The Grapes of Wrath

  • by John Steinbeck
  • Narrated by John Chancer
  • 20 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shocking and controversial when it was first published, Steinbeck's Pulitzer prize-winning epic remains his undisputed masterpiece.
Set against the background of Dust Bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, are forced to travel west in search of the promised land. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires, and broken dreams, yet out of their suffering Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human, yet majestic in its scale and moral vision; an eloquent tribute to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Revisit humanity v self interest 1930's style

Where does The Grapes of Wrath rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top ten as it made me rethink the future of our capital system

What did you like best about this story?

The fact that the 1930's are being revisited and the same issues prevail
religious ignorance, the xenophobic fear of immigrants, irrational fears about social groups, muddle headed self interested economic decisions, abuse by those in power and the struggling humanity and love shown by the down-trodden who die to survive the above.

Have you listened to any of John Chancer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Who was the most memorable character of The Grapes of Wrath and why?

Ma's character builds through the book to become the one who holds the family unit together and must deal with all the demons and family differences.

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- Bruce aka (McGoolie)

Another look at Route 66

It was worth hauling out the old Hudson one more time to take the trip with the Joads from Oklahoma to California. It must be 20 years since I read this great novel and, twenty years more experience makes this all the better to read. The underlying sexual tension which totally escaped me as a 19 year old is now so confronting that it's hard to imagine the manuscript getting past the censors in America at the time of its release (1939).

Of course most readers will know the story of the drought, the land buy-up by the banks and developers and the dpression fuelled exodus that propelled the Joads in search of a new place of their own, a new America, if you like. Many will recall the many set-backs that befall the family; death, desertion and humilation, to mention some. And many will think, this is just too depressing to read again.

Please re-think!

When I heard John Chancer begin on the narrative, I knew it would be a new journey down an old road. Route 66 (called Highway 66 in the text) came alive for me. I listened to the Booby Troup lyrics again as the narrative played out. The words of the book could almost have been borrowed for the popular, much covered song. I was listening to the Nat King Cole version (1946), but the Stones version (and others) would do just as well. The hope of that song is somewhere in the dispair of the family. The despair and the fight and the dogged self-will fight for social justice that are captured in Chapter 27's famous closing words and in the Bruce Springstein reprise (also playing whilst I listen) of "The Ghost of Tom Joad" (1995).

I also heard a Gospel refrain (especially in Chancer's wonderful reading of Chapter 11) and the Steinbeck socialism theme jumped out in Chapter 14 ("I" versus "we") and hits you like it hit young Tom in Chapter 27. Then I remember that this was written after "In Dubious Battle" (1936) and that the author is not so naive as young Tom is about the labour movement, but you wouldn't know that in the reading. And then there is Chapter 25, read so movingly, that gives the book its name and does so effectively explain how the seeds are sown. And then we forget.

I could barely have wished for a better trip back to California. I hope I don't forget the Route in the years ahead.
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- Ian C Robertson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-07-2010
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK