Books: Damnation of Ethan Hawley

THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT (311 pp.)—John Steinbeck—Viking ($4.50).

In the early, vigorous fiction that brought him fame, John Steinbeck wrote in the language of the outcast and sided with the outsiders. It was an ambiguous form of social protest, since Steinbeck sometimes seemed less at war with the unjust acts of society than with the fact of society. One never quite knew whether his heroes wanted to storm the barricades or take to the woods and play hooky from the machine age. In Dubious Battle found him siding with Communist labor organizers, but in Tortilla Flat he sided with an amorally...

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