Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
The year is 1960. The company, famed author John Steinbeck (of Grapes of Wrath) and his old French poodle Charley. The goal? Travel across the United States, not just for the scenery but to truly know America and her people.
Steinbeck's trip starts in Maine; heads cross-country through Chicago, Montana, and California; travels back East through Texas; then finally leads him home again to Long Island. He travels as an old outdoorsman -- hoping to throw off any recognition of his face from dust jackets, thereby getting a more accurate picture of life in America.
Along the way, Steinbeck (and Charley) come across many interesting characters, and he recorded several of their conversations. I was especially intrigued by these glimpses of a younger America... the feelings about war and submarines, the clash of racism in the South, the tasteless suppers and predictable breakfasts at roadside diners, the newness of rest areas and mobile homes.
I love a good travelogue, especially when I know the country it describes, and this book certainly did not disappoint. The historical aspect of viewing the people of America, as well as the countryside, added a delightful and mentally-stimulating twist.
I would highly recommend it!
The Writer* Rating: Top Shelf
*NOTE: This Review comes from The Writer - click through the link to see what kind of books and genres she likes to read and review. Reviews from individual contributors do not equal a thumbs up or shelf rating from The Bookworm.