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In America Travels with John Steinbeck by Geert Mak

Sue Baker's view...

50 years after the publication of John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, Geert Mak recreates Steinbeck’s original journey. Travelling without a dog, called Charley or otherwise he searches for what remains of Steinbeck’s world, how it has changed over the last 50 years and what became of the American dream.

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Travels with Charley: In Search of America, John Steinbeck
The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America, Bill Bryson

Who is Sue Baker

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Fifty years after John Steinbeck and his dog set off on an epic trek across the States in a pickup truck, Dutch historian and travel writer Geert Mak retraced the journey, stopping at the same small towns and cities, from New York to New Orleans to chronicle the changes that have transformed the landscape and its inhabitants. Mak encounters characters as colourful as those Steinbeck met, and through conversations and observations he reveals, although much has changed, beneath the surface the aspirations and concerns of the farmers, fishermen, manual workers and teachers are much the same as they were in 1960. The American dream, it seems, has withstood Watergate, Vietnam, race riots, and even 9/11. The real enemy, Mak argues, is within – namely a section of the American media he blames for embittering the impressionable and generating a new contagion – cynicism and despair.
~ Paul Roland


In America Travels with John Steinbeck by Geert Mak

In 1960 John Steinbeck and his dog Charley set out in their green pickup truck to rediscover the soul of America, visiting small towns and cities from New York to New Orleans. As Steinbeck said to a friend: 'I must see how the country looks and smells and sounds.' The trip became Travels With Charley, one of his best-loved books. Half a century on, Geert Mak sets off from Steinbeck's home with his wife and his sat-nav Sandy. Mile after mile, as he retraces Steinbeck's footsteps through the potato fields of Maine to the endless prairies of the Midwest, sits down to eat with farmers, workers, fishermen and teachers, stumbles across glistening suburbs and boarded-up stores, he searches for the roots of America and what remains of the world Steinbeck describes. Part biography, part cultural history, In America asks how America has changed in the last fifty years; what's happened to Main Street, USA, and the American dream; and what do we, Europe and America, have in common in the twenty-first century?

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About the Author

Geert Mak is a journalist and historian, and the internationally acclaimed author of In Europe, Amsterdam and The Bridge. He is one of the Netherlands' bestselling authors, has twice been awarded Historian of the Year and his books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Geert Mak

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Biography / Autobiography
Literary Fiction



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