Travels with Charley In Search of America eBook : John Steinbeck: Kindle Store

(60 customer reviews)

Travels with Charley From Maine’s northernmost tip to California’s Monterey Peninsula, a journey across AmericaJohn Steinbeck set off at the age of fifty-eight

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Travels with Charley In Search of America eBook

From Maine’s northernmost tip to California’s Monterey Peninsula, a journey across AmericaJohn Steinbeck set off at the age of fifty-eight to rediscover the nation he had been writing about for so many years with the intention of hearing the voice of the real America, smelling the grass and the trees, seeing the colours and the light.
Steinbeck travels on highways and backroads with his French poodle Charley, has meals with truckers, sees bears in Yellowstone, and runs into old friends in San Francisco. He ponders the American character, racial animosity, the specific type of loneliness he encounters almost everywhere in America, and the unexpected kindness of complete strangers as he travels.


Publisher ‏ : ‎ Grapevine India (November 28, 2022)

Publication date ‏ : ‎ November 28, 2022

Language ‏ : ‎ English

File size ‏ : ‎ 736 KB

Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled

Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported

Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled

X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled

Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled

Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe

Print length ‏ : ‎ 253 pages

Best Sellers Rank: #145 in Memoirs (Kindle Store)

Customer Reviews: 8,777 ratings


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Additional information

ASIN ‏ : ‎


Publisher ‏ : ‎

Grapevine India (November 28, 2022)

Publication date ‏ : ‎

November 28, 2022

Language ‏ : ‎


File size ‏ : ‎

736 KB

Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎


Screen Reader ‏ : ‎


Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎


X-Ray ‏ : ‎


Word Wise ‏ : ‎


Sticky notes ‏ : ‎

On Kindle Scribe

Print length ‏ : ‎

253 pages

Best Sellers Rank:

#145 in Memoirs (Kindle Store)

Customer Reviews:

8,777 ratings

60 reviews for Travels with Charley In Search of America eBook : John Steinbeck: Kindle Store

  1. Amazon Customer

    5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
    This is one of the books that I believe every American should read

  2. Bret

    5.0 out of 5 stars great read
    I was likely assigned this book in high school. Probably read the Cliff Notes.Reading it now—50+ years later—it’s a great read. So relevant to today.

  3. Amazon Customer

    5.0 out of 5 stars Fun
    Charming book. Charlie was definitely a perfect traveling companion. Interesting encounters. Strange how time has changed and yet nothing has changed. We must learn to know and accept our neighbors. Only then will we understand our place in life.
    One person found this helpful

  4. Judy Kuhn

    5.0 out of 5 stars With gratitude to the author
    I went along for the ride and for the words and for the wisdom. I was never bored or disappointed with Steinbecks choice of route or the words he used to inhabit his journey. It’s almost redundant to say I’m a fan.

  5. Dutch Lee

    4.0 out of 5 stars Supply Chain
    I don’t know; the seller, Amazon, or UPS? But, somewhere along the chain the promise of delivery day, time spent waiting, n shows the next day. Hopefully this will cause a resolution between the three, so they figure out where the break occurred. Otherwise, I’m very happy with the quality, (as promised,) and served as a fine gift creating another lover of Steinbeck’s work.
    One person found this helpful

  6. Anne Mills

    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Travel Book, Great Dog Book, Great Book
    In 1960, John Steinbeck set off on a road trip across America, to rediscover the country he had spent a career writing about. He travelled in an early version of a camper van, and was accompanied by his wife’s French poodle, Charlie. The book is fascinating as a journey in time as well as space. Steinback himself found that many things had changed drastically, and more has changed since he wrote the book — the bustling Midwest through which he passed, for example, has aged into the Rust Belt. But many things haven’t changed: the central issue of race in America, and the ever-rising threat of environmental degradation. The writing is lovely, precise and evocative. And Charlie is a delightful character. I really enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it. Caution notice — even more than usual, I’d recommend reading the book before reading about the book.
    6 people found this helpful

  7. Kass A. Demeter

    5.0 out of 5 stars Best Road Trip Ever
    Next best adventure to my own. I may have taken my last RV trip but if I can manage another this account and the detailed reflections will be be companion and inspiration for my own amateur musings. His insights and observations of humans are models of depth and love of men in all their places and occupations. I couldn’t help envying him a man’s lack of fear of men. Only once does he fear footsteps approaching his solitary rig. Even then he refuses to hide cowering as I’m afraid I would. Instead he leaps out and asks what the man wants. Would a woman do that? No we take precautions always to be around people, seeking the protection of the crowd as we also try to stay brave and open and trusting of the friend we just haven’t met yet. Always with a hand in the pocket feeling for the trigger of the mace bottle or the noise maker until each stranger passes our wary inspection. It’s a different perspective, this letting down the guard for each individual, rejoicing in each friendly encounter, but then locking the RV door and windows to feel Safe for the night to dream of tomorrow’s adventures.
    2 people found this helpful

  8. William J. Higgins,III

    5.0 out of 5 stars Spot On
    In 1960, at the age of fifty-eight, John Steinbeck decides to search for America’s identity. What unfolds in his travels across the United States at that particular time in space is so indicative to the present day…actually for the majority of times past, present and future.While not in the same vein as a Bill Bryson, Tony Horwitz and other travel writers, it does depict how times change over the years and yet some components never do.Deep thoughts on survival while traveling through the Mohave Desert; why progress looks so much like destruction…“a carcinomatous growth” as he says when approaching Seattle; his childhood town in California has changed so much it is unrecognizable with many of the familiar faces dead and gone; or his strong feelings on racial injustice while traveling in the Deep South…witnessing the New Orleans desegregation of schools with the infamous “Cheerleaders” protests; etc.Then again his tongue-in-cheek observations, comments and musings along the way do bring clarity to his travels…the ‘new’ trailer parks which are springing up everywhere; accommodations at the ‘auto courts’, speaking with strangers about this and that…it is a worthwhile, descriptive read with Steinbeck behind the wheel of his camper-truck and Charley the French-poodle laying next to him for companionship.
    3 people found this helpful

  9. Jeffrey C. Luker

    5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant and Insightful
    A wonderful journey – wonderfully recorded. The observations are now history; and yet the insights are both fresh and timeless.

