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Travels with Charley: In Search of America

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  36,128 ratings  ·  2,606 reviews
An intimate journey across and in search of America, as told by one of its most beloved writers, in a deluxe centennial edition

In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure
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Paperback, 214 pages
Published February 5th 2002 by Penguin (first published January 1st 1961)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
dude, steinbeck is so much better than kerouac.

and i know that is a totally obvious statement, but if i want to read a story about a man traveling across america and describing his findings, it is going to be a man with a varied vocabulary, a keen eye for detail, and some powers of interpreting his experiences. john, i am listening...

this is my first nonfiction from steinbeck, and i am impressed with how conversational it reads. he has a real skill in making his experiences near-visible to the r
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Jeffrey Keeten
“I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation- a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from any HERE. They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go someday, to move about, free and unanchored, not toward something but away from something. I saw this look and heard this yearning everywhere in every states I visited. Nearly every American hungers to move.”

 photo 29095a40-91bf-4933-b339-aefea996521b_zps0be83509.jpg
The steed...Rocinante!

John Steinbeck was not feeling very well before he decide
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Diane
I first read this book in high school, and it's what made me fall in love with travelogues. In 1960, John Steinbeck drove a small camper around the United States with his dog, Charley. He wrote that he wanted to get to know his country again, to learn more about this "new America."

"For many years I have traveled in many parts of the world. In America I live in New York, or dip into Chicago, or San Francisco. But New York is no more America than Paris is France or London is England. Thus I disco
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Kim

In 1960, when John Steinbeck was 58 years old, ill with the heart disease which was to kill him eight years later and rather discontented with life, he decided to embark on a road trip around the United States in a fitted-out pick-up truck, accompanied by his standard French poodle, Charley. Steinbeck’s plan was to re-connect with the America which had informed his fiction and to assess how much it had changed over the years.

This book is the result of that trip: part memoir, part travelogue, pa
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Jason Koivu
Goddamn it! I've driven coast to coast across the U.S. fives times already and yet, thanks to Travels with Charley I'm ready to go again!

During the mid-century period, discovering America and/or oneself through the medium of the road-trip came into vogue. While other prominent authors, such as Kerouac and Thompson, were publishing their own, more heralded versions, I prefer Steinbeck's. It lacks the hedonism of the others and I love him for that. And furthermore, these journals often get offtrac
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K.D. Absolutely
Sep 22, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Memoirs)
Shelves: travel, memoirs, nobel, 501
Six years before he died, John Steinbeck (1902-1968) had a lonesome trip aboard a camper named Rocinante (after Don Quixote’s horse) around the USA. He said that he would like to see this country on a personal level before he died as he made a good living writing about it. Considering his heart condition, such trip alone could have been disastrous to his health but he insisted. The main question that he would like to be answered was “What are Americans like today?” and after travelling with his ...more
Grip Dellabonte
May 31, 2008 Grip Dellabonte rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who enjoy Steinbeck, travelogues, standard size poodles!
Recommended to Grip by: No one recommended this book to me
I hadn't expected to enjoy this book as much as I did. It was my first travelogue, and I only read it because, a) I was bored and b)I figured I couldn't go wrong with Steinbeck - a writer I already enjoyed reading (still do).

But I have a wicked streak of wanderlust in me, too, and Steinbeck really caught me at a good time. It was Summertime, and I was already in a daydream-y mood. That mood lasted all through the book.

I managed to get through the whole trip with the cranky writer, and he was act
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Sarah
You know how the heroes of westerns and comic books and adventures are always good men? My dad likes that kind of story where the moral is, "nothing is better than a good man!" He is the type that thinks a "man" just lives the best way he can! He loves legends and spooky tales and always made himself the hero. He told us, my friends and me, that he once saved his whole platoon by jumping on a grenade, and we believed him, though he never served in the military.

So how can I not give five stars t
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Chicklit
Mar 24, 2008 Chicklit rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who don't like "classics"
Recommended to Chicklit by: book group
I have a feeling that if I had read Travels with Charley back in high school instead of The Grapes of Wrath or even Of Mice and Men, I would have actually liked Steinbeck rather than merely appreciated him.

Part of my Steinbeck indifference was obviously influenced by my teenage attitude. At 15 there were other things I'd much rather have been doing than reading novels about the great depression. Also, I had that "what does this have to do with me" attitude I saw so frequently while trying to tea
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Maciek
Eight years before a lifelong smoking habit finally killed his heart, John Steinbeck embarked on one last road trip across the United States. Steinbeck desired to see the country he described all his life with his own eyes - "to look again, rediscover this monster land", become reacquainted with its people. His sole companion would be Charley, a French standard poodle. Together they would board the Rocinante - Steinbeck's truck named after the horse of Don Quixote - and go and try to understand ...more
Chrissie
Gosh, there are so many good reviews here to read, why should I add my two cents?

