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America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  436 ratings  ·  41 reviews
More than four decades after his death, John Steinbeck remains one of the nation's most beloved authors. Yet few know of his career as a journalist who covered world events from the Great Depression to Vietnam. Now, this distinctive collection offers a portrait of the artist as citizen, deeply engaged in the world around him. In addition to the complete text of Steinbeck's...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1966)
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Walden by Henry David ThoreauA Room of One's Own by Virginia WoolfA Collection of Essays by George OrwellThe Complete Essays by Michel de MontaigneEssays and Lectures by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Best/Favorite Books of Essays
124th out of 366 books — 128 voters
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom StoppardFantastic Voyage by Isaac AsimovFlowers for Algernon by Daniel KeyesThe Proud Tower by Barbara W. TuchmanThe Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
Best Books of 1966
32nd out of 69 books — 40 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 950)
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Кремена Михайлова
Началото беше като завръщане в свои води (при позабравения от мен Стайнбек). Салинас – стоплящо място въпреки описаните несгоди...

Дали Стайнбек ми е толкова скъп, защото с него съм започнала четенето на „истинска“ литература, може би към края на училищната възраст? Или защото ми е първият опит за превод. Много смело от страна на госпожа… (???) да ни даде началото на „Гроздовете на гнева“ за домашно.

Много е интересно дълго след прочита на някое произведение да се види основата за написването му....more
Allan
America and Americans was Steinbeck's last published book, and this edition combined the volume-a series of observations on American society at the time-with articles, grouped thematically, that the author had written over the years for various magazines and newspapers.

I loved Travels with Charley when I read it a few years ago, and this book frequently hits the heights of the writing in that title-Steinbeck is at times funny, often thoughtful and always interesting in the approach that he takes...more
Izumen
Америка и американците: http://izumen.blogspot.com/2014/02/bl...

"Америка и американците" е сборник с повече от петдесет нехудожествени текстове, като по-голямата част от тях са писани от Стайнбек по време на неговата 30-годишна кариера като журналист. След като прочетох "На изток от Рая" и "За мишките и хората" , прецених, че е време да се запозная и със самия автор. Интересни ми бяха неговата биография и възгледите му относно теми, като писането, книгите и изобщо отношението към живота. Е, "Аме...more
Rick
It’s only the last 80 pages of this collection that is America and Americans, one of Steinbeck’s last published books (originally published with a series of photographs as well), so the weight of the title is a little off. America and Americans is a sardonic, not always convincing but fairly provocative series of essays on America at midcentury and its infatuation with material things and the impact of this infatuation on our national character. If you are sold that there was a national characte...more
Jules Alder
Since I'm currently reading the Great Gatsby, this is an excellent time to inform or remind people that a real appreciation of the days leading up to the Great Crash of '29 requires Steinbeck. A new journalist before the term was even around, this collection of essays and articles, many of which recall the days leading up to and including the Great Depression, tell a fanciful tale that is often hard to believe is part of American history. Steinbeck himself barely survived. Had it not been for a...more
Chris
In America and Americans we see a different side to John Steinbeck. We don't see the earthy novelist writing about Salinas or some other nameless province in California. We see John Steinbeck the journalist writing about an America he is intimately acquainted with. An America he at once loves and seethes with frustration at. John was equally capable of praise and condemnation.

The book is a collection of articles written over decades all with a common theme: America. The articles discuss both the...more
Robert
It is such a shame that John Steinbeck, my favorite author, spent virtually all of his time in the latter part of his career writing non-fiction, America and Americans included. The ONLY reason I finished this book (I thought about not finishing it many times) was because I love so many of John Steinbeck's earlier works, that reading about his life is of some interest to me. However, America and Americans sounds more like the ranting of an old man than it does the insights of a brilliant writer....more
Elise
I first started reading this on our 8th grade year-end trip to San Francisco, as I wanted to take a California author with me. As one can imagine, between all the sight-seeing, teenage drama, and yes, a trip to the ER, I had very little free time for reading, which is why, over a month later, I've just finished America and Americans - just as the school year wraps up.

