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Travels with Charley in Search of America (original 1962; edition 1980)

by John Steinbeck

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5,301115831 (4.01)1 / 348
Member:kristinevandusen
Title:Travels with Charley in Search of America
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:Penguin Books (1980), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:read in high school

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Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck (1962)

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I did not read it when it was required in college but quite a few years later. Not that inspiring. I think it was more relevant in 1970, for some reason. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
For the obsessed road-tripper, this is a timeless classic.

I love books about travel and the experiences that the narrator encounters. Even more so when it's about road trips in (relatively) modern America, as it's something I love to do every summer or so. So when I was on my road trip going through Salinas last summer, I decided to stop at the John Steinbeck museum. Ever since I read the awesome [b:East of Eden|4406|East of Eden|John Steinbeck|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1368072889s/4406.jpg|2574991], I knew that I eventually wanted to read the rest of his collection. While at the museum, I saw a wonderful exhibit, a map of the United States with the route taken in this book, [b:Travels with Charley|1823072|Travels with Charley|John Steinbeck|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1346020711s/1823072.jpg|1024827]. This was the next Steinbeck book that I wanted to read.

I think the best way to classify this book is as a memoir. It details some of the interesting experiences that Steinbeck encounters throughout his travels. He speaks very clearly that this writing does not paint a picture of America, nor of the people. Rather, it is his own personal narrative of his experiences. Which is what a memoir is. He expresses his innermost thoughts, most of which he dwells upon while he is on open road. Something that I can relate to wholeheartedly.

Of course, the book is not complete without Charley, his trusty and faithful companion. Next time I'm on a road trip, I might want to bring my dog! He breathes life and personality into Charley, much as any dog owner might do of their own dog.

Wonderfully written. Another great Steinbeck classic. A must read for anyone! ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
The mystic allure of an aimless trip accompanied by just a dog makes me want to quit everything and do it. Someday, I expect it will. ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
Enjoyable and unsettling. The first half of the trip was a joy to travel along with Mr. Steinbeck. The last half a pain in the ass and disagreeable as he never skirted from the social issues shoved in his face in 1960. I have read some accounts that prove this book was fiction, but I don't care. I also read that Steinbeck was dying. Again, I do not care. This was a great book, and is still applicable to the times we live in today. But it takes courage and a bit of tolerance to read this accounting of America by John Steinbeck. Not much has changed except for it getting worsened by the hands of its inhabitants. Too bad we couldn't erase some of our so-called progress and the promises it made. But it is what it is, and it is mine for the time I might have left to enjoy it. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 24, 2015 |
Wonderful. ( )
  ratastrophe | Jan 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 113 (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 (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steinbeck, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parini, JayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinise, GaryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142000701, Paperback)

In September 1960, John Steinbeck and his poodle, Charley, embarked on a journey across America. A picaresque tale, this chronicle of their trip meanders through scenic backroads and speeds along anonymous superhighways, moving from small towns to growing cities to glorious wilderness oases. Travels with Charley in Search of America is animated by Steinbeck’s attention to the specific details of the natural world and his sense of how the lives of people are intimately connected to the rhythms of nature—to weather, geography, the cycle of the seasons. His keen ear for the transactions among people is evident, too, as he records the interests and obsessions that preoccupy the Americans he encounters along the way.

Travels with Charley in Search of America, originally published in 1962, provides an intimate and personal look at one of America’s most beloved writers in the later years of his life—a self-portrait of a man who never wrote an explicit autobiography. It was written during a time of upheaval and racial tension in the South—which Steinbeck witnessed firsthand—and is a stunning evocation of America on the eve of a tumultuous decade.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:50 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Steinbeck records his emotions and experiences during a journey of rediscovery in his native land.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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