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Travels with Charley: In Search of America (1962)

by John Steinbeck

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,979167941 (4)1 / 441
The chronicle of Steinbeck's journey across America with his dog Charley.
  1. 40
    The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson (John_Vaughan)
  2. 20
    The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck (John_Vaughan)
  3. 10
    No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin (andomck)
    andomck: Non fiction from these novelists where their pets play a large role. Also, UKL has an essay in her book about knowing Steinbeck in real life
  4. 11
    Tagebuch, später (edition suhrkamp) by Andrzej Stasiuk (Philosofiction)
  5. 11
    Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon (usnmm2)
  6. 11
    Coast to Coast by Jan Morris (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Two authors with different backgrounds but both books filled with love of travel and America.
  7. 00
    Of Men and Their Making by John Steinbeck (Booksloth)
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English (166)  Spanish (1)  All languages (167)
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
Vor einigen Jahren habe ich Die Reise mit Charley (OT: Travels with Charley) von John Steinbeck im Original gelesen und war begeistert! Nun habe ich Steinbecks Reise durch Amerika noch einmal gelesen, diesmal in der deutschen Übersetzung. Meine Begeisterung ist ungebrochen.

Im Frühherbst 1960 begibt sich der Autor John Steinbeck mit seinem Pudel Charley auf eine Reise durch sein Heimatland. In einem nach Steinbecks Vorstellungen gebauten Campingwagen fährt das Paar durch die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika; es geht Steinbeck jedoch nicht nur darum, einmal "etwas Anderes" zu sehen, sondern er will sehen, wie es um sein Land steht. Und was er vorfindet, beeindruckt den Autor stark - sowohl positiv als auch negativ. Sein Reisebericht - dieses Buch - erscheint im Jahr 1962.

John Steinbecks Reisebericht liest sich hervorragend. Mehr als einmal hatte ich das Gefühl, einen richtigen Roman bzw. Kurzgeschichten zu lesen anstatt "nur" einen Reise- und Statusbericht. Steinbeck lässt viele humorvolle, aber auch traurige und beängstigende Anekdoten mit seinen Mitmenschen einfließen. Auch sein Hund Charley wird ausgiebig "besprochen".

Hervorzuheben ist die Aktualität seines Werks. Obwohl das Buch über 50 Jahre auf dem Buckel hat, erscheinen viele von Steinbecks Bemerkungen aktueller denn je, manchmal scheint es sogar, als würde er in eine Glaskugel schauen und den Ist-Zustand der heutigen Welt beschreiben. Viele Zitate machen nachdenklich: "Ich wollte, ich hätte nichts gegen Unterseeboote, denn dann fände ich sie schön. Aber sie sind zum Zerstören geschaffen".

Fazit: Ein großartiges Werk, das alles Andere als verstaubt wirkt und teilweise nicht aktueller sein könnte. ( )
  Gesa-Marie | Aug 25, 2020 |
Not bad as memoirs go. Not great, as Steinbeck goes. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
I haven't read many travelogues; off-hand I can only think of three prior to this one. Two of those were pleasant enough but unspectacular and the other was so dull I did not finish. But this is Steinbeck! Travelogue by a Nobel Prize winning writer - surely it's got to be good? After all I'm a big fan of his fiction - surely I would like this!

And I did. It's 1962 and Steinbeck has decided he's out of touch with his own country so he's going to go on a road trip in a camper van, taking his dog, Charley the elderly French Poodle, with him and leaving his wife behind...interesting choice there, John! But before he can leave a hurricane hits Long Island and he has to heroically rescue his boat. This tale of adventure before the trip even starts reminds me that Steinbeck was a fully paid up member of the WAMS - that is the White American Macho School (of writers). The founding father of this school was Jack London and the epitome was Earnest Hemingway. Note that what they wrote is irrelevant; membership is determined by their character and actions. Steinbeck's macho tendencies seem to be somewhat mellowed by age at the point of embarking on this trip - but not if his beloved boat is at stake!

So Macho John goes off to explore 40 of the lower 48 States in the space of a few months, decrying "progress" as he goes; insufficiently macho nature of the new generation, rampant comsumerism (you ain't seen nothin' yet, John!), inner city decay, enormous population growth, consequent environmental degradation... But this is no litany of complaints, most of it involves high quality description of the landscape and poking gentle fun at all and sundry (including himself and Charley) in various amusing anecdotes - reminding me that when he wanted to, Steinbeck could write humour as well as despair, something I find easy to forget.

Towards the end he arrives in the Deep South which is going through the throes of Desegregation and we are treated for the first and only time, to Steinbeck's anger, outrage and contempt; he can't figure out why anybody thinks Black people are different from White people in any meaningful way, you see...

Well worth a look if you're a Steinbeck fan; if you aren't, well, it's still worth a look! ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
In the early 60's, a few years before his death, Steinbeck gets a truck, puts a camper in the bed, and fills it up with liquor and coffee to share with the people he meets while circling America. I love that.

It's a time capsule of a book, poetic as he always is, and made me think a lot about how he must have developed the deep characters of his books. ( )
  mitchtroutman | Jun 14, 2020 |
Steinbeck is able to draw astute insights from what is essentially a run of the mill road trip. Two things struck me. First, how much of the national highway system was in operation by 1960. Second, it would be almost impossible for someone to travel this way today. Imagine being able to pull off on the side of a road in a random place and spend the night. ( )
  grandpahobo | May 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
Steinbeck’s book-length account of his journey, “Travels With Charley: In Search of America,” published in 1962, was generally well reviewed and became a best-seller. It remains in print, regarded by some as a classic of American travel writing. Almost from the beginning, though, a few readers pointed out that many of the conversations in the book had a stagey, wooden quality, not unlike the dialogue in Steinbeck’s fiction.

Early on in the book, for example, Steinbeck has a New England farmer talking in folksy terms about Nikita S. Khrushchev’s shoe-pounding (or -brandishing, depending on whom you ask) speech at the United Nations weeks before Khrushchev actually visited the United Nations. A particularly unlikely encounter occurs at a campsite near Alice, N.D., where a Shakespearean actor, mistaking Steinbeck for a fellow thespian, greets him with a sweeping bow, saying, “I see you are of the profession,” and then proceeds to talk about John Gielgud.

Even Steinbeck’s son John said he was convinced that his father never talked to many of the people he wrote about, and added, “He just sat in his camper and wrote all that [expletive].”
 

» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steinbeck, JohnAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Álvarez Flórez, José ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bianciardi, LucianoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duvivier, M.M.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farber, PaulPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foerster, IrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foerster, Rolf HellmutTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fritz-Crone, PelleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herman, Rein F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parini, JayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sampietro, LuigiEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinise, GaryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to
HAROLD GUINZBURG
with respect born of an association and
affection that just growed.
-JOHN STEINBECK
First words
When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch.
Quotations
No newspaper had printed the words these women shouted. It was indicated that they were indelicate, some even said obscene...But now I heard the words, bestial and filthy and degenerate. In a long and unprotected life I have seen and heard the vomitings of demoniac humans before. Why then did these screams fill me with a shocked and sickened sorrow?
For how can one know color in perpetual green, and what good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?
When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked.
Who has not known a journey to be over and dead before the traveler returns? The reverse is also true: many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.
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The chronicle of Steinbeck's journey across America with his dog Charley.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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