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

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  576 Ratings  ·  67 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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Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it

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
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of beautifully written essays Steinbeck wrote as a journalist in 1936 about the plight of farmworkers in California during the awful years of the Dustbowl migration. He writes from what seems now to be a naive sort of moral outrage - using words that have since been stolen by The Power that Be. He refers to the violence and cruelty perpetrated by Big Farms appropriately as “terrorism”. He refers to them as fascists.

In 2016 brutal Big Farms would be called “job creators” and the star
Jorge Cienfuegos
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
Apr 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic, journalism
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
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
May 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1930s
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
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, anthology
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
Wei Cho
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Austin Wright
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.


Buck Ward
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, reviewed
The Harvest Gypsies is a series of seven newspaper articles published in 1936 chronicling the plight of migrant farm workers in California. These are more than just news articles, they are advocacy pieces. The seeds of Steinbeck's later work The Grapes of Wrath are clear.

My edition included an informative introduction by Charles Wollenberg and photographs by Dorothea Lange and others, dated mostly from the years immediately after the articles were published
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
May 03, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the late 1930's, John Steinbeck wrote a series of articles about the migrant farm workers in California most of whom had fled the mid-western dust bowl. It's a revealing look at their lives and how they are treated by various groups along the way. While most of the essays don't reveal anything that we don't already know about these people during the Great Depression, I'm sure they were real eye openers to many Americans who were not aware of this situation. Steinbeck writes with emotion and c ...more
Encarni Prados
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esta pequeña novela es más bien un estudio sobre la población americana que se dedicaba a ir de campo en campo de jornaleros, sin embargo, no es algo pesado porque está muy bien contado, sin datos estadísticos que aburran y te muestra la realidad que vivieron en la Gran Depresión. Os lo recomiendo, sobre todo, porque este hombre escribe muy bien, ya lo había comprobado antes
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-west
Great insight into the human condition and why there are imbeciles like the current fool sitting in the White House (or out on some damn golf course).
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read it because it was added to the ninth grade non-fiction list where I teach. I think it will encourage students to read Grapes of Wrath which is on the eleventh grade list.
Tina Secondo
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
È la raccolta degli articoli scritti da John Steinbeck nel 1935 a testimonianza e denuncia di quanto stava succedendo ai migranti americani in viaggio verso la California.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting research of what was really happening during the migration to California from Oklahoma. Steinbeck did and incredible job of weaving them into The Grapes of Wrath.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Searing in its examination of how American labor is exploited.
Amanda Maregente
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most insightful, and also saddest, books about migrant labor conditions and experiences in the United States.
Stephanie Fujii
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have had this on my teacher shelf for a few years now, and have read short excerpts of it, but never read it in its entirety. This series of seven short articles were the inspiration for The Grapes of Wrath before GoW was even a twinkle in Steinbeck's eye.

What a beautiful, heartbreaking, and timely read this was. It echoed of current events, struggles and alienation of "the other." While in this case, the "other" were fellow Americans, the sentiments are all the same. Will "they" take our jobs
Martin Hernandez
Además de la calidad de John STEINBECK como autor de obras literarias, también fue un excelente reportero de investigación, tal como se puede constatar en los artículos que le publicó el San Francisco News en 1936, sobre el fenómeno de la migración de agricultores de los estados del sureste de EEUU a California. Además de la aguda visión y certero diagnóstico que STEINBECK realiza en esta serie de reportajes, estos artículos resultan de mucho interés porque en ellos se encuentra la semilla qu ...more
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Marilyn Lagier
Dec 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, steinbeck
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
Kathleen Payne
Sep 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I thumbed through this book and the premise of the is book was to describe the what was happening in California when during the dust bowl. It set the stage and research for John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath". Living in an agricultural area, I just wanted to have a better understanding of the life of the migrant workers. In some ways, things haven't changed too much in that area of life!
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-book
Originally a series of newspaper articles by John Steinbeck, this is a classic example of activism in journalism. Steinbeck gives great insight into the plight of the emigrant farmhand and the "exodusters". I felt like his description of the downward spiral created by a loss of dignity was spot on. Very short, this book is well worth the time and may just open our eyes and soften our hearts towards the down-trodden among us today.
Matt  Dorsey
Mar 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
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Steinbeck fans: The Harvest Gypsies 1 5 Nov 27, 2016 08:52AM  
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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...
“The passion to produce is very great. One man, who has not yet been assigned his little garden plot, is hopefully watering a jimson weed simply to have something of his own growing.” 2 likes
“They have one quilt and a piece of canvas for bedding. The sleeping arrangement is clever. Mother and father lie down together and two children lie between them. Then heading the other way, the other two children lie, the littler ones. If the mother and father sleep with their legs spread wide, there is room for the legs of the children.” 1 likes
More quotes…