  10. K. K. Henson

    4.0 out of 5 stars Skip the “Scholarly” and Cynical Intro or Read It with Much Salt.
    In the journey of many weeks that is the basis of this book, John Steinbeck and his dog, Charley, travel America by camper truck to become reacquainted with a country Steinbeck has not closely viewed in 25 years. Much is changed, of course, and Steinbeck expresses disappointment or makes unflattering comparisons with some regularity. That is the surface, however. Although the critic who wrote the introduction would have readers believe that this is Steinbeck’s true view of the U.S. and that he ended his trip demoralized, do not believe it. Instead, watch for the key passages in which Steinbeck repeatedly reminds us that change is inevitable and that only fools refuse to accept it. This book has wit and common sense. It has insights that compete with Twain and prose descriptions that compete with Hemingway. Two years after this travelogue was published, Steinbeck won the Nobel prize for literature, not for this book, of course, but for the body of his work.
    45 people found this helpful

  11. Brian D. Fitzpatrick

    5.0 out of 5 stars Courage,Curiousity,and a Loving and loyal wife
    Steinbeck at his most brilliant.What a marvellous and delightful read.Charley,his travelling buddy,a french poodle,reminded me alot of E.B. White’s affection for the anthropomorphic qualities of animals.The kindness of Stuart Little,Charlotte,and poor old Wilbur!Charley is a nice fellow.I won’t spoil the book for you with any details,but one.Steibeck was getting on,feeling old,and decided to travel the US in his re-outfitted camper with his pal Charley.Of course,with his dear wife’s consent.I consider this to be one of the great passages in modern fiction.THE GIST OF LIFE:”…In long range planning for a trip,I think there is a private conviction that it won’t happen.As the day approached,my warm bed and comfortable house grew increasingly desirable and my dear wife incalculably precious.To give these up for 3 months for the terrors of the uncomfortable and unknown seemed crazy.I didn’t want to go.Something had to happen to forbid my going,but it didn’t.I could get sick,of course,but that was one of my main but secrets reasons for going at all.During the previous winter I had become rather seriously ill with one of those carefully named difficulties which are the whispers of approaching age.When I came out of it I recieved the usual lecture about slowing up,losing wieght,limiting the cholesteral intake.It happens to many men,and I think doctors have memorized the litany.It had happened to so many of my friends.The lecture ends “Slow down.You’re not as young as you once where”.And I had seen so many begin to pack their lives in cotton wool,smother their impulses,hood their passions,and gradually retire from their manhood into a kind of spiritual and physical semi-invalidism.In this they are encouraged by wives and relatives,and it’s such a sweet trap.Who doesn’t like to be the center for concern?A kind of second childhood falls on so many men.They trade their violence for the promise for a small increase of life span.In effect,the head of house becomes the youngest child.And I have searched myself for this possibility with a kind of horror.For I have alway lived violently,drunk hugely,eaten too much,or not at all,slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping,worked too long and hard in glory,or slobbed for a time in utter laziness.I’ve lifted,chopped,climbed,made love with joy,and taken my hangovers as a consequence,not a punishment.I did not want to surrender fierceness for a small gain in yardage.My wife married a man;I saw no reason why should inherit a baby.I knew that ten or twelve thousand miles driving a truck,alone and unattended,over every kind of road would be hard work,but to me it represented the antidote for the poison of the professional sick man.And in my own life I am not willing to trade quality for quantity.If this projected journey should prove too much than it was time to go anyway.I see too many men delay their exits with a sickly,slow reluctance to leave the stage.It’s bad theatre,as well as bad living.I am very fortunate of having a wife who likes being a women,which means she likes men,not elderly babies.Although this last foundation for the trip was never discussed,I am sure she understood it…”(Penquin Books-1962 from ‘travels with charley’ pgs 19-20)Enjoy folks.Health and Happiness
    6 people found this helpful

  12. J. Bosiljevac

    5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
    I loved this book. I don’t know why Steinbeck’s gentle prose and sharp wit surprised me so much–perhaps because The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, my other Steinbeck reads, were more serious. But from the first few chapters it is obvious that Steinbeck is not only a masterful writer but also an incredibly likable person.This book is about a road trip Steinbeck took in 1960 with the stated goal of finding out what the true America is like. Upon further research, I found that Steinbeck had a heart condition and knew he would not live much longer. Thus, as his son surmised, the real reason of the trip was to give Steinbeck one long, last contemplative look at the American that permeated his classic novels.”In Spanish, there is a word…vacilando. If one is vacailando, he is going somewhere but doesn’t greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction.” That is the spirit with which Steinbeck sets off with Charley, his standard poodle. His camper is named Rocinante after Don Quijote’s horse, an acknowledgement of his quixotic quest.He sets off from New York and circles the country counterclockwise and literally observing it from all angles, one of America’s greatest writers describing his grand subject in short scenes and insightful observations.Although Steinbeck laments the disappearance of regional dialects and the growing homogeneity of the country, America is still a collection of vastly different cultures. A testament to Steinbeck’s writing is that he is able to capture a cross-section of the country, good and bad, big themes and personal moments, in what is a relatively slim book.He is critical of politics (“I find out of long experience that I admire all nations but hate all governments.”), sometimes disillusioned by what he sees as the loss of American culture (“We have exchanged corpulence for starvation, and either one will kill us.”), and wary of progress:”American cities are like badger holes, ringed with trash–all of them–surrounded by the piles of wrecked and rusting automobiles, and almost smothered with rubbish.”But his faith in our goodness is bolstered time and again by personal encounters with folks at roadside campsites, lakes and veterinary offices. He frequently invites strangers to his camper to share a whisky or coffee, picks up hitchhikers to pick their brains, and has amusing encounters with a cast of characters that might populate a modern Canterbury Tales.”I can only suspect that the lonely man peoples his driving dreams with friends, that the loveless man surrounds himself with lovely loving women, and that children climb through the dreaming of the childless driver.” Steinbeck has Charley, the perfect companion, sometimes observing in bemusement the mysteries of human civilization, sometimes disinterested, sometimes engaging Steinbeck in fully-rendered conversations as 10,000 miles unfold under them.”One goes, not so much to see but to tell afterward,” Steinbeck reflects on the American traveler. What Steinbeck tells here is the story of who we are, an invaluable portrait that captures our complicated, idiosyncratic character, as true today as it was fifty years ago. Charley’s conclusion, after much experience, is less nuanced: “I’ve seen…a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.”
    12 people found this helpful

