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The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to The Grapes of Wrath

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  402 ratings  ·  44 reviews
With the inquisitiveness of an investigative reporter and the emotional power of a novelist in his prime, Steinbeck toured the squatters' camps and Hoovervilles of California. Here he found once strong, independent farmers so reduced in dignity, sick, sullen, and defeated that they had been cast down to a kind of subhumanity. He contrasts their misery with the hope offered ...more
Paperback, 62 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Heyday Books (first published 1936)
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In 1936 the San Francisco News commissioned John Steinbeck, who was just starting to achieve recognition as a novelist, to write a series of articles about conditions for migrant farm workers in the Salinas Valley. The seven articles were originally published between October 5 and October 12, 1936. In 1938 Steinbeck allowed the Simon J. Lubin Society to re-publish the articles with an additional eighth chapter in a pamphlet entitled Their Blood is Strong.

The articles are of inherent interest, b
Gary  the Bookworm
The Harvest Gypsies, a thin volume of advocacy journalism, combines the prose of John Steinbeck, the newspaper man, with the haunting realism of Dorothea's Lange's photojournalism. Their shared subject is the wave of migrant workers who flooded California during the mid-1930's from the Dust Bowl states. Steinbeck went on to write The Grapes of Wrath, citing these articles as his inspiration; Dorothea Lange's famous photo, Migrant Mother, became the defining image of dignity under duress during t ...more
Jorge F.
El complemento perfecto para la lectura de "Las uvas de la ira". Un libro de no ficción (ojalá lo que cuenta fuera ficción) que remueve.
Duffy Pratt
I read The Grapes of Wrath about 40 years ago, and I remember the John Ford movie much better than I remember the book. The sketches in these seven articles are harrowing, more so than anything I remember from the book. Basically, this small series of articles carries all the political weight of the novel in about 1/20th the space, and even as short as they are, these articles are still redundant. But they are powerfully written. I was especially impressed at his sketch of three families in thre ...more
The Seven articles written by Steinbeck published in the San Francisco News in the 30s read like radio or documentary narration.. as we pan over a scene of utter hopelessness. They are news articles though, so while Steinbeck does seem to tell it like it is in horrible detail, there's not much one can do but wonder how we got through this decade. The book is yet another reminder that even in California, things aren't always as 'golden' and perfect as its reputation is believed the world over (fa ...more
Chris Blocker
In 1936, John Steinbeck toured the migrant camps and government camps of California. He wrote seven articles about the plight of the migrant workers that were published in The San Francisco News. The Harvest Gypsies is the compilation of those articles.

Having read The Grapes of Wrath there's not much to say about The Harvest Gypsies. It's clear Steinbeck was greatly moved by his experience in 1936, and it was this series of encounters that was the catalyst for his 1938 Pulitzer-winning novel. El
Wei Cho
Powerful portrayal of California during the Great Depression, especially in the Central Valley where agricultural conditions where deplorable. Steinbeck focused more on the "okies" or the people who migrated to California from the Midwest because of the Dust bowl and mentions imported hands from Asia and Latin America. This book will make your blood boil because of so much injustice and you would end up thinking if those huge agribusiness tycoons are human beings at all!
It is such a sad story an
A series of investigative newspaper articles Steinbeck had published in 1936 describing the conditions faced by those displaced by the Dust Bowl and living California. The last article in the series is Steinbeck's view on what should be done to ameliorate the conditions of those living under the tyranny of large farms and communities unwilling to recognize them as humans. I respect and greatly admire Steinbeck in that he not only describes the problems faced by those living as migrants in Califo ...more
Austin Wright
THIS BOOK NEEDS TO BE ANNEXED INTO MODERN EDITIONS OF "GRAPES OF WRATH"!!!! These are basically the scientific notes by Steinbeck which allowed him to write Wrath in the detail he did.

Did you know that California orchards can sustain themselves in the off-season with just 20 employees, but when the window for picking and canning comes, the orchard needs 2,000 employees?!?! This creates an absolute we-need-migrants/we-hate-migrants mentality.


1. Contexto histórico
Publicado en 1936, esta obra presenta la historia norteamericana durante la segunda mitad de los años 30, en mitad de la Gran Depresión y después de haberse dado el fenómeno del Dust Bowl.
La Gran Depresión comienza en 1929, crisis económica mundial que se prolongó desde la década de los años 30 hasta principios de los años 40.
Este grave suceso se vio agravado por lo que se conoció como “Dust Bowl”, uno de los desastres ecológicos más graves de la historia, que provocó la ma
Fascinating, powerful and horrifying, written in an objective style yet still allowing Steinbeck's disgust and shame at the way his native California was treating migrant workers to come through. The photographs say almost as much as the text (which only runs to some 44 pages). Well worth a read.
It's an interesting factual counterpart to The Grapes of Wrath, but seems pretty inessential given how true-to-life the novel is in the first place. Some of Steinbeck's assumptions here about foreign laborers vs. domestic laborers come off as a bit condescending, and his conclusions about the future of the agricultural industry in California missed the mark a bit. Still, for the Steinbeck completist it is a worthwhile historical document.
Paul L'Herrou
A series of newspaper articles written by Steinbeck while doing research for The Grapes of Wrath. Grapes is emotional, written from the standpoint of a family going through the experience. Harbest Gypsies gives background and what Steinbeck thought should be done to address the terrible situation of those who were forced into the largest migration within the borders of the US in our history.
Gail Richmond
If you have read THE GRAPES OF WRATH, you know the stories, but these are the essays that are the real-life verbal pictures behind Steinbeck's famous book. I read it as a part of the unit I was teaching to my 11th grade students, and the ties to current attitudes toward immigrants is startling.

