Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

by John Steinbeck

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
22,24929856 (4.15)1 / 1038
  1. 90
    Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck's the Grapes of Wrath by Rick Wartzman (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Centers around the controversy that exploded in California's central valleys when The Grapes of wrath was published.
  2. 80
    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (John_Vaughan)
  3. 81
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Booksloth)
  4. 50
    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (tcarter)
  5. 72
    The Heart is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (chrisharpe)
  6. 40
    The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: The only 20th century American writer who rivals Steinbeck in economy and forcefulness of language.
  7. 40
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: As much a story about the trials of individuals as a sweeping portrait and critique of an era.
  8. 73
    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (Patangel)
  9. 30
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (sturlington)
  10. 30
    Farming the Dust Bowl: A First-Hand Account from Kansas by Lawrence Svobida (nandadevi)
    nandadevi: Svobida´s book movingly describes the conditions in the Dust Bowl (he clung on for six years of crop failures) that the Joad´s left behind in their trek to California.
  11. 30
    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (JudeyN)
    JudeyN: Set in a different time and place, but similar themes. Examines the different ways in which people respond to hardship and upheaval.
  12. 20
    The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell (tcarter)
  13. 20
    Harpsong by Rilla Askew (GCPLreader)
  14. 10
    Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb (TomWaitsTables)
  15. 10
    The Bottom of the Sky by William C Pack (LoriMe)
    LoriMe: Mr. Steinbeck wrote a gritty family saga embedded in the early to mid part of the 20th Century. Mr. Pack wrote a gritty family saga embedded in the end of the 20th Century. The characters and stories moved me equally. Both are written beautifully.
  16. 10
    America's Great Depression by Murray N. Rothbard (sirparsifal)
  17. 10
    The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two stories of migrations of the working class in the US.
  18. 10
    Missing Soluch by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Called the Iranian Grapes of Wrath.
  19. 21
    The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Theme of workers' rights
  20. 11
    A Working Stiff's Manifesto: A Memoir of Thirty Jobs I Quit, Nine That Fired Me, and Three I Can't Remember by Iain Levison (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: Description de la vie d'un travailleur itinérant.

(see all 26 recommendations)

1930s (2)
Read (89)
Unread books (1,127)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (274)  Italian (5)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  Vietnamese (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (294)
Showing 1-5 of 274 (next | show all)
Wow! What a book. It's been a long time since I read it, but I remember being absolutely stunned, blown away, wowed. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 26, 2015 |
I read this for pleasure when I was pregnant because I actually had time to relax--I recall laying the book on my chest and shouting "This is the best f-ing book I've ever read!" to the silence of my apartment. Nothing more to say. This ranks up there with "Harold and the Purple Crayon." ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 14, 2015 |
My reviews always ought to be read knowing that I probably don't know what I'm talking about. I just feel that it's especially necessary to add that disclaimer when I'm reviewing a work about which so very much has been written. Really, what can I say of my own that would be useful? These are just my perfunctorily gathered-up thoughts.

It took me a hell of a long time to read the novel because I've been so ridiculously busy, which is never how I like to read any book, but eheu, what can one do? Ultimately, I thought it was heavy handed and repetitive but effective. And by effective I mean devastating. I liked Steinbeck's style and his use of—well I don't know what to call it. Ploce maybe? He repeats a previous word when other authors would reach for a synonym. Whatever it's called, it creates a rhythm in his prose. The style was quite static throughout the work; it was nice but not versatile. I liked the heavily biblical flavor of the book despite not being a fan of religion because it made sense. The Bible as literature is a civilizational epic and allusion to it lent that feeling of wide importance, even if only an objective importance, to the book. Sure, Casy was maybe too obviously a Christ figure and the stillborn child a sickening iteration of Moses, but it works for me.

"It's a noble book," I'd tell someone if my opinion were solicited. Or a noble effort, at least. It's angry, and I'm not always sure it knows at what. Angry because people are greedy, sure, but also angry because sometimes things must be bad for folks; one person's got to treat another like an animal or their empathy will prevent them from doing what must be done to look out for themselves.