While I was reading it, I found it interesting, insightful, humorous and sad. Now that is a wide range of emotions captured in a small book.

A question that always arises is: how much of this is true and how much is imagined? There is a simple answer to this. Steinbeck points out that no two people will see the same event with the same eyes. What you see depends upon who you are. This is what Steinbeck saw and expe
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Judy
Feb 11, 2012 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Buddy Read with Mikki
I read this as a buddy read with my friend, Mikki, and from the first fffft from Charley to Steinbeck's final wrong turn in his home town, no less, Steinbeck kept me cruising through his memoir of traveling 1960's America.

What can I say? I'll admit to an hesitancy to pick up Travels With Charley: In Search of America, it being non-fiction and my Steinbeck reading record being at 3 books read, 3 books loved, after all, a disappointment could be over the horizon. To my joy, Travels With Charley:
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Carol
REALLY enjoyed this eventful journey thru 40 States with Mr. Steinbeck and his dog Charley. The adventure begins in September 1960 with Hurricane Donna before he even leaves home and ends with a historic snowstorm, but everything in the middle is pretty darn good too!

The story is written with humor, but with a profound sadness to it (perhaps due to Mr. Steinbeck's declining health) and whether the novel is truly fact or just fiction is unimportant to me as I found it an insightful and entertaini

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Joe Valdez
My dip into the fiction of John Steinbeck turned into a journey, with East of Eden, Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat, The Winter of Our Discontent, The Grapes of Wrath and Sweet Thursday. It seemed appropriate to end my tour on Travels with Charley, the author's memoir of a circuitous road trip of the United States he began in September 1960 with his French poodle, Charley.

Steinbeck's account begins at his home on Long Island, New York. Getting on in years, he realizes he's been writing about a count
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Vale
Dopo anni di lotta scopriamo che non siamo noi a fare il viaggio; è il viaggio che "fa" noi.

Nel 1961 John Steinbeck decide di compiere un viaggio attraverso gli Stati Uniti perché ritiene di essersi allontanato dalle persone, dagli americani e uno scrittore questo, non se lo può permettere.
E' un libro per gli irrequieti, gli amanti di Chatwin e di Kerouac e per tutti gli animi vagabondi:

Vedevo nei loro occhi qualche cosa che avrei rivisto tante volte in ogni parte del paese... un desiderio roven
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Luís Miguel
“It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge in time, to protest against change.”

Sou parcial quanto a praticamente tudo o que se pode ler neste livro: Steinbeck, América, viagens, cães, cidades pequenas, estradas intermináveis, carros, conversas com desconhecidos... E podia continuar. Já fiz uma pequena ideia de tudo isso, vivi, respirei e amei o ar puro do Montana, deixando no canto da memória Nova Iorque e tudo mais - tal como Steinbeck o havia feito em 1960. A liberdade daquel
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Christopher
What is there not to love about a travelogue featuring John Steinbeck and his French poodle Charley? Look at them, they're best friends:



And check out the awesome Rocinante (named after Don Quixote's horse), a custom-made camper truck that carried them around America:



This is the route they took that I'd love to retrace someday:

Diane D.
I am very partial to John Steinbeck and this book, just like the others I've read, does not disappoint.

This non-fiction 'memoir' of sorts made me laugh (many times) and also delved into some very serious and sensitive subject matter - given that it was a journey across America in the turbulent year of 1960 gives you an idea of what I am talking about. Along lighter lines, imagine buying/renting a self-contained sturdy vehicle, packing it up (overloading it as JS admits, causing a tire blowout w
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CELIA
Dec 02, 2007 CELIA rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who liked Fast Food Nation
Really loved this book. It's basically Steinbeck's cross-country musings about his travels with his big poodle, Charley. What I loved about it was that it lacks Steinbeck's usual heavy-handed doom and gloom. It's not lighthearted, just thoughtful. It's interesting to see how the US was becoming what it is now, McDonaldland. There's a really great section where he describes the growth of cookie-cutter hotel rooms. In the South, he speeds by someone who mistakes his big black poodle for a black p ...more
Marnie

At 58, John Steinbeck has been told by his doctor to "slow down" which to him meant the onset of a slow decline. In response he decides to gather his poodle, Charley, and go on a road trip across the United States. Seeing the U.S., in 1960, through Steinbeck's eyes was a delight and an image of a world long gone. I don't think you could embark on such a trip now, in 2014, where people are leery of strangers. I think that's part of the magic of this book- it is filled with nostalgia.

I am a fan of
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Becky
May 09, 2010 Becky rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: Laura
I admit it, I probably would have never picked this one up on my own, so when it came into my hands, I wasn't sure I'd like it. I think "non-fiction" and I think "dry, boring, insomnia-cure". But boy, was I pleasantly surprised to be wrong about this one! It was not dry or difficult to read or boring at all. On the contrary, it was fun, and entertaining and funny and interesting.

