'The Grapes of Wrath' is Published

The Grapes of Wrath is the Oakies' saga.

It is John Ernst Steinbeck's longest novel (619 pages) and more ambitious than all his others combined (Tortilla Flat, In Dubious Battle, Of Mice and Men, et al.). The publishers believe it is "perhaps the greatest modern American novel, perhaps the greatest single creative work this country has ever produced." It is not. But it is Steinbeck's best novel, i.e., his toughest and tenderest, his roughest written and most mellifluous, his most realistic and, in its ending, his most melodramatic, his angriest and most idyllic. It is "great" in the way that Uncle Tom's Cabin was great—because it is inspired propaganda, half tract, half human-interest story, emotionalizing a great theme.

John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is not merely a great American novel. It is also a significant event in our national history. Capturing the plight of millions of Americans whose lives had been crushed by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Steinbeck awakened the nation's comprehension and compassion.

Written in a style of peculiarly democratic majesty, The Grapes of Wrath evokes quintessentially American themes of hard work, self-determination, and reasoned dissent. It speaks from assumptions common to most Americans whether their ancestors came over on the Mayflower, in steerage, or in a truck.