After Words with Rick Wartzman
Sep 25, 2008
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Rick Wartzman talked about his book Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck’s the Grapes of Wrath
(PublicAffairs; September 1, 2008). In his book he discusses John Steinbeck’s The
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Rick Wartzman talked about his book Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck’s the Grapes of Wrath (PublicAffairs; September 1, 2008). In his book he discusses John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939, which tells the story of a family that moves to California in search of agricultural work during the Depression. In Kern County, California, where most of the fictional story was set and where agribusiness owners had a considerable amount of political clout, the book was banned from libraries and schools for lewdness and obscenity and publicly burned. They discussed the political climate and the actions of the time. Other topics included the book’s place in history. Mr. Wartzmand discussed his book with Susan Shillinglaw in the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library branch of the joint public/university San Jose Library. Mr. Wartzman responded to questions from members of the audience, which included a brother of Clell Pruett, one of the people featured in the book.
Rick Wartzman is director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University and a columnist for BusinessWeek. He is the co-author of The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire.
Susan Shillinglaw is a professor of English at San Jose State University and scholar-in-residence at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California. She is the author of A Journey into Steinbeck’s California (Roaring Forties Press; February 1, 2006).