  13. Jessica McCann

    4.0 out of 5 stars New perspective of Steinbeck as a man and of the era in which he lived.
    Steinbeck’s ability to create a sense of place and tell an entertaining story has always impressed me. This nonfiction account of his cross-country road trip in 1960 did not disappoint in that respect.He was 58 when he and his dog, Charley, set out in a modern, fully-stocked camper truck for a months’ long journey. Steinbeck’s goal was to rediscover the America and the people he’d spent decades portraying in his novels. He took the trip in late fall and early winter, specifically to avoid tourists and engage in conversation with the average woman and man. His description of driving isolated back-roads and eating in small-town diners, of laundering clothes on the road and cooking beans on a camp stove were transporting and evocative. It alternated between poignant and funny.Like many of his works, Travels with Charley, provided an intimate view and insightful interpretation of human nature. Here’s one example. Midway through their travels, Charley became ill and Steinbeck took him to the nearest veterinarian. The author quickly assessed the doctor was likely an alcoholic with a serious hangover. When the vet touched the dog with “his unsteady, inept hand,” Steinbeck wrote, “I saw the look of veiled contempt in Charley’s eyes. He knew about the man, I thought, and perhaps the doctor knew he knew. And maybe that was the man’s trouble. It would be very painful to know that your patients had no faith in you.”Though Steinbeck was unhappy with the doctor’s gruff bedside manner in the moment, he later reflected on the experience with some empathy, even a touch of compassion. “It wasn’t that this veterinary didn’t like animals. I think he didn’t like himself, and when that is so the subject usually must find an area for dislike outside himself. Else he would have to admit his self-contempt.”The book also gave me a new perspective of Steinbeck himself and of the era during which he lived. Critical reviewers of the time lauded his searing interpretation of our nation’s shortcomings in “political apathy, environmental degradation, and strident racism.” Yet, reading many passages through today’s lens, I was struck by the irony of such praise and by a renewed sense of pride in how far we have come the past 50 years.Steinbeck believed in racial equality. He railed against segregation. His words sang with a sincerity I believed. At the same time, some of his expressions made me wince when measuring them against today’s standards of racism.With regard to the environment, Steinbeck’s prose reflected a man who loved nature and wild places, who championed the preservation of forests and wildlife. Indeed, he was. On the other hand, he viewed those places through the narrow view of a mid-20th century outdoorsman. He didn’t see them as ecosystems vital to mankind’s survival, but rather as playgrounds vital to man’s amusement.In one passage, he extolled “modern designs for easy living” that made his forays into nature more convenient and enjoyable. “On my boat I had discovered aluminum, disposable cooking utensils, frying pans and deep dishes. You fry a fish and throw the pan overboard.” In another passage, he described camping in the Mohave Desert and setting two coyotes in his rifle sights. “Coyotes are vermin. They steal chickens. They must be killed. They are the enemy,” he wrote. It broke my heart, even though I know that was common, accepted belief in his day.This memoir smashed the rose-colored glasses through which I viewed my literary hero. That doesn’t mean I no longer admire Steinbeck’s writing and storytelling talents. In fact, it may have deepened my appreciation of his work now that I have a deeper understanding for the real-life man behind the author persona.
    24 people found this helpful

  14. Erik J. Malvick

    5.0 out of 5 stars A Nice way to Tour the Country from your own Home
    Travels with Charlie was the first book I picked for my new Kindle and my first non-fiction book by John Steinbeck.It is a fantastic book as a travel memoir that really gives the reader a glimpse into the person that was John Steinbeck. I’ve always been a fan of his works although my breadth in reading his work has been limited to about 5 novels before this.Travels with Charlie is a chronicle of the writer’s journey from his 1960’s home in Long Island across the Northern U.S. to the home of his youth in Monterey County (Salinas and Monterey) in California, back home by way of the south.It is a relatively short book that perhaps provides the reader the best opportunity to get to know the person that was John Steinbeck. You’ll find yourself a part of a journey just as you may have with the Grapes of Wrath only John and Charlie (his poodle) are your companions. Not only do you see the character of Steinbeck, you see the character of the U.S. at the beginning of the 1960’s. The stories he tells, the people he meets, his interactions with Charlie are all fantastic.If I had to make any criticism of the book, it would be that as the story progresses, things get a bit more sparse. However, this isn’t really so much a fault of the book as a loss of patience on Steinbeck’s part. You get the feeling during the beginning that this trip is going long, and it does. A lot of detail goes into the trip through the northern part of the country. I am not sure it is too much detail, but as Steinbeck gets exhausted with the length of his trip, so does his writing. From the beginning, I was interested in what his commentary would be as he came back around. Unfortunately, given the length of his trip, he became more rushed and the commentary more sparse. That doesn’t necessarily hurt things as there are some interesting items from the South to be read about, but it is too bad there isn’t a bit more. The end is a little too abrupt for the quality of the overall book.Overall, it is a fantastic read, and the interactions with Charlie are really fantastic. He really does a fantastic job of showing the love that most people have for their dogs. I am thankful I gave this book a try as it really added to my admiration for John Steinbeck and gives the reader a window into a man who is obviously not perfect but is definitely respectable.
    11 people found this helpful

  15. Lottie

    5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing the Nation
    I made a pilgrimage to the Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California and Rocinante (Steinbeck’s camper truck) is there!!When we were children, Mom and Dad took us on extended summer road trips all over the country : first in a station wagon, then in a Dodge conversion van towing a trailer, finally in a Winnebago.It was just like “Travels with Charley” except we were children, so there was no question of us picking up hitchhikers or asking people in to chat and drink whisky with us. But Dad would do some fishing, and we encountered other families in the campgrounds in which we stayed.We experienced the regional differences in climate, billboards, soda pop, groceries, and accents.Such a large, diverse country we have! Beauty, ugliness, and a lingering boredom; we experienced them all. Oil wells, farm lands, pastures of grazing animals, strange towns. Driving miles off the beaten path to see this famous dam or that well-known monument. The Bad Lands had the same effect on us as they had on Mr. Steinbeck 15 years before. Mount Rushmore was just weird, and it’s good to know Mr. Steinbeck thought so too.I was glad to feel the warm companionship of Charley during the trip with Mr. Steinbeck.I was very interested to learn he had accurately prophesied the end of the regional accent, but he incorrectly assumed newscasters would cause its demise and that Mid-Atlantic speech would win out as the national dialect. In fact it was not until the 2000s that youngsters from every region of the nation became intrigued by sitcoms featuring attractive teens and tweens they wanted to emulate, and adopted the lilting tones of, like, Southern California.
    One person found this helpful

  16. Customer

    3.0 out of 5 stars OK – not great
    Overall I give this book three stars, not because of the quality of the book itself. The softcover was alright, it read just fine. My three star review is in regard to the content of the book itself. It doesn’t stick with me as a classic or something I would ever really recommend to someone. Essentially the author just got a camper truck and wrote his story about his trip across America. It didn’t seem nostalgic to me. Toward the end of the book it seems like the author got bored with it and just documented 70% of his journey and decided that was enough. His spirit was exhausted by the trip, and I think that was evident in the pages. In my opinion, it probably satisfied a publishing company’s demand for publishing winners like Steinbeck, but spiritually the book seemed dry and lacking in what I would expect from a great author. That’s just my opinion though. Some people probably think this book is great, so I guess it is just where the reader is at in their life journey.
    One person found this helpful

