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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Currently reading

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron
Home Fire: A Novel
Kamila Shamsie
A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present
Howard Zinn

The Harvest Gypsies

The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

In 1936, John Steinbeck toured the migrant camps and government camps of California. He wrote seven articles about the plight of the migrant workers that were published in The San Francisco NewsThe Harvest Gypsies is the compilation of those articles.


Having read The Grapes of Wrath there's not much to say about The Harvest Gypsies. It's clear Steinbeck was greatly moved by his experience in 1936, and it was this series of encounters that was the catalyst for his 1938 Pulitzer-winning novel. Elements of many of the stories Steinbeck tells in The Grapes of Wrath are first seen here. Told in a concise, largely journalistic voice, The Harvest Gypsies doesn't leave too much room for the Steinbeck we love, but he does make brief appearances.


The Harvest Gypsies is a very thin book primarily for Steinbeck fans. It also serves as a great companion to The Grapes of Wrath. It's not one I'd recommend to readers who have not read and loved The Grapes of Wrath.