Travels with Charley
In Search of America
By John Steinbeck
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780140053203, 277pp.)
Publication Date: January 1980
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To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light these were John Steinbeck's goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.
With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.