Still valid reading nearly eighty years after the fact.
raccolta di sette articoli (pubblicati nel 1936 sul "san francisco news") sui lavoratori migranti in california. il materiale raccolto da steinbeck sarà la base per "the grapes of wrath"- la descrizione imparziale eppure umana delle condizioni di vita spesso disperate, della miseria, dello sfruttamento tornano nel romanzo e si percepisce la compassione dell'autore in ogni riga di questo breve saggio. con un linguaggio semplice e diretto, steinbeck racconta dei flussi migratori in california, den ...more
Seven newspaper articles written by Steinbeck before he wrote Grapes of Wrath. The articles are beautifully written, attention grabbing prose. Grapes is beautifully written, gut-wrenching poetry and prose.
This collection of articles from John Steinbeck paints vivid images of the lives of migrant workers during the Depression. This is a quick read but a heavy one nonetheless. Be prepared to have these powerful descriptions stay with you.
Marilyn Lagier
I love John Steinbeck and GRAPES of WRATH ties for my favorite book. I picked this little non-fiction booklet up at the Route 66 museum in Clinton, Oklahoma. It's 7 pieces that Steinbeck wrote for THE SAN FRANCISCO NEWS in 1936. His novel followed thereafter. The booklet also contains photos, primarily by Dorothea Lange, that exemplify Steinbeck's reports. It's simply an interesting perspective of the plight of the migrants from the Dust Bowl and how those already in California perceived them. I ...more
During the early 1930's, Steinbeck wrote a series of articles for the newspaper about the plight of the migrant workers in California, most of whom had come from the dustbowl of Oklahoma looking for work and a means to support a family. In these seven installments he opens up the life and struggle of migrant families informatively, and also heart wrenchingly. These articles and his experiences in the migrant camps and Hoovervilles made the basis from which he wrote The Grapes of Wrath, a nobel p ...more
Quick read yet so well written. I just love the way Steinbeck was able to share the details of those who migrated to California
Must read for any Steinbeck fan or anyone interested in American or California history. Descriptive and real accounts. Politically motivated? Probably a little. But he went there, he describes it in harsh detail.
Descriu amb claredat la situació dels okies a la Califòrnia dels 30, però ho fa de manera massa maniquea pel meu gust.
This is a collection of seven articles that Steinbeck wrote about the situation of the migrant workers in California, that became the basis for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

It was an interesting read, though the articles didn't go as in-depth as I expected them to (and would've liked them to.) He explains the historical context of Californian agriculture, explains why the migrants came to California, what their difficulties were, what kinds of conditions they were forced to live in and makes re
Matt  Dorsey
This compiles Steinbeck's week-long series of articles on migrant labor in California published in 1936 in the San Francisco News. The experience of visiting the migrant camps would later form the backbone for his beloved Grapes of Wrath. A devastating account, written with nearly the same fire and zeal as the novel, it makes an essential companion. I'm not really sure why this isn't just appended onto Grapes of Wrath, to be honest.
The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Heyday Books 2002) (305.563). Steinbeck actually toured a number of the migrant labor camps known as “Hoovervilles,” for this was the heart of the Depression. This is his story of the camps. This book contains a number of classic photos by Dorthea Lange . My rating: 7/10, finished 2005.
Jennifer Reed
I picked up this book to supplement teaching Of Mice and Men. Wow! The descriptions of the families that were starving are powerful. At one point he describes a child with a swollen belly and flies buzzing around his eyes. It was almost too much to read since I have 3-yr.-old. I will definitely use parts of it when we do Steinbeck works.
Interesting series of articles about California's Depression-era agricultural workers that Steinbeck wrote for an SF newspaper. Definitely has some relevance today. I didn't realize that large corporate farms were very influential regarding policy even back then. The writing is pretty basic but the subject matter is pretty compelling.
Very interesting book. Well worth the read. This is a group of articles John Steinbeck wrote in 1936 about the dust bowl migrant workers in California. He tells of the people, the camps, and the conditions in the camp and work. He tells of how bad the workers were treated and how desperate they were. Good book
In these seven articles, Steinbeck paints in broad strokes all that he finely details in Grapes of Wrath. Their are problematic passages indicative of the time's view of women and people of color, but Steinbeck was indeed a product of his times and was acutely aware of his audience.
Jun 11, 2013 Robynne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Of course, I found myself thinking about urban homelessness, and I like (most of) his thoughts. I could go without the "they're white Americans. They can't be oppressed like the immigrants were" stuff, but otherwise, a good picture of the situation and some possible solutions.
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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 about John Steinbeck...
Of Mice and Men The Grapes of Wrath East of Eden The Pearl Cannery Row

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