There were parts in which I found myself upset with Steinbeck himself, mainly for his blase attitude about certain th
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Rob
First up 'The Grapes of Wrath' had a profound affect on me as an impressionable 13 year old. I therefore have a type of reverence for Steinbeck that I find a little hard to shake. I love the way he looks at the world. There is a lot of respect for humanity in his writing. This respect for us humans in all of our weakness, goodness and strangeness came through in this book.
Maybe this is not great book and maybe authors only have a few great books in them or their powers decline as they age but i
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Doneen
Recently our Sunday paper travel section had a list of recommended travel books so that's why I tried this one. Plus I like Steinbeck and think he's pretty funny when he's not writing "Grapes of Wrath" or "Mice and Men." This was written about 1960, when he was older and grumpier. But it's a great take on his ideas about America at that time. There's a quote near the end of the book which really resonated with me.

"In the beginning of this record I tried to explore the nature of journeys...people
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Laurel Hicks
I was a teenager in 1960 when 58-year-old John Steinbeck, accompanied by his French-born poodle, Charley, took a trip around the United States to see his country one last time. This book is a record of the things that stood out to him. With a novelist's skill, Steinbeck chooses his scenes and his emphases, whether on the taciturnity of New Englanders, the loneliness of the western deserts, or the racial turbulence of the Southeast. Steinbeck's keen, warmly honed observations gave me pleasure in ...more
Jim
No, I don't think you can capture all of America in a single book -- however much John Steinbeck in Travels with Charley: In Search of America. That "In Search of America" was probably the idea of some overeager editor for the Curtis Publishing Company. Just as I don't think there will ever be a Great American Novel. This is one contest that Herman Melville wins hands down with Moby Dick, if only because he doesn't even try to capture the U.S. "from sea to shining sea." It's about whales.

I've re
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Barbara
I am now 'officially' a Steinbeck fan. This is only the second book I've read by him, and this is non-fiction. Steinbeck was 60 years old when he went on the road with his standard poodle Charlie to drive across the U.S. He lived at the tip of Long Island NY and drove north first to Maine. I loved his description of New Englanders, their reserve and tendency to be taciturn. He worried in 1960 about the disappearance of the unique way of speaking on Deer Isle, Maine. That was 54 years ago, and it ...more
Will Byrnes
Steinbeck put a house on a pickup, left the wife behind in their Long Island home and traveled the nation for several months. This is his tale of that experience. I found many quotables here, and I guess one should expect that when the traveler’s name is Steinbeck. In a book of about two hundred pages, one can hardly expect a detailed look at all of America. Steinbeck picks his spots. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. It was, of necessity, merely a sketch of some parts of the country. But some ...more
E.W.
Once in a while you come across a statement, a quote, a quip, from a writer with whom you have only ever read their "fiction" and suddenly you understand why you like their body of work. Such is the case with Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley." Steinbeck writes with perception and precision that plumbs the depths of the American psyche and reveals much, not about America, but about himself, about how he moves through the world or how the world moves around him. Time and again I found myself nodd ...more
Laurel

This is John Steinbeck's wonderfully written memoir of his journey across America with his dog, Charley. As one who loves Steinbeck, travel, and travel memoirs -- it's no surprise that I really enjoyed this book.

What did surprise me was Steinbeck's humor. His recollections are full of witty tales about his dog and his encounters with various people they meet along the way. There’s one scene that is quite funny where his dog comes across a bear for the very first time. Normally a quite cowardly
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Bach Tran Quang
Vào tuổi 58, John Steinbeck, với danh tiếng và tiền bạc có được sau những cuốn tiểu thuyết đình đám đã xuất bản quyết định lên đường, đi Phượt (theo lối của lũ trẻ internet gọi bây giờ).

Tất nhiên, khát vọng ra đi thì luôn tồn tại trong mỗi con người. Nhưng ở người Mỹ, thì đó gần như là một "truyền thống". Đi để tìm vùng đất mới, khai phá, thám hiểm, thỏa mãn cái máu phiêu lưu chảy rần rật trong huyết quản. Nhưng đi xa chơi bời ở tuổi 58, thì ở thời nào cũng đáng nể cả.

John Steinbeck đi một mình
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Books,books&B...: August BOTM - Travels With Charley: In Search Of America 1 9 Aug 01, 2014 06:21AM  
Travels with Charley 4 67 Jul 24, 2014 10:45AM  
What do u think? 32 158 Jul 14, 2014 04:05AM  
Indian Unicorns: What do you think John thinks about the trip? 6 12 Mar 15, 2013 03:37PM  
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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
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More about John Steinbeck...
Of Mice and Men The Grapes of Wrath East of Eden The Pearl Cannery Row

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“I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.” 1013 likes
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” 1008 likes
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