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Travels with Charley in Search of America: (Centennial Edition)

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Book Overview

An intimate journey across America, as told by one of its most beloved writers To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light--these were... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Travels with Charley

This is a quick read - very pleasant - takes you away from your daily life. I recommend it to everyone - young and old alike. I felt, however, it could have been longer.


This book is amazing. I am a dedicated John Steinbeck fan, but this book, which breaks from his usual realistic- or allegorical-fiction style, blew me away. It is a memoir of his travels with his dog. This book boils over with humanity. I would recommend it to anyone.

Still very fresh

It's amazing how relevant Steinbeck's observations of America are forty years after he wrote this book. In fact, much of what he says seems to apply even more now than when he first wrote it, such as when he observes: "the mountain of things we throw away are much greater than the things we use. In this, if in no other way, we can see the wild and wreckless exuberance of our production, and waste seems to be the index." In a similar vein, he wonders, when considering the expansion of large cities, "why progress looks so much like destruction." Steinbeck's sarcasm also comes to the surface when he notes some of the many odd habits and leisure activities of Americans, such as antique-hunting in omnipresent antique shops, which he felt were "bulging with authentic and attested trash from an earlier time." He was also quite impressed with the country's intrepid hunters, to whom he feared his poodle Charley would look like a buck deer. After spending an evening in Maine with some migrant farms workers from Quebec, he expressed (rather vainly, in retrospect) his hope that the country would not some day be overwhelmed "by people not too proud or too lazy or too soft to bend to the earth and pick up the things we eat." Far from being simply critical though, what comes out of this book is Steinbeck's great love for the country. His view that the "American identity is an exact and provable thing" still rings true today. "Travels with Charley" is not just classic travel literature, it is also a very readable and informative set of observations on America in the mid-20th century and beyond.

An amazing Odyssey across America

This year marks the 100th aniversary of the birth of Steinbeck, and this book is one of the great pleasures of an avid reader. From his home in New York, there and back again, Steinbeck crosses America in a truck named for Don Quixote's horse, (all men should name their car Rocinate, after all), with a French poodle named Charley. The worst part about the book is it is far too short, leaving a reader desiring more. Steinbeck's journey touches a side of America, the true awe and wonder for the land and her people like few novels. The work is full of humor and insight, both profound and personal. Perhaps only a handful of books pierces the American experience like "Travels with Charley". It is a book that requires a slow pace, to savor the voyage across this great land and her treasures. My experience in reading the book can best be stated by Steinbeck himself, in an observation made while leaving the state of Maine, "There are times that one treasures for all one's life, and such times are burned clearly and sharply on the material of total recall. I felt very fortunate that morning."

Stunning Account Of The Land And The People

This surely deserves its place among the hallowed shelves of Great American Writing. It stands alone as perhaps the most light-hearted of Steinbecks books, yet also one of the most sensitive and thoughtful, being a partial auto-biography. This is in no way, shape, or form, a boring book, as many disappointed young high school readers have said. Quite sorry, kids, but English class is not meant to be filled with snappy little series books that require little more thought[possibly less] than a telivision show. Steinbeck, perhaps is ''my'' writer in that he seems to capture my thoughts and feelings to the point of perfection, and with frightful clarity. This book is such a suberb rendition of America that the new comer to this country would do well to read it to get a feel for the land. It seems as if the plains of the Heartland, the peaks of the North, the desert land[that I know best] of the South West are all presented as if they are skillful little photographs, taken with a firm and learned hand.Different from the typical travel book in that it is not so much about the land or people[though they play a tangible role] as it is about the authors own emotions and thoughts on this wonderful country, this totally unique land. Reccomended to all who love Steinbeck, America, and clear thought. Pouncing Fossa

Travel 1960's America and get to know John Steinbeck !

I read Travels with Charley after reading most of Steinbeck's novels. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately read it again. This work lets the reader get a glimpse of John Steinbeck, the American and the man. I put American first because Steinbeck, I believe, was one of those men who loved his country so much, that he seemed to consider himself an American above all else. I enjoy creative works by individuals who have an unquestionable love for something. I believe Steinbeck was such a person. In the early '60's he is dismayed (but loves) America, and so sets out to rediscover her. Since he is a shy person, he takes his dog, a large black poodle named Charlie, with him to help break the ice with people as he travels around the country. What follows is an account of the places he goes and the people he meets, but more importantly to me as a huge Steinbeck fan, is the uncovering of John Steinbeck, the man. If you want a vicarious trip into '60's America or want to know John Steinbeck, you'll love this little book. I still love it !

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