John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was an American author known for his novels about the social and economic issues faced by the working class. His notable works include 'The Grapes of Wrath,' 'Of Mice and Men,' and 'East of Eden.' He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Grapes of Wrath

    The book follows the Joad family, Oklahoma farmers displaced from their land during the Great Depression. The family, alongside thousands of other "Okies," travel to California in search of work and a better life. Throughout their journey, they face numerous hardships and injustices, yet maintain their humanity through unity and shared sacrifice. The narrative explores themes of man's inhumanity to man, the dignity of wrath, and the power of family and friendship, offering a stark and moving portrayal of the harsh realities of American migrant laborers during the 1930s.

    The 15th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Of Mice and Men

    The book is a tragic tale of two displaced ranch workers during the Great Depression in California. The two main characters, an intelligent but uneducated man and his mentally disabled companion, dream of owning their own piece of land. However, their dreams are thwarted by circumstances beyond their control, leading to a heart-wrenching conclusion. The book explores themes of friendship, dreams, loneliness, and the harsh realities of the American Dream.

    The 210th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. East of Eden

    This novel is a multi-generational epic that follows the lives of the Trask and Hamilton families in the Salinas Valley in California. The story is deeply rooted in biblical allegory, particularly the tale of Cain and Abel, as it explores themes of love, guilt, freedom, and the inherent good and evil in human nature. The narrative provides a profound, complex portrayal of family and individual struggles with morality and love, while also reflecting on the social changes affecting America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    The 326th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Cannery Row

    Set during the Great Depression, the novel explores the lives of a community of people living in a sardine canning district on the coast of California. The narrative revolves around a group of unemployed yet resourceful men who are trying to throw a party for their friend, a marine biologist. The book is a series of vignettes, giving a detailed and