  17. Tthomas

    5.0 out of 5 stars A Road Trip Across America
    John Steinbeck, a Nobel prize winner, decided in 1960 that he could no longer continue writing books about the country, before he went out to see the whole thing for himself. He then decided that he would complete a ten thousand mile long journey across the United States in search of rediscovering America. In order to complete this journey Steinbeck decided to build a camper van to make sure that his journey would remain comfortable and run smoothly. He named his van named Rocinante after an author that he admires. Steinbeck would have to leave the safe comfort of his home and the environment that he is used to. He was able to complete the journey with his trustee poodle Charley. They encountered several obstacles along the way but they together were able to overcome the challenges that were presented before them. In the beginning, Steinbeck didn’t necessarily set out with the intention of publishing his journey across the United States. His original plan was to simply take notes over what he had seen and maybe write about it in the future. In the very beginning of the book, there was a little boy who used to live across the street. He wanted nothing more than to accompany Steinbeck on his journey in rediscovering America. This was a moment that stuck out to me, because I think it is well related to my project. This little boy represents the part of us inside that wants to drop everything and set out across the United States. The boy is not able to come however, because he has other obligations that are necessary in New York. In a way I think this represents most people who would love to pursue their passion, but because of other obligations, are not able to in their lifetime. In this book, Steinbeck hits the road with only his poodle. Because of this he spends much of his time alone. This seems to be good for him in a way. Over the course of the book, the dialogue with his dog Charley changes. Charley becomes almost a best friend to Steinbeck, and the conversations between the two become more complex and full length conversations. Steinbeck often lacks depth in conversations with the strangers that he meets along the journey. This makes one of the overarching themes of the text, loneliness and isolation. Another theme that is found throughout the text is change. The only constant that remains throughout the text is Rocinante and Charley. The reader can experience the journey through the eyes of the eyes of the adventurer. Through this, we see the small and minute changes that there are regionally, to the drastic changes such as the landscape across the nation. One of these changes that Steinbeck addresses is the local dialect. He worries that because of nation wide communication, we are losing our regional uniqueness. This is why Travels With Charley is a perfect glimpse into our nation’s past and the time period of when this book was written. This ties into my “this” project, because I am exploring the ways that Americans from across the nation express their american creed in ways that are unique and different. This book fits in very well to my project, because of the theme of travel and exploring the unseen America. When the book starts with Steinbeck having the urge to pick up and go, this gave me the idea that most Americans have the urge to explore. When Steinbeck was talking about all of the differences in our nation, this also made me realize how similar we are as a whole. I think I can look into this more to see what the American creed is, that is holding everyone together. I would definitely recommend this book to other readers. I would say this book would be perfect for anybody who is curious about and wants to learn more about American travel. Anybody who has a sense of adventure and would like to explore this through the eyes of someone who has personal experience in travel, would love to read this book. Steinbeck keeps this book interesting and gives the reader a sense that they are actually on the adventure with him.
    21 people found this helpful

  18. A. J. Mathison

    4.0 out of 5 stars The Happy Camper
    Last October I was fortunate enough to be golfing Bandon Dunes Golf Course in Southern Oregon for several days. You golf right on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean. The scenery is breathtaking. For any avid hacker, it’s a golfer’s paradise. Anyway, I had a 69 year old caddy who carried my golf bag (which I swear has a couple of bowling balls hidden in it somewhere… weighs a ton), up and down the hilly grounds of the golf course all day long without breaking a sweat……how’d he do that?!? At the end 18 holes, I was ready to plop down and have a brewski with the guys and ease my aching bones, while my 69 year old caddy was off to meet another golfer and pack that player’s clubs another 18 hilly holes before his day was done. Anyway, he was a terrific gentleman and he loved to read. While we cruised the courses over a couple of days we resolved a lot of the worlds problems, and talked a lot about our favorite books. He said that I just absolutely had to read this novel as he felt it was his favorite book of all time. He was a huge Steinbeck fan. Soooo……I read this book because he said that I should, and I thank him for the recommendation. I’ve never read a Steinbeck novel before, even though I know he’s considered one of the great American writers of all time. It’s hard to believe this book was first published 45 years ago…’s hard to believe how fast the time goes by. The difference in the writing style and the language used by the author compared to the verbal dreck that most authors get away with today is very evident. Steinbeck’s vocabulary and use of words reminded me of the kinds of books that we were all forced to read when I was a student back in the dark ages. Basically, the book is a travelogue of Steinbeck’s journey across America in a pickup truck and camper. He has his trusted companion “Charlie” (who is a full-sized poodle) sitting beside him throughout his several month’s journey. Steinbeck made this trek because he wanted to know what America really was, rather than the pre-conceived notions he’d already had in mind. He found that there is no way to really describe our country in a specific way because of how vast and different each region of the country is. I think it took a lot out of him emotionally as he faced prejudice, witnessed racism in the South, the ratrace of the cities, and the virtues of small town values. Just as most of us tend to define the French or the English or any other nation with a specific identity and preconceived notions, I think Steinbeck had also hoped to define America and it’s people in a specific, generic way, but I think that through his travels he found this country too complex and diverse to simply give a general definition for what a ‘typical’ American is. He found that there really isn’t any such thing as a ‘typical’ American. I think he was probably worn out and frustrated at the end of his trip because he was not able to reach many conclusions that he had probably anticipated answering prior to his leaving. So anyway, he traveled across the country with Charlie, seeing old friends and making new ones. He visited his home town and found out that he could never really go home again…..things change, and people and places are never really quite like you remember them. Steinbeck was really quite a wild man, and he loved having his drink most anytime that he could get away with it. I loved his observations about life and the people around us. It was amazing how so many of today’s problems were also yesterday’s problems. It was fun to read a classic author again. I can’t say this would be everybody’s cup of tea, but I surely enjoyed most of the book.Bottom Line, I give the book a solid 4 Stars.
    19 people found this helpful

  19. Cornchip2016

    5.0 out of 5 stars Steinbeck Unplugged
    To enter into the mind of my favorite author! He sharing random thoughts on his travels with his not so impressive dog opening his heart to me. To have known him would have been a blessing.
    One person found this helpful

  20. Melissa T. Osborne

    5.0 out of 5 stars revisited
    Absolutely as good as they come. Everyone should read it and then years later read it again as I just did.

  21. Graybeard

    4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but it fell short of expectations
    I listened to the audio book version of “Travels with Charley” after reading William Least Heat-Moon’s excellent travelogues, “Blue Highways” and “River Horse” and Earl Swift’s excellent travelogue, “Journey on the James.” Surprisingly, “Travels with Charley” paled in comparison to those other three aforementioned travelogues. I had expected much more from it, given Steinbeck’s literary stature.One memorable part of the book was about Steinbeck’s meeting his childhood friend, Johnny Garcia, for the first time in decades, in a local bar in Monterey, California. It’s a moving piece of writing about the passage of time.The actor, Gary Sinise, was the reader for this audio book. Overall, he did a good job, as one would expect, but what disappointed me was his not replicating most of the regional accents of the locals that Steinbeck encountered on his trip around the country. Sinise didn’t even seem to try to replicate those accents. This was a big disappointment for me, but it may not be an issue for others.
    4 people found this helpful

  22. lisan

    5.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic
    I love Steinbeck, but I never could get into Travels With Charley. I tried reading it in college, I tried it in my thirties, and I tried again in my fifties. I had to read it for a book club, so I bit the bullet and did it. I’m not sure what was wrong with me before. I ended up loving it. I did not want the book to end. It is a time piece from 1959, yet what Steinbeck observed then was not too dissimilar to what he would see today if he took the trip again. Steinbeck was way ahead of his time.
    7 people found this helpful

  23. Daniel G. Murray

    4.0 out of 5 stars A soul-searching narrative of an American traveling through America 1959
    Steinbeck was a writer. He thought by writing. His journey with his dog is a series of observations of the land, the people, its wonder, their kindness, humor, stupidity, anger, anger, insight, ignorance, hope, his reflections. At times he is reporting. The best parts are his artful reflections masterfully set to words.