As somebody whose background knowledge on Steinbeck consisted of having read only two of his books (The Grapes of Wrath and Travel...more
Kai
“Poi la gente smise di fare investimenti […] Ricordo che venivano intervistati i Big Boys - i banchieri e gli industriali - quelli che sapevano. Alcuni acquistarono spazi per rassicurare i milionari in rovina: ‘È solo un ribasso fisiologico. ‘Non temete: comprate, continuate a comprare’. Intanto i Big Boys vendevano e il mercato implose.”



Cronaca di questi giorni? Il tempo è ciclico, le sacre scritture indiane, Budda, Giambattista Vico, Friedrich Nietzsche, ci avevano avvertito. Questione di erme...more
J
“Poi la gente smise di fare investimenti […] Ricordo che venivano intervistati i Big Boys - i banchieri e gli industriali - quelli che sapevano. Alcuni acquistarono spazi per rassicurare i milionari in rovina: ‘È solo un ribasso fisiologico. ‘Non temete: comprate, continuate a comprare’. Intanto i Big Boys vendevano e il mercato implose.”



Cronaca di questi giorni? Il tempo è ciclico, le sacre scritture indiane, Budda, Giambattista Vico, Friedrich Nietzsche, ci avevano avvertito. Questione di erme...more
Georgie
Many interesting non-fiction Steinbeck pieces. Didn't read all of them, but found many to be of interest. Read all of America and Americans….fascinating to read what Steinbeck thought about our country 50 years ago. He was right on target most of the time, even now. And, of course, he's a superb writer which makes it all the more appealing.
April Hougey
I loved this book so much. Steinbeck has been one of my favorite authors for a long time, but not until reading this did I really know much about him as a person. Reading America and Americans gave me an opportunity to see the way his mind worked in a more objective way. I could compare his observations of the world with my own, and in many cases John Steinbeck's observations of the world from 50-60 years ago were very similar to my own observations of the world today. Every single article or es...more
Nelly
I absolutely loved this, John Steinbeck has a very special place in my heart. Even though I always enjoyed reading, it wasn't until I read "Of Mice and Men" when I was 15 that I realized that a book can be something other than just a story. It was the literary version of getting punched in the stomach. I still remember how I felt each time I read a Steinbeck novel.
This was my first time reading any of his non-fiction, however. It covers everything from his life in California, his travels to Pari...more
Martha
I loved this book from the second story and began to dogear the pages I wanted to return to. Now the book is 1/2 and inch bigger because almost every page is dogeared! There a lots of short, easily readable, quickly digestible stories and articles in this book. And, it is incredibly relevant to today and our times which I found amazing considering most of the writing is from the 50's and 60's. I was a fan of Steinbeck's East of Eden but this made me want to seek out every word he ever wrote. Thi...more
Sam
This should be MANDITORY reading for right before you go into "the real world". Its a well written book, like most of Steinbecks, and it takes a hard look at the American way of life and lets on understand certain aspects of ourselves that may not be enjoyable to read about, but definetly nessicary. If you havent read it, YOU SHOULD.

Also a great quote from the book that I will remember for always,
"If you want to read what a group of people did you read non-fiction, if you want to know why they d...more
Kent Winward
This collection of Steinbeck's non-fiction is hit and miss. Some of it is contained in his other work. It has some value in giving a perspective on his fiction, but much of the fiction is superior. The Log from the Sea of Cortez contains much of the same writing as the section on Ed Ricketts. The book is for Steinbeck fans, but read some of his fiction if you aren't going to read everything he wrote.
Brett
I loved this collection of Steinbeck's nonfiction. He is hilarious and it doesn't really come out in his fiction. There were several articles that had me cracking up (loved My War With The Ospreys). There were also some really heartfelt pieces he wrote on his friends. The set of essays America and Americans that end this volume actually were probably my least favorite. The way he wrote on the wars that he covered as a journalist (WW2 and Vietnam) as well as his travel writings were fantastic.
Ashley
Aug 22, 2007 Ashley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anybody who loves American Lit
Somehow I missed Steinbeck in school... I'm not really sure how that happened. At any rate, I recently rediscovered Steinbeck and have become a full convert. I'll read almost anything with his name on it. These essays and short stories were fascinating as I'd never read much of his shorter work or work he produced for different magazines.

