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Book Salon
The Grapes of Wrath

  • This month we're reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Our faculty host is Gavin Jones.

    Listen to an interview with our Book Salon host.

    "The Grapes of Wrath continues to be very popular with general readers. Some would claim that it's the Great American Novel. But literary critics have tended to dismiss it, or at least have remained ambivalent about the book's merits. I've always been intrigued by this contradiction, and look forward to considering both the brilliance and the problems of The Grapes of Wrath."

    Gavin Jones, Fredrick P. Rehums Family Professor of Humanities

How to Participate

>> Read the audio transcript with this quarter's host, Professor Gavin Jones

>> Post a message to the online discussion group by emailing

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About this quarter's book selection

First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into haves and have-nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity.

A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes the very nature of equality and justice in America.

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About the Faculty Host