  24. Richard G. Powers

    5.0 out of 5 stars Up close and personal thoughts of a great writer about, well, all of us.
    One of Steinbeck’s last books, published in 1962, a trip across the United States in the company of his poodle, Charley, in his camper, Rosinante. As might be expected, the story is more Steinbeck’s thoughts and feelings about what he saw and heard, accompanied by modest disclaimers that what he is writing is one man’s impressions, with the limitations that implies. But his generalizations are not dated, and his precise rendering of individuals and scenes, particularly the hate-spewing “Cheerleaders” who met each day in New Orleans to jeer at a black child attending a formerly white school, are of lasting importance. If you are from Dixie (or anyplace else) his New Orleans section should be required reading, and for you Texans, your chests will swell with pride at his enthusiasm for your state. It is also just an enjoyable (and short) read.

  25. Debra Livermore

    5.0 out of 5 stars Along for the ride!
    I totally enjoyed riding along with Charley and John on this trip across the states and back. Great descriptions of the countryside and people. I love Charlie’s sense of humor!!! Thanks for taking me along for the ride.
    One person found this helpful

  26. Doane

    5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
    Everyone should have to read this to show how little we’ve come in sixty years, and how the political arguments are all the same.Steinbeck made this trip the year John F. Kennedy was elected president – before the Civil Rights Act or the War on Poverty – but not before the Freedom Riders.Steinbeck rightly predicted the battles that would be fought, and the terrible price of racism for both white and Black.His writing illustrates the dynamic of the “Cheerleaders” in New Orleans who shouted ugly bigotry at a little Black girl trying to go to school, and the equally ugly way they treated whites who took their kids to that school.Read it, you’ll see how similar the scene was to Trump rallies.The early part of this real-life journey sees Steinbeck driving across the northern and western parts of the U.S., and offered insights about Americans, but it ends in the Deep South and a desperate drive to get out of there.God help us all.
    One person found this helpful

  27. Harriet Boe

    5.0 out of 5 stars Travels with Charley
    Traveling in an RV he named Rocinante after Quixote’s horse and his dog Charley named after his uncle, Steinbeck created a very entertaining and informing travelogue. John’s search of America is the grist of his mental mill from his observations and life experiences. A lot of what steinbeck writes about has come to fruition; technology, communications, environment, political climate, social issues and attitudes and racism; astute, pungent, and prescient he is right on target. How much is true and how much fiction…who cares it’s wonderful, it’s wisdom. Reading his section on the virtues of living in a mobile home made me entertain the idea that perhaps he had made an investment and had some ownership interest in some RV manufacturer or trailer park. LOL. There is also a little tinge of hypocrisy; he is an avid environmentalist harrowed by the ravages that progress has reeked, yet he likes the disposable pans for food because when he is on his boat he can just jetsam the pans over board! Irregardless, this is a wonderfully entertaining Steinbeck novel that reveals the mans genius, brilliance and compassion. Most certainly a tribute to the tall standard poodle who is a French immigrant! For animal lovers, Steinbeck’s anthropomorphism of Charley is humorous and warming.
    6 people found this helpful

  28. Brad Branan

    4.0 out of 5 stars Travels with Steinbeck
    This book reminded me of a staple of political reportage, when journalists fan across the country and tell colorful but rather shallow stories about the mood of the country. Parachute pieces, as these things are called, are always going to be superficial. Now, mind you, John Steinbeck is no average reporter. I enjoyed this book and read it quickly, despite what I felt was a rather lacking story line. I enjoyed it because I enjoy Steinbeck’s writing – his style, his observations and other things. I enjoyed it like I think I would enjoy taking a road trip with Steinbeck, a wonderfully compassionate but curmudgeonly man. I think the failure of the book is the failure of the idea – trying to sum up the nature of a big and complicated subject like “America” on a road trip is inevitably going come up short. The subject really becomes the writer’s thoughts and personality – and Steinbeck does a great job making this an enjoyable if not terribly engaging or meaningful ride. He’s also funny as hell. The exception to what I’m saying about this idea is Blue Highways. For some reason that book works at a level that Travels with Charley does not. I’m not sure why. I think it has a more heart.All that said, taking a trip with Steinbeck is certainly worth your while. If you enjoyed his novels, you’ll get some insight into his character, if not a whole lot about “America.”

  29. the finn

    5.0 out of 5 stars good book and came on time
    really great book so bought for gifts

  30. r. scott keith

    5.0 out of 5 stars Great storytelling
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing style was smooth and easy. I liked the way the dog was so much a part of the stories.
    One person found this helpful

  31. Lynda

    4.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Read
    This is a fun, interesting, informative, and enlightening little book as Steinbeck reveals his take on various parts of this big land. His descriptions of people (and his dog) will make you feel that are there, or at least wish you were. It’s a mostly delightful read with a few dark revelations. I highly recommend it.
    2 people found this helpful

  32. Lucinda

    4.0 out of 5 stars Great writer
    Interesting story. So we’ll written. It’s very dated and some of the attitudes are off putting now in 2023. So I read half way through and felt done
    One person found this helpful

  33. bob wales

    5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Treasure
    I had forgotten the joy of reading such well-written literature. Steinbeck is an artist, a craftsman, a wordsmith. Every sentence, every word is perfectly placed. The passion and emotion jumps from the page, enters your soul, and quenches a longing you didn’t know you had.The book is fun and deep and thoughtful. Humorous and light while being deep and thought provoking. Written 60 years ago the observations are still relevant. They transfer directly into our modern world, but also in an abstract way envelop all the same societal issues we face today. And will always face. Different names, different issues, but all the same.
    4 people found this helpful

  34. Amazon Customer

    4.0 out of 5 stars Relevant
    I read this for a Literature course, and am currently reviewing it for a few assignments. The book is very good, and although it was written a while ago now, the stories and experiences told about in the book are commonplace today. There were some things in the book that I thought could have been different, but overall, it will keep your attention and keep you entertained. If you enjoy all of the little things about travel, this is a good book. If you’re reading it for a class like I did, you’ll have fun.
    6 people found this helpful

  35. Cody F.

    5.0 out of 5 stars Great read. Loved it.
    OK so I bought this at several peoples recommendation because I recently got an adult standard poodle. But the book isn’t really about poodles. OK well it has a little bit about poodles. It’s about America and it’s beautifully written. I absolutely love the book.
    One person found this helpful

