The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to the Grapes of Wrath

The 75th anniversary of Steinbeck’s masterpiece of journalism

Gathered in this important volume are seven newspaper articles on migrant farm workers that John Steinbeck wrote for The San Francisco News in 1936, three years before The Grapes of Wrath. With the inquisitiveness of an investigative reporter and the emotional power of a novelist in his prime, Steinbeck toured the squatters’ camps and Hoovervilles of California.

The Harvest Gypsies gives us an eyewitness account of the horrendous Dust Bowl migration, a major event in California history, and provides the factual foundation for Steinbeck’s masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath. Included are twenty-two photographs by Dorothea Lange and others, many of which accompanied Steinbeck’s original articles.

Reviews

“Steinbeck's journalism shares the enduring quality of his famous novel.”

Publishers Weekly

 

“The book is a valuable, largely unknown treasure that I heartily recommend.”

FACCCTS

 

“Steinbeck's potent blend of empathy and moral outrage was perfectly matched by the photographs of Dorothea Lange, who had caught the whole saga with her camera—the tents, the jalopies, the bindlestiffs, the pathos and courage of uprooted mothers and children.”

San Francisco Review of Books

About the Author

Charles Wollenberg is a noted historian and author of Marinship at War: Shipbuilding and Social Change in Wartime Sausalito and Golden Gate Metropolis: Perspectives in Bay Area History.
John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, CA, in 1902. Steinbeck realized that the migration caused by the Dust Bowl was drastically changing the labor forces of California from the foreign "cheap labor" to a higher standard of living for the farm workers. He felt for these migrant workers, and with the help of a friend, Tom Collins, unsuccessfully tried to get federal aid and sympathy, as shown in the articles of The Harvest Gypsies. Steinbeck continued in his crusade, publishing The Grapes of Wrath, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.