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Publisher's Summary

The first full-length biography of the Nobel laureate to appear in a quarter century, Mad at the World illuminates what has made the work of John Steinbeck an enduring part of the literary canon: his capacity for empathy. Angered by the plight of the Dust Bowl migrants who were starving even as they toiled to harvest California's limitless bounty and appalled by the country's refusal to recognize the humanity common to all of its citizens, Steinbeck took a stand against social injustice - paradoxically given his inherent misanthropy.

A man by turns quick-tempered, compassionate, and ultimately brilliant, Steinbeck could be a difficult person to like. Obsessed with privacy, he was mistrustful of people. Next to writing, his favorite things were drinking and womanizing and getting married, which he did three times. And while he claimed indifference about success, his mid-career books and movie deals made him a lot of money. And yet Steinbeck also took aim at the corrosiveness of power, the perils of income inequality, and the urgency of ecological collapse.

Steinbeck remains our great social realist novelist, the writer who gave the dispossessed and the disenfranchised a voice in American life and letters. Eloquent, nuanced, and deeply researched, Mad at the World captures the full measure of the man and his work.

©2020 William Souder (P)2020 Tantor

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Profile Image for aaron
  • aaron
  • 22-11-2020

Well Researched, Good for Die Hard Steinbeck Fans

I'm a huge fan of Steinbeck, so I really enjoyed this book. It goes into terrific detail on the grand and tiny things that made him who he is. The author does inject his own philosophy about writing a bit more than is necessary for a nonfiction biography, but it is what it is. He did the work, he researched his butt off, and he wrote the book his way. Steinbeck would be proud.

The narrator is not great. He's also not terrible. He sounds like a bored high school astronomy teacher. The subject is interesting enough that you walk away learning something good and true, but you certainly weren't inspired by the lecturer. It never ceases to amaze me, with all the truly great narrators on Audible - and there are plenty - why an author would agree to go with one that's just ok. I just don't get it, and perhaps i never will.

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  • Don Miguel de Suza Whitney 1st
  • 28-06-2021

Steinbeck prepares for the American Enlightment

Steinbeck ate my grandmothers pasta. Did he like it? He went to Stanford with my uncle,a lawyer. Souder gets Steinbeck, great book.

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