By adding this book to my right side blog page I think I have made it abundantly clear how it has influenced me during my life. I read this book soon after it was published in 1962 and have re-read it about a half-dozen times since then. In 1962 I was in the middle of my high school years . That was the time when I was devouring books by Steinbeck, London, and few others. This book started me one a life long journey of my fascination of just what makes America what it is.
Here is a little of what Wikipedia says about this award winning book:
Travels with Charley: In Search of America is a travelogue written by American author John Steinbeck. It depicts a 1960 road trip around the United States made by Steinbeck, in the company of his standard poodle, Charley. Steinbeck wrote that he was moved by a desire to see his country on a personal level, since he made his living writing about it. He wrote of having many questions going into his journey, the main one being, “What are Americans like today?” However, he found that he had concerns about much of the “new America” he witnessed.
Steinbeck tells of traveling throughout the United States in a specially made camper he named Rocinante, named after Don Quixote’s horse. His travels start in Long Island, New York, and roughly follow the outer border of the United States, from Maine to the Pacific Northwest, down into his native Salinas Valley in California, across to Texas, up through the Deep South, and then back to New York. Such a trip encompasses nearly 10,000 miles.
Steinbeck’s most famous books were probably “Grapes of Wrath” or “Of Mice and Men” both of which I have read several time also. Steinbeck had a gutsy way of describing events in his novels. A very American way in my mind.
For the last forty plus years whenever I hit the road on a vacation trip I always think of how Steinbeck described his 10,000 mile journey across America and I try to see America with his visions in mind.