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In America Travels with John Steinbeck by Geert Mak

In America Travels with John Steinbeck

Biography / Autobiography   Travel   Literary Fiction   

RRP £25.00

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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.

Like for Like Reading
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

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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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Where Steinbeck generally avoided the hubbub of big cities, Mak balances descriptions of the rural plains and towns that symbolize the country's early origins with fascinating sections on urban growth and decay... An ambitious and enjoyable take on America's story Times Literary Supplement Rambling, thoughtful, often funny... Wonderful Guardian [A] smart, deep-rooted state of the nation report from Main Street, USA The Times Perfect for armchair travellers Choice Magazine The lyrical story of two journeys interwoven with a broad history and witty observations about the changes of place and people over the past 50 years -- Julia Richardson Daily Mail

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

20th November 2014


Geert Mak

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Harvill Secker an imprint of Vintage Publishing


560 pages


Biography / Autobiography
Literary Fiction

History of the Americas
Travel writing



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