enough to remember 1960 this book is a good snapshop of America at that time. It also makes the listener/reader realize that much about America doesn't change - and that includes our attributes as well as our faults.

Author Details

Author Details

Steinbeck, John

John Ernst Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, on February 27, 1902 of German and Irish ancestry. His father, John Steinbeck, Sr., served as the County Treasurer while his mother, Olive (Hamilton) Steinbeck, a former school teacher, fostered Steinbeck's love of reading and the written word. During summers he worked as a hired hand on nearby ranches, nourishing his impression of the California countryside and its people.

After graduating from Salinas High School in 1919, Steinbeck attended Stanford University. Originally an English major, he pursued a program of independent study and his attendance was sporadic. During this time he worked periodically at various jobs and left Stanford permanently in 1925 to pursue his writing career in New York. However, he was unsuccessful in getting any of his writing published and finally returned to California.

His first novel, Cup of Gold was published in 1929, but attracted little attention. His two subsequent novels, The Pastures of Heaven and To a God Unknown, were also poorly received by the literary world.

Steinbeck married his first wife, Carol Henning in 1930. They lived in Pacific Grove where much of the material for Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row was gathered. Tortilla Flat (1935) marked the turning point in Steinbeck's literary career. It received the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal for best novel by a California author. Steinbeck continued writing, relying upon extensive research and his personal observation of the human condition for his stories. The Grapes of Wrath (1939) won the Pulitzer Prize.

During World War II, Steinbeck was a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Some of his dispatches were later collected and made into Once There Was a War.

John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 “...for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and a keen social perception.”

Throughout his life John Steinbeck remained a private person who shunned publicity. He died December 20, 1968, in New York City and is survived by his third wife, Elaine (Scott) Steinbeck and one son, Thomas. His ashes were placed in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Salinas.