I particularly liked "War with the Osprey." So much of Steinbeck's longer fiction is so heavy, it was nice to see his more playful side.
Rob
Until I read Travels With Charley in Search of America, I had not read Steinbeck. After reading Travels, I wanted to read more of his nonfiction. I wasn't disappointed. The piece he wrote on his friend, Eddie Ricketts, was worth the cost of the book alone. I honestly doubt I will read his fiction (I don't read much fiction as it is) but I have a biography of Steinbeck which weighs in at just over 1,000 pages that I think I'll have to read now.
adam
Dec 01, 2010 adam added it
A few were really great essays:
-Americans and the Future - a look at what is going wrong with the country and us all, circa 1966
-A Primer on the 1930s - entertaining and happily nostalgic account of what being a new author during the depression was like ("a man would have to be pretty stupid to live near the sea and starve")
-Conversation at Sag Harbor - the story of a manly bonding father-son weekend with a pretty great 'you're a man now' speech
Dana
Steinbeck's observations of American society, plus some essays from his European travels and war correspondence, are collected in this volume. His acute insight and clear writing, devoid of literary frills, allow the reader to see Steinbeck's subjects honestly and intimately. His encounters with starving migrant workings are especially stark.
Heather
Good overview of the whole spectrum of Steinbeck's nonfiction--even including some of his extreme downer nagging from when he's older. Great broadview, with some real gems. Heightened my understanding of where he's coming from.
Highly recommended for ant Steinbeck enthousiasts.
Anna
Oct 30, 2007 Anna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: readwhileinchina
I love Steinbeck because I like the way he writes. I like the era he comes from, and I love his perspective and his understanding of the world around him. This book is full of little essays and great observations that you may have made before but couldn't express so eloquently.
Val
Dec 21, 2008 Val marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: Everyone
I have never read anything as succinct as America and Americans (I own another out-of-print edition, but snapped this edition up when it came out several years ago). This reads like "Travels with Charlie" and the intercessory chapters of Steinbeck's novels.
Bill Lancaster
Only commenting on the Steinbeck portion of this book:

I couldn't read this without hearing Dennis Miller say, "I don't want to get on a rant, but . . . ." While Steinbeck keeps the ebb and flow of his novels, this book is a big whining mess.
Lisa
Steinbecks 2nd non-fiction book, America and Americans is an EXCELLENT commentary of America's state of being and mind in 1966. So much of what he observed is STILL applicable to today.....fortunately and unfortunately.
Alina D.
It was great. Steinbeck comments on surprising subjects such as slavery, marriage, childrearing, the elderly, ecology, anthropology, individual responsibility, and materialism.
Jason
These essays are some of the mos enjoyable that I've ever read. Steinbeck had a way with words, yes, but there's a subtle humor in these pieces that I'd missed in his other work.
Stephanie
Jul 26, 2007 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: JS fans, essay writers
Reading some of Steinbeck's essays helped me appreciate his fiction more. If you like to write nonfiction, this may be a good study.
Rachel Bayles
Brilliant. Hopeful to see our nation has always had the exact same limitations, and lived to tell the tale.
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John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley...more
More about John Steinbeck...
Of Mice and Men The Grapes of Wrath East of Eden The Pearl Cannery Row

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“New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous.
But there is one thing about it - once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.”
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“I've always been amused by the contention that brain work is harder than manual labor. I've never known a man to leave a desk for a muck-stick if he could avoid it.” 8 likes
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