The Harvest Gypsies
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Selected by NYU as one of the century's best books of American journalism
Gathered in this volume are seven long-form articles that John Steinbeck wrote in 1936 about the plight of migrant farmworkers during the Dust Bowl, accompanied by photographs by Dorothea Lange and others. Steinbeck toured the squatters' camps and Hoovervilles of California, creating unforgettable portraits of once strong, independent farmers reduced to misery. The inquisitiveness and outrage of an investigative reporter combined with the expressive powers of a novelist in his prime fueled The Harvest Gypsies, which in turn furnished the factual and emotional roots for The Grapes of Wrath and has long been hailed as an American classic in its own right.
'nough food. Well, I fixed him up." She rose to her feet and stepped back. Her eyes were sharp. She pointed a rigid forefinger in Rose of Sharon's face. "I says, 'Git back!' I says. I says, 'I knowed the devil was rampagin' in this here camp. Now I know who the devil is. Git back, Satan,' I says. An', by Chris' he got back! Tremblin' he was, an' sneaky. Says, 'Please!' Says, 'Please don' make the folks unhappy.' I says, 'Unhappy? How 'bout their soul? How 'bout them dead babies an' them poor
children played seriously. In front of a tent an elderly lady sat on a bench and watched. Ruthie and Winfield broke into a trot. "Leave us play," Ruthie cried. "Leave us get in." The children looked up. A pig-tailed little girl said, "Nex' game you kin." "I wanta play now," Ruthie cried. "Well, you can't. Not till nex' game." Ruthie moved menacingly out on the court. "I'm a-gonna play." The pig-tails gripped her mallet tightly. Ruthie sprang at her, slapped her, pushed her, and wrested the
take it or go on along. I got no time to argue." "But-" "Look. I didn' set the price. I'm just checking you in. If you want it, take it. If you don't, turn right around and go along." "Twenty-five, you say?" "Yes, twenty-five." TOM DOZED ON HIS MATTRESS. A stealthy sound in the room awakened him. His hand crept to the rifle and tightened on the grip. He drew back the covers from his face. Rose of Sharon was standing beside his mattress. "What you want?" Tom demanded. "You sleep," she
thousand in 'em, knock off a buck an' a half. Piles of rusty ruins against the fence, rows of wrecks in back, fenders, grease-black wrecks, blocks lying on the ground and a pig weed growing up through the cylinders. Brake rods, exhausts, piled like snakes. Grease, gasoline. See if you can find a spark plug that ain't cracked. Christ, if I had fifty trailers at under a hundred I'd clean up. What the hell is he kickin' about? We sell 'em, but we don't push 'em home for him. That's good. Don't
she said. The officer shot a flashlight beam up on the old shrunken face. "By God, she is," he said. "You swear you got no seeds or fruits or vegetables, no corn, no oranges?" "No, no. I swear it!" "Then go ahead. You can get a doctor in Barstow. That's only eight miles. Go on ahead." Tom climbed in and drove on. The officer turned to his companion. "I couldn' hold em." "Maybe it was a bluff," said the other. "Oh, Jesus, no! You should of seen that ol' woman's face. That wasn't no bluff."