  36. Fogerty Fanatic

    4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Take After a First Read 40 Years Ago
    40 years ago I had a high school English teacher who felt that John Steinbeck was the greatest American author ever to set pen to paper. I read Grapes of Wrath (outstanding!), Of Mice and Men (heartbreakingly tragic) and Travels with Charley (at the time, dull as dirt). I recently read an excerpt from Travels with Charley where Steinbeck detailed his experience of watching Ruby Bridges walking into a previously all white school. After reading this short piece I decided to give this book another shot. Since my junior year in high school, when I first encountered this book, I have traveled extensively in the U.S. and lived overseas for three years. Having experienced travel, foreign culture, and acquiring a far greater knowledge of the historical events and time frame that Steinbeck wrote about, I enjoyed Travels with Charley much more this time around. I had to laugh at his commentary on mobile homes and his sadness on the demise of small towns. It was also reassuring to see him lamenting about the lack of American foresight in regard to our place in the world…so, so similar to what many are feeling today. But I also picked up a sense of arrogance on Steinbeck’s part. It seemed at times that Steinbeck’s writing style was aimed more at impressing his audience with his word choice, than with telling an engaging story that surrounded his travels. I found of some of his descriptions of the American landscape a bit overblown and repetitive. Thankfully, Charley survived the trip. Had he died while traveling with Steinbeck, I would have set the book on fire and cursed Steinbeck to the ends of the earth.
    16 people found this helpful

  37. JH in Florida

    5.0 out of 5 stars So relevant today
    What can I say; it’s Steinbeck’s finest ever.
    One person found this helpful

  38. Amazon Customer

    5.0 out of 5 stars Traveling all over USA
    John Steinbeck- travels all over USA to find out what makes an American. He finds out that there is no secret to being American. We are all alike in our diversity .

  39. MRC

    5.0 out of 5 stars An American Classic – Must Read
    This has quickly become one of my favorite books. It reads like a novel, despite its classification as nonfiction. This book is charming and fun, yet beautifully written without being overly poetic. His journey and experiences are truthful, playful, and at times, raw and challenging to read. The parallels of Steinbeck’s journey throughout the United States in 1960 in comparison to today’s challenges in this same country are eye opening. This is a book I already want to read again after just finishing.Some of my favorite quotes from “Travels with Charley”:”I am very fortunate in having a wife who likes being a woman, which means that she likes men, not elderly babies.””For how can one know color in perpetual green, and what good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness””We value virtue but do not discuss it.””When I went away I had died and so became fixed and unchangeable. My return caused only confusion and uneasiness. Although they could not say it, my old friends wanted me gone so that I could take my proper place in the pattern of remembrance — and I wanted to go for the same reason. Tom Wolfe was right. You can’t go home again because home has ceased to exist except in the mothballs of memory.””I have known desert men who chose their places with quiet and slow passion, rejecting the nervousness of a watered world. These men have not changed with the exploding times except to die and be replaced by others like them. ”
    48 people found this helpful

  40. Bonita H.

    5.0 out of 5 stars awesome
    When I was I was in high school, my English teacher assigned John Steinbeck’s The Moon is Down to me for a book report. I was hooked. He remains one of my favorite authors. Thank you Miss Walker.

  41. Denise Wise

    5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful read
    I found this book a pleasant and easy read, full of colorful ribbons of life’s experiences. A sobering review of the South in the 60s. I love all of the descriptions of his noble dog.

  42. Lindsey the Great

    5.0 out of 5 stars This was my father’s favorite book. Saddly he died before he got his own chance to travel “with Charlie”. And now here I am at age 68 traveling in an RV with .my Golden Door , Bentley.
    Through the writings of Mr. Steinbeck I feel as though I have traveled with my father who o m I loved deeply and miss terribly.
    3 people found this helpful

  43. K. Cubero

    5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
    Steinbeck is one of my least favorite writers. After, “The Red Pony,” and, “Of Mice and Men,” that was it. I was done. But I am SO glad I read this book regardless of his other depressing works (that scar children’s psyches). It’s a thin book but it’s so full that I have to put it down and let the words steep for a while. The reader becomes a voyeur into Steinbeck’s thoughts. He is Everyman as he states obvious truths. He makes it seem simple, but having just returned from a similar trip, with an empty journal (but a full camera-google, “squidoo/kidnap,” if you’re interested) the ability to write such obvious truths is what makes Steinbeck great. I recommend this curious book out of historical significance (they’re actually worried about The Bomb and segregation) and as a collection of well-worn personal truths and the human condition. Personally, I feel less guilt that he saw cannery row as it is now, no longer historical, just full of disappointing tourist shops, although I think he’d have enjoyed Monterey Bay Aquarium. Even in his lifetime it was not the Cannery Row he made famous. Over-shadowing the whole book is the reader’s knowledge that Steinbeck has less than 8 years left to live. He must have suspected because he alludes to aging and death it throughout.
    4 people found this helpful

  44. Ted Okey

    4.0 out of 5 stars Better the second time around!!!
    I am a die-hard Steinbeck fan. I have read almost all of his works, from novellas like Red Pony to his epics, Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden. I have visited his home town and toasted him from the end of the Monterrey pier watching sea lions play among the pilings. This is my second reading of “Travels” and I can tell you unequivocally, it is neither his best nor his worst writing. But, I found it more prophetic and far more enjoyable this time around as I lived that time in my teens and look back now with an ache in my heart that we didn’t make more of the opportunities we had in the 60’s. That it is as much fiction as fact I forgive because it is his thoughts and observations I appreciate as I have appreciated them in all his other works.
    5 people found this helpful

  45. Amazon Customer

    5.0 out of 5 stars came early and in good shape
    Came early and in good shape

  46. Philip Atlas Clausen

    5.0 out of 5 stars Steinbeck tours America in his prime
    What I didn’t know about John Steinbeck is that he is always engaging. For twenty years he was the big man writing the Great American Novel: “Tortilla Flat”; “Of Mice and Men”; “The Grapes of Wrath”. Then in 1960 he decided he needed to refill his creative tank. He needed to travel across America again (from Maine to California and back home to New York), not as a tourist, not to see the sights–but to engage with people, Americans–see what they were thinking, hear what they were talking about. Steinbeck was the kind of man who could walk into any bar or hardware store or gas station and engage with and maybe even make a friend for a moment or a lifetime of the person he encountered. To be sure, whisky often seemed a catalyst to his socializing. Certainly he was a charming man. To make it even more charming he traveled with this poodle, Charley. Steinbeck didn’t give out his name, didn’t want to be treated as the big writer. Thus he gathered a very honest, undistorted view of 1960 America. I also didn’t know Steinbeck didn’t live very long. He died in 1968 at the age of 66.
    119 people found this helpful

