John Steinbeck : Novels and Stories, 1932-1937 : The Pastures of Heaven / To a God Unknown / Tortilla Flat / In Dubious Battle / Of Mice and Men (Library of America)

by John Steinbeck

Other authorsRobert DeMott (Foreword), Elaine A. Steinbeck (Foreword)
Hardcover, 1994




Library of America (1994), Edition: 1st, 909 pages


Presents five works from American writer John Steinbeck, all portraying life in rural California.

User reviews

LibraryThing member wildbill
Tortilla Flat. When I was about 19 for 6 months I lived a work for two weeks then off for a month, hang around, go to a party, sleep late kind of life. I was almost a paisano.
This book is a very personal experience. The reader grows to love the characters that come alive through the skill of the
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author. There is a strong spiritual theme in the love the characters developed for each other and how it bonded them together. The paisanos bring personal dignity to the act of drinking wine out of a fruit jar in the late sun. I didn't see any horses or a round table but the author's inspiration is made clear in the preface. On one level the characters were poor men with nothing living from day to day. On another level they all participated in the famous quests that made up the story of Danny's house.
Their high ideals and the life of Tortilla Flat set them on epic adventures that build the story. The climax is the night of the party and Danny's famous last fight. Then Danny was translated and the only sadness was that his friends did not have clothes to wear to the funeral. The story of Danny's house is part of the mythology of an imaginary place called Tortilla Flat and in my memory a little part of my life.
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LibraryThing member CarlaThonson
Gave a place for those less Christian to lay their plate, and use a linen napkin too! Breathe in slowly.
LibraryThing member brianjayjones
What's not to love about a collection of stories that contains the classic Of Mice and Men? But this typically beautiful edition from the Library of America is so much more. It contains Steinbeck's earliest writings, ranging from the the pastoral (The Pastures of Heaven)and the poetic (To A God
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Unknown), to outright slapstick (Tortilla Flat). But the real sleeper in here is one of the longest stories, In Dubious Battle, the story of two self-proclaimed radicals who help organize apple pickers in California. This is the darker side of The Grapes of Wrath, and Steinbeck's politics are at their most visible, volatile and exciting. From the very start, Steinbeck's narrative voice was already distinctly his own. You'll hear the storm clouds roll in through the Salinas valley, spit the arid soil out of your mouth, and smell the beans and beef cooking in worker camps. Terrific stuff.
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LibraryThing member SamSattler
Of Mice and Men

Hard as it is to believe, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is part of the American Library Association’s “Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century.” Way too often, small-minded people manage to wrangle just enough political power to do harm to those wiser than themselves, as
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is the case with those who strive to keep Of Mice and Men out of public and school libraries. They complain that the book is “anti-business” or that it condones euthanasia, or that it is filled with racial slurs and overtones. God bless their little hearts.

The book was written in 1936 and it is very much a reflection of its author and his times, a period during which men were often driven to wandering the country, taking whatever work they could get to sustain themselves for another day. Such was the case for George Milton and Lennie Small, two men who had known each other since childhood. George has always looked out for his friend Lennie because the huge Lennie is too slow-witted to take care of himself. George tells Lennie constantly how much easier his life would be without him having to worry about Lennie all the time but, truth be told, he would probably be lost without Lennie.

As the two approach the farm where they have found new work, George tells Lennie to keep his mouth closed, to let George do the talking until they have been accepted. And even though Lennie “forgets” to do so, they manage to become part of the harvesting crew. All goes well, and the crew bosses are especially impressed with Lennie’s strength and production, until Lennie starts to exhibit some of his peculiar ways. Lennie is a giant who has no real conception of his own strength, and he is a man prone to panic – a lethal combination in a man Lennie’s size.

Throw into the mix a previous misunderstanding between Lennie and a little girl that he and George are still running from, a batch of new puppies that Lennie too much loves to pet, and the boss’s pugnacious son and the son’s flirting wife, and you have all the makings of an inevitable tragedy. And happen, it does.

Steinbeck wrote Of Mice and Men with a stage production of the story always in mind. The book’s six chapters are grouped in pairs meant to be adaptable into a three-act play and, in fact, Of Mice and Men has enjoyed great success both on the stage and on the screen.

And there are still those out there who want to ban this wonderfully moving story. Unbelievable.
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LibraryThing member walterhistory
This LOA volume of Steinbeck's work includes one of his most famous novel "Of Mice & Men." In these years in the 30s, Steinbeck's deep Jewish roots come to fore although he had long repudiated his Jewish beliefs & embraced Socialism. The reader will see both ends of his writing incorporated through
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his characters. At times, a hard read but reflective of his time & understanding during the harshness of the Great Depression along with the Dust bowl in the Midwest & the disappointments of life in California during the 1930s.
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Original language


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