In Dubious Battle

Version: Unabridged
Author: John Steinbeck
Narrator: Tom Stechschulte
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Classics
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published In: February 2003
# of Units: 9 CDs
Length: 10 hours, 15 minutes
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In Dubious Battle is regarded as John Steinbeck's first major novel. Because it stirred up controversy by criticizing social and political practices of the 1930s, Steinbeck found himself accused of being a Communist. But despite this criticism, he went on to create Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, both considered to be masterpieces of American literature. In California apple country, a group of migrant workers decides to strike against landowners. The situation quickly spirals out of control. Swept up in the madness is Jim Nolan, who must respond to urgent emotional pressures around him. Over the course of eight days, his whole world changes--from confusion and insecurity to becoming a self-confident leader. Steinbeck provides both an understanding of the social upheaval of the 1930s, as well as a character who matures and develops a philosophy of life before our very eyes. The resonance of narrator Tom Stechschulte's voice is the perfect match for this important work.

Author Details

Author Details

Steinbeck, John

John Ernst Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, on February 27, 1902 of German and Irish ancestry. His father, John Steinbeck, Sr., served as the County Treasurer while his mother, Olive (Hamilton) Steinbeck, a former school teacher, fostered Steinbeck's love of reading and the written word. During summers he worked as a hired hand on nearby ranches, nourishing his impression of the California countryside and its people.

After graduating from Salinas High School in 1919, Steinbeck attended Stanford University. Originally an English major, he pursued a program of independent study and his attendance was sporadic. During this time he worked periodically at various jobs and left Stanford permanently in 1925 to pursue his writing career in New York. However, he was unsuccessful in getting any of his writing published and finally returned to California.

His first novel, Cup of Gold was published in 1929, but attracted little attention. His two subsequent novels, The Pastures of Heaven and To a God Unknown, were also poorly received by the literary world.

Steinbeck married his first wife, Carol Henning in 1930. They lived in Pacific Grove where much of the material for Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row was gathered. Tortilla Flat (1935) marked the turning point in Steinbeck's literary career. It received the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal for best novel by a California author. Steinbeck continued writing, relying upon extensive research and his personal observation of the human condition for his stories. The Grapes of Wrath (1939) won the Pulitzer Prize.

During World War II, Steinbeck was a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Some of his dispatches were later collected and made into Once There Was a War.

John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 “...for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and a keen social perception.”

Throughout his life John Steinbeck remained a private person who shunned publicity. He died December 20, 1968, in New York City and is survived by his third wife, Elaine (Scott) Steinbeck and one son, Thomas. His ashes were placed in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Salinas.