  47. Morris Branson

    3.0 out of 5 stars Classic?
    I read this book about 50 years ago and decided to re-read it as an adult. My opinion, although more mature, has not really changed. First let me say that I read every Steinbeck book ever published and like them all and loved some of them. This one disappointed me on several levels. On first reading his constant references to Charley “doing his business” seemed vulgar and unnecessary. On second read more superfluous than vulgar. As a travelogue it failed as I got very little feel for the country he was going through except brief concentrated narratives that felt more of philosophy than reality. I did find myself amused but some of his monologues. I was struck by things that haven’t changed or have changed very little. His trip through The South during the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement was revealing and to me saved the last part of the book. Young readers who did not live through that period would be well served by reading at least that part to really get a picture of how far we have come but also why the struggle is still not over. He mentioned that growing up in Salinas California that he didn’t experience prejudice against the one Negro family in his town. I’m not sure I believe that but at least he, as I, didn’t experience the level that was prevalent in Southern States. Even though I could only give it a okay rating, it is worth a read if for no other reason than some historical perspective.
    2 people found this helpful

  48. just a reader

    2.0 out of 5 stars OMG
    I love Steinbeck’s writing. I’ve read, and enjoyed, all his offerings. However, “Travels With Charley” somehow slipped through the cracks and i never got around to reading the book. I finally have and what a disappointment.Rambling, self-absorbed dribble that could have been condensed into a nice magazine article.I realize the book was written some time ago, but even so, if the people he encountered were representative of our nation, then Heaven help us.Steinbeck rambles on in a stream of conscience for most of the book, going on for endless pages about absolutely nothing or mind-humbling insignificant subjects.I would recommend any of his works save this one. Steinbeck would have been better off staying at home.

  49. John A. Bowlus

    5.0 out of 5 stars My heart braces as I too set out to see America
    So 45+ years after this brave story was penned, I too will nervously set out on a journey to see America. I am pleased that I was present enough to listen to the human (not my favorite species of critters) who recommended to me this wonderful yarn when I told him of my upcoming adventure on the Appallachian Trail (no Rochinate for me). I respect the people who spoke of life before I knew what I was about, so I gladly grabbed up a digital version and dived in. I hope you too have the same inquisitive spirit, as this story will not disappoint, even having been written in a long ago era. Give yourself the gift of patience and act as if you are in a baseball stadium , like Wrigley Field during a afternoon game long before the Cubbies could return to the championship, and pay attention to the slow facts and interesting actions and wonderful life of this experience. Really listen. It will be a joy!
    One person found this helpful

  50. DenButler

    5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Steinbeck
    If you like Steinbeck, this is a jem.

  51. Robert O’Shea

    5.0 out of 5 stars Writing style is very enjoyable
    People online say the story isnt true. The events certainly happened and they are romanticized recollections by John Steinbeck. A fiction writer taking us along on his journey across America. There doesn’t seem to be a ton of evidence against Steinbeck beyond people who are willing to take incomplete evidence and make up their minds. Are some recollections fudged a bit? Duh. Are dates he was at locations not exact? Yeah probably. He states several times in the book that he doesn’t really keep serious track of these types of things, much to the apparent chagrin of the obsessively casual historian. I dont think that is enough to make a story untrue. Especially not with the heart that goes into this book. The perspective and realizations about people that often still hold true to this day. That much felt very real. I would fudge my story too if I was trying to write a narrative while simultaneously trying to recollect memories of my journey. It is a romanticized non-fiction. This is a book for the wanderer. The malcontent. The minds that yearns for more. And the perspectives on life of a man knowingly approaching his inevitable death.
    5 people found this helpful

  52. John P. Jones III

    4.0 out of 5 stars An impetus to do it again… much better this time.
    I first read “Travels…” in 1962. It is #15 on my list of books that I’ve read, which I commenced in that year. I’ve read a number of other books by Steinbeck, including The Grapes of Wrath , which I’ve read twice. Figured a re-read of “Travels…” was long overdue, since my original reading proved to be the impetus to my pale imitation of Steinbeck’s trip, in August 1968. I took my VW bug, and traveled from Pittsburgh, west, through Wisconsin, and all the way to Montana, before turning south to New Mexico, then looping back home in a rush imposed by “Uncle Sam.” That trip was the commencement to some other serious wanderings during my life.Steinbeck’s trip was much more extensive, yet in the end, attenuated also. It spanned 11 weeks, in the fall of 1960. He left his home on Long Island, NY, and traveled east and north, to Aroostook, Co. Maine, before turning west and going all the way to Seattle. Then he turned south and traveled to his childhood hometowns of Salinas and Monterey CA. Steinbeck references Thomas Wolfe’s classic You Can’t Go Home Again several times, noting that after a certain age many of your old friends are dead. He admits that he will be skipping over much of the rest of the country on the way home (you can’t do it all). He provides two memorable vignettes, among rich Texan friends at Thanksgiving, and then later, the fierce opposition to racial integration in the schools of New Orleans. His particular formulation of the urge to get home has remained with me all these years: “Some people take trips, and some trips take people,” and when the latter is operative, it is time to go home.This edition comes with a lengthy introduction by a biographer, Jay Parini. He admits that Steinbeck, the novelist, played a little loose with the strict facts of the trip, including creating a person who did not exist, and obviously reconstructing the dialogue in a particular fashion. Was he alone the entire trip? No. His wife was with him for portions of it, and I felt Steinbeck fairly admitted it in this work (she joined him in at least Chicago and Texas), and that he also fairly explained why he omitted discussing his interactions with her yet provided many details about his interactions with his dog.Steinbeck states that the country that he had known so well in the 1930’s and 40’s was now unknown to him, due to living in New York and abroad for two decades, and that was the prime motivation to his trip. Yet I felt that he skimmed too much on the surface of things… too much time in the camper, with Charlie. He stated that one way to understand the country is to attend church services, and I agree. He relates his attendance at one such service. But there is so much more that could have been done: attend sporting events, public-service functions by community-based organizations, and going to the working-class bars near factories at quitting time, among many others. He notes that his travels encompass the period when there is campaigning during a critical Presidential election, but not a single person talks politics with him. In fact, he never even mentioned who won!… though in an addendum, he relates how he and his wife were invited to the Inaugural Ball. In terms of not knowing the country, I was stunned when he wrote of the “blast furnaces of Detroit.” He also seemed to think that Filipinos are Maoris and seems to imply that Christ and Caesar lived in vastly different periods. I was bemused when he was complaining how “swollen” Seattle had become and predicted the residents would soon move back to the countryside. What would he think of it, or other American cities, more than half a century later?In terms of comments that are exceedingly topical, one that I fully agree with Steinbeck about, was his observation of the harvest in northern Maine: “It occurs to me that, just as the Carthaginians hired mercenaries to do their fighting for them, we Americans bring in mercenaries to do our hard and humble work. I hope we may not be overwhelmed one day by peoples not too proud or too lazy or too soft to bend to the earth and pick up the things we eat.” Yet within seven years of this insightful observation, he would be writing far less insightful articles in full support of the Vietnam War.I do enjoy reading Steinbeck, who proved to be a “compromise candidate” for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Overall, for his travels with Charley, 4-stars.
    33 people found this helpful

  53. Teresa Ehrlick

    5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book!
    It’s my favorite.

