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Friday, August 29, 2008

Monday, September 1 - Steinbeck on Labor Day! - Rick Wartzman: Obscene in the Extreme

In August of 1939 the Kern County, California Board of Supervisors voted to ban John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and in his new book award-winning journalist Rick Wartzman not only chronicles the story of the banning but taken this opportunity to frame the historical moment --- reframe it perhaps --- seventy years later, and offer a pageant of characters, fictional and real from the Joads to Carey McWilliams and Alger Hiss, a brave public librarian and leaders of California agribusiness. About Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Studs Terkel writes: "revelatory" and "a stunning book." Anthony Lewis says "Wartzman give us us a dramatic glimpse of a dark American past, where John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is burned as obscene and farm workers are prosecuted as Communists trying to form a union. It was only 1939. Are the seeds of hate dead?"

Rick Wartzman is director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University and an Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He spent two decades as a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times. He is co-author, with Mark Arax, of the award-winning bestseller The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire.

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1 comment:

Peter Richardson said...

Glad to see this ... the book captures an important moment in California history and identifies a deep tension in the California dream. I hope your listeners will want to learn more about Carey McWilliams, too. If so, they can check, where I also comment on the Rick's latest book.