America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction
Publication Date: February 4, 2002
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There is no writer more quintessentially American than John Steinbeck. More than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. Yet his nonfiction-the writings in which he spoke directly about his world-has often been overlooked.
Now, Steinbeck's last published book is available again, along with a collection of his finest reportage, including the newspaper articles that inspired his masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath.
For thirty years, Steinbeck pursued a parallel career as a journalist, even as he won fame as a novelist. In America and Americans, Susan Shillinglaw and Jackson J. Benson offer a brilliant selection of his finest nonfiction. Here are Steinbeck's writings about Salinas, San Francisco, Monterey, and Sag Harbor; his moral and political commentary; his coverage from the battlefronts of World War II and Vietnam; his literary criticism; and his reflections on friends, Henry Ford, Robert Capa and Ed Ricketts. And most important of all is the primary text, America and Americans-an extended look at the nation he loved and criticized all his life. This remarkable volume offers a portrait of the artist as citizen deeply engaged in the world around him.
Susan Shillinglaw is a professor of English at San Jose State University and the 2012-13 President's Scholar. She has published widely on Steinbeck, including introductions to Penguin Classics editions of Steinbeck's works as well as A Journey into Steinbeck's California (2006) and Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage (2013). From 1987 to 2005 she was the Director of the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State.