Murdock Hendrix's Reviews > Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
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Sep 24, 11

Read in May, 2006

** spoiler alert ** It's been a long time since I have read a Steinbeck novel, probably since high school. Shame on me! His writing is so vivid and so complete that reading this book has re-kindled my desire to read more of his offerings.

In the book Travels with Charley in Search of America John Steinbeck travels America with his dog, Charley, in a huge loop from Sag Harbor, New York over the plains to the Northwest, down through California, across the West and down into the Deep South of New Orleans and back home again. This book was written in the turbulent '60's, a time of racial tension, and a revolution of self expression from young Americans.

He travels in a customized 3/4 ton pickup truck with a camper top, complete with stove, heater, refrigerator and chemical toilet. Mr. Steinbeck has chosen an appropriate name for his home on wheels, Rocinante, named after Don Quixote's horse.

As I read, John Steinbeck, reproduces the highs and lows of his travels in America. I was struck by the fact that in our own time we are experiencing the turmoils of race relations and the tension of a war overseas. I wondered if Mr. Steinbeck were to take his trip again, same places, different time, if the resulting trip would create a similar writing.

I enjoyed this book immensely, well written and it draws you into the traveling itself. For me, the highlight of the book was his visit with the old gang back at his childhood home town, Salinas, California. The lowest point in the book was the narration of his visiting the cheerleaders in New Orleans.

I highly recommend this book to all who want to travel with John Steinbeck during the '60's and have him lull you into the adventure of a lifetime.
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