Books: John Steinbeck, 1902-1968

THIS monster of a land," he wrote in 1962, "this mightiest of nations, this spawn of the future, turns out to be the macrocosm of microcosm me."

John Ernst Steinbeck always did have a talent for enlargement. Yet when he died of heart disease in Manhattan last week at 66, Steinbeck left behind a body of novels, short stories, plays and film scripts that were less a spawn of the future than a moral—and often moralizing—record from his special compartment in the nation's past.

Those who lived through the late '30s retain a particular fondness for the books that he wrote then....

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