Timeless Tom Joad: From The Mind Of John Steinbeck.

Posted on December 7, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

Book5Alphabet In John Steinbeck’s classic novel “The Grapes of Wrath”, Tom Joad is the main character who moves with his family from Oklahoma to California after losing their farm during the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression. The book won the National Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize, was the best-selling novel of 1939, 430,000 copies became printed by 1940, and John Steinbeck went on to become awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

Before writing the novel Steinbeck wrote, “I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this (the Great Depression)”. He also said, “I’ve done my damnest to rip a readers nerves to rags”. The Grapes of Wrath will be found on nearly every “Best Novel” compilation as one of the greatest novels ever written. A little known fact is the novel was the favorite of comedian Bill Hicks. The other night, the local PBS station presented a program where Bruce Springsteen was honored for his distinguished achievements, as many artists delivered excellent, memorable performances of songs written by Mr. Springsteen during his decades of creating and performing. At the end of the highlight-filled evening, Springsteen, 62 years-old, sounded just as good as ever, and gave the audience one more example of true artistry.

The particular song and performance that stood out – although every one was outstanding – was “The Ghost of Tom Joad”. Jim James and Tom Morello combine with the other musicians to deliver an impassioned, powerful, artistic interpretation much appreciated by Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti, a packed hall, plus untold numbers around the Earth watching on television or later on the internet.

And probably the great writer John Steinbeck himself – wherever in the creation his soul now resides.


(Thank you to runawaydream at YouTube)


8 thoughts on “Timeless Tom Joad: From The Mind Of John Steinbeck.

  1. Pingback: Bill Moyers and Company: Tom Morello, Troubadour for Justice + RATM: Wake up + Springsteen & Morello: Ghost Of Tom Joad | Dandelion Salad

  2. Thanks for uploading this and your commentary, Jerry. I’m a huge Morello fan and also Jim James (I saw him in concert in 2005 with My Morning Jacket). This version kicks! Morello rips the guitar. Fabulous!


  3. The Grapes of Wrath is a great novel. Read it in high school, of course, and read it again decades later – then realizing how much it had impacted the development of my world view.

    Where are our great social novels of today? I can only think of The Hunger Games.

    I’m sure some present-day great novels that make powerful social statements are out there, and I’m just not aware of them. Maybe you and your readers will suggest some titles.


    1. JoAnn,
      “Where are the great social novels of today?”
      It wouldn’t surprise that novels exist with the power of Grapes of Wrath, but that the messages they convey are seldom or not reviewed or publicized. Am unable to provide any modern novel titles as have yet to overcome a nonfiction only book choice, yet wouldn’t it be something if a young man or women became inspired to write the next Steinbeck masterpiece after visiting here? Adding my voice to your request for today’s great, undiscovered novel titles and authors from those who pass this way.


    2. JoAnn, while maybe not quite The Grapes of Wrath , The Dandelion Insurrection written by Rivera Sun is a modern-day novel that includes lots of activism, issues of domestic spying, and overall incredibly inspiring, and a quick read because it is so exciting. Here is a short review, http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/rivera-suns-the-dandelion-insurrection-reviewed-by-guadamour/

      The author continued the book’s theme with a series of articles written by the main character, the Man from the North. You can read those, too: http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/tag/the-man-from-the-north/ (listed in reverse order-newest at the top).


  4. Pingback: Timeless Tom Joad From The Mind Of John Steinbeck. | Occupy Wall Street by Platlee

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