  54. Linda C Beatty

    5.0 out of 5 stars Doing the same thing
    I am traveling the US in an rv andhave been reading this journal of Steinbeck with great delight. I have been to many of the places he describes and plan to visit more of them in the west next year. I have been keeping my own journal along the way, logging not just facts but impressions of places and people. Although there is little diversity in RV and state parks, I venture out into the communities around the parks to see “where I am”. From TX and across the southern states and now in FL, I’ve only been called a Yankee once to my face, but I do feel a difference when I am in the South. It is certainly better than when Steinbeck came through. The feeling of us and them , black and white, is still here.
    4 people found this helpful

  55. Dave Todaro

    5.0 out of 5 stars Steinbeck Wannbes Like Me… Hit the Road!
    Were he still alive, I might disagree with John Steinbeck on poodles. To the mild consternation of my wife, I simply prefer other breeds. So when I travel across America in my specially outfitted vehicle, I will not be travelling with Charley.I might disagree with Steinbeck’s considered opinion, after spending a few days in and around Salinas as part of his 1960 cross-country road trip, that “you can’t go home again.” I pick up with the same friends and relatives whenever I return home to visit Buffalo, as though I’d never left. But, I appreciated Steinbeck’s honesty in relaying the awkwardness, even the feelings of betrayal that his old running buddies expressed to him, that once he attained literary success he relocated across a continent.And I’d probably be begging him to quit smoking. Apparently, this is what killed him. It was already killing him during this trip; he knew his days were numbered; and he wanted desperately to re-connect one last time with a nation he felt he felt out of touch with.The result is simply one of the best snapshots of a country and its culture one could imagine. If you want to understand something about the real America, and you appreciate DeToqueville and Kerouac, you simply must read Steinbeck next to the journals of these other men. If DeToqueville tried to explain what makes America different from other nations and Kerouac tried to exploit what makes this nation unique, Steinbeck tried to just live it; to “be” it. And then, to explain it to us.This is not just a journal of a trip. It is a great commentary on a pivotal time in American history. Steinbeck’s observations about his time in the deep South during this trip; and the incidents and conversations he relays to us from that part of his trip, offer a gutsy perspective on racism that should stir us in all sections of the nation, to continue to overcome.A friend of mine who qualifies as a fan of my own writing got indignant with me earlier this year when he found out I had not yet read “Travels With Charlie,” despite having told him that back in the day, works such as “The Pearl,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Cannery Row,” and “Of Mice and Men” that formed our common core of required reading were powerful influences on me. I promised him I’d read. And in so doing, I discovered that were he here today, I’d want to give Steinbeck a piece or two of my mind. But I’d also want a whole lot more of his in return. I’ll bet many of us would have a lot of fun and gain a lot of wisdom if we could have a conversation with this great American novelist whose work, for years, called America to a higher social conscience.
    26 people found this helpful

  56. Robert B Bux

    4.0 out of 5 stars good condition
    appears somewhat aged with an inscription on the front page but it is okay otherwise.

  57. kmathUSA

    5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opening cpmparison of todys verses the 1960s
    I’m only a third of the way through the book and have encountered several comparisons to the state of things in 1960s that are still relevant today. But today’s political pundits act like these are new problems that start with each new administration.
    3 people found this helpful

  58. Rick

    4.0 out of 5 stars Quite stunning…A snapshot of time and perspective
    Having grown up in the south during the late sixties and early seventies, I was part of the journey and the beginning of the “after” that Steinbeck dreaded and could not fathom. It is eye-opening to feel the naivety of his sheltered perspective, but helps me understand why those who were not in close contact with African-Americans took even longer to come to grips with their own racism.
    One person found this helpful

  59. Rychefan

    4.0 out of 5 stars Remeber those days?!?!
    It’s Steinbeck!!! How bad could it be?!?!First, I am no self-proclaimed book reviewer, like a lot claim to be. I am just an avid reader that has particular tastes. Steinbeck is one of my all-time favorite writers and “Travels With Charley” did not dissappoint. What I was left with is wanting more, though!”Travels with Charley” is a story about Steinbeck’s trip around the country with his dog, Charley. Steinbeck does a wonderful job of detailing the trip to include his thoughts on the people in various areas of the country, how the country has changed since the technological revolution…and what Charley thinks about the whole deal.This book began with a foreword that eventually was so tedious that I had to ignore it. If there’s one thing I cannot stand with a lot of these classics is a foreword from some “alleged professional” explain what the book is all about. I say, “Let me read it first and make my own judgements!”. And I don’t appreciate forewords that give away the story (especially in their perspective) before I have a chance to read it.After skipping the long-winded foreword, I read the book and had trouble putting it down. Steinbecks use of the English language is incredible and he can really paint a picture in this reader’s mind. With that said, I felt the story should have told so much more. It seemed as though many states visited were never discussed, which I would have loved to read his take on.Towards the end this book became an inner look into Steinbeck’s soul regarding racism. Not that it dampered the mood, but I felt like there should have been more discussed prior and after this section. It was almost as if he wanted to write more but something held him back.After completing the novel I can say I truly enjoyed the read. If anything, it brought many memories of my great-grandparents and their travels back and forth from NY to Florida with their 1960’s Airstream trailer!4 Stars for a great read. Not 5 because it left me wanting more!
    20 people found this helpful

  60. Jack Allen

    5.0 out of 5 stars A time for change
    Where to start…well the obvious place is at the beginning, but I think I’ll take the route less traveled…pretty well everyone knows the book so I’ll dispense with the premise and get right to the meat of it, his writing. John Steinbeck wrote from the everyman perspective, he flayed bare his soul for all to see. He was 58 years old when he departed on his journey and as an aside as I write this review 58 years later I am 54, just for some perspective. He eloquently shares the same sentiments that I have felt regarding progress, and the strange thing is how timeless his feelings are, his description of how the television and radio have stolen our regional speech and customs and idioms is an almost word for word discussion I had with a friend just last year. I remember a very different much more varied and colorful America in the early seventies while riding with my Dad on our cross country summer trips . He was an over the road trucker. The strangely wonderful thing that gives me hope and maybe a bit of mystical insight is that Steinbeck felt the same way as I do now before I was born! So it goes on down the line. One generation telling the last that the “the good ole days” are gone and now everything is bland and the sameness is mind numbing. I think it was Kurt Vonnegut that said in one of his books “there are no good ole days, just days” It’s all in how you perceive them I guess. Also He mentions the boredom felt by the people he met along the way and describes the various methods of relief he sees for said boredom, Pulp novels about violence, sex even Television. I guess those have been replaced by internet porn and The Walking Dead, the more things change the more they stay the same. the technology changes but people don’t. Time marches on and we must accept that the only constant is constant change. I think that was my major take away from this book, and I would like to thank mister Steinbeck for that if only he were still around. Five stars
    8 people found this helpful

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