It's not aesthetically the best book I've read, not even close. But it's a damn good book. ( )
  Turambar | Aug 12, 2015 |
This is a book that has stayed with me a long time. What struck me about the novel is the way the worse it got, the stronger the Joads became from the ever strong Tom to finally Rose of Sharon.

Steinbeck’s structure, one chapter focusing on the plight of the Joads and another giving a more general view of the situation allowed him to show the extent of the disruption and to personalise it.

And while this book is devastating on a scale which far exceeds that of ‘Of Mice and Men’, it contains that optimism, that statement of the resilience of people in adversity that the slimmer volume denies when George gives up and shoots Lennie. It’s almost as if Steinbeck had revised his idea of how far humans can rise above their hardships.

Now that we are into climate change with the storms, droughts, floods and fires being reported so often, I think of the dust bowl facing the Joads. It’s catastrophic that world leaders haven’t faced the challenges here in the way the Joads would have. ( )
  evening | Aug 9, 2015 |
This is the quintessential American novel of the first half of the Twentieth Century, in my view. Many would say the Great Gatsby is the novel of this half-century. And while Great Gatsby is wonderful, while it deftly captures those who thrived when America was becoming the rising global power, The Grapes of Wrath captures those who sweated and suffered and pushed on. To say nothing of the writing, which is beautiful. If we can claim a novel is essential any more, I believe this novel is precisely that—for those who care about American history, and what words can convey. ( )
1 vote DavidPaulKuhn | Jul 9, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 274 (next | show all)
Seventy years after The Grapes of Wrath was published, its themes – corporate greed, joblessness – are back with a vengeance. ... The peaks of one's adolescent reading can prove troughs in late middle age. Life moves on; not all books do. But 50 years later, The Grapes of Wrath seems as savage as ever, and richer for my greater awareness of what Steinbeck did with the Oklahoma dialect and with his characters.
added by tim.taylor | editThe Guardian, Melvyn Bragg (Nov 21, 2011)
It is Steinbeck's best novel, i.e., his toughest and tenderest, his roughest written and most mellifluous, his most realistic and, in its ending, his most melodramatic, his angriest and most idyllic. It is "great" in the way that Uncle Tom's Cabin was great—because it is inspired propaganda, half tract, half human-interest story, emotionalizing a great theme.
added by Shortride | editTime (Apr 17, 1939)
Steinbeck has written a novel from the depths of his heart with a sincerity seldom equaled. It may be an exaggeration, but it is the exaggeration of an honest and splendid writer.
Mr. Steinbeck's triumph is that he has created, out of a remarkable sympathy and understanding, characters whose full and complete actuality will withstand any scrutiny.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times, Charles Poore (pay site) (Apr 14, 1939)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Steinbeckprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baker, DylanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coardi, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schrijver, AliceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Terkel, StudsIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in


Has the adaptation

Was inspired by


Has as a study

Has as a commentary on the text

Has as a student's study guide

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To CAROL who willed it.
To TOM who lived it.
First words
To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.
Now the going was easy, and all the legs worked, and the shell boosted along, waggling from side to side. A sedan driven by a forty-year-old woman approached. She saw the turtle and swung to the right, off the highway, the wheels screamed and a cloud of dust boiled up. Two wheels lifted for a moment and then settled. The car skidded back onto the road, and went on, but more slowly. The turtle had jerked into its shell, but now it hurried on, for the highway was burning hot.

And now a light truck approached, and as it came near, the driver saw the turtle and swerved to hit it. His front wheel struck the edge of the shell, flipped the turtle like a tiddly-wink, spun it like a coin, and rolled it off the highway. The truck went back to its course along the right side. Lying on its back, the turtle was tight in its shell for a long time. But at last its legs waved in the air, reaching for something to pull it over. Its front foot caught a piece of quartz and little by little the shell pulled over and flopped upright. The wild oat head fell out and three of the spearhead seeds stuck in the ground. And as the turtle crawled on down the embankment, its shell dragged dirt over the seeds. The turtle entered a dust road and jerked itself along, drawing a wavy shallow trench in the dust with its shell. The old humorous eyes looked ahead, and the horny beak opened a little. His yellow toe nails slipped a fraction in the dust.

[Penguin ed., pp. 15-16; Chapter 3]
"The cars of the migrant people crawled out of the side roads onto the great cross-country highway, and they took the migrant way to the West. … And because they were lonely and perplexed, because they had all come from a place of sadness and worry and defeat, and because they were all going to a mysterious new place … a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream."

A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of it's going.
"They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat."
"The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine John Steinbeck's original 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath, with any film treatment, critical edition, notes (Monarch, Barron's, Sparks, Cliff, etc.), screenplay, or other adaptations of the same title. Thank you.
Publisher's editors
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
This novel is the story of a family and their journey across the United States during the Dust Bowl era. It is a tale of hardship and struggle. It does not portray a pretty scene. As the family travels in hope of finding hidden wealth in California, they come across more and more broken people. They come to realize that California is not all they thought it would be. It is the struggle of their life and the reality of heartbreak. 

This book was so sad to me. I thought it was written really well. Until this book I didn't so know so much care would be taken about the travels of a turtle through the dirt. But it made me face the hard reality of what happened in California during that time period and the brokenness of all the people. I don't like seeing that side of life.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142000663, Paperback)

When The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939, America, still recovering from the Great Depression, came face to face with itself in a startling, lyrical way. John Steinbeck gathered the country's recent shames and devastations--the Hoovervilles, the desperate, dirty children, the dissolution of kin, the oppressive labor conditions--in the Joad family. Then he set them down on a westward-running road, local dialect and all, for the world to acknowledge. For this marvel of observation and perception, he won the Pulitzer in 1940.

The prize must have come, at least in part, because alongside the poverty and dispossession, Steinbeck chronicled the Joads' refusal, even inability, to let go of their faltering but unmistakable hold on human dignity. Witnessing their degeneration from Oklahoma farmers to a diminished band of migrant workers is nothing short of crushing. The Joads lose family members to death and cowardice as they go, and are challenged by everything from weather to the authorities to the California locals themselves. As Tom Joad puts it: "They're a-workin' away at our spirits. They're a tryin' to make us cringe an' crawl like a whipped bitch. They tryin' to break us. Why, Jesus Christ, Ma, they comes a time when the on'y way a fella can keep his decency is by takin' a sock at a cop. They're workin' on our decency."

The point, though, is that decency remains intact, if somewhat battle-scarred, and this, as much as the depression and the plight of the "Okies," is a part of American history. When the California of their dreams proves to be less than edenic, Ma tells Tom: "You got to have patience. Why, Tom--us people will go on livin' when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people--we go on." It's almost as if she's talking about the very novel she inhabits, for Steinbeck's characters, more than most literary creations, do go on. They continue, now as much as ever, to illuminate and humanize an era for generations of readers who, thankfully, have no experiential point of reference for understanding the depression. The book's final, haunting image of Rose of Sharon--Rosasharn, as they call her--the eldest Joad daughter, forcing the milk intended for her stillborn baby onto a starving stranger, is a lesson on the grandest scale. "'You got to,'" she says, simply. And so do we all. --Melanie Rehak

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:03 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

The Grapes of Wrath is a landmark of American literature. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man's fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman's stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. First published in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath summed up its era in the way that Uncle Tom's Cabin summed up the years of slavery before the Civil War. Sensitive to fascist and communist criticism, Steinbeck insisted that: The Battle Hymn of the Republic be printed in its entirety in the first edition of the book-which takes its title from the first verse: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck's fictional chronicle of the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930's is perhaps the most American of American Classics.… (more)

» see all 21 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.15)
0.5 11
1 126
1.5 13
2 224
2.5 49
3 711
3.5 144
4 1552
4.5 283
5 2421


5 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

The Library of America

An edition of this book was published by The Library of America.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 99,682,337 books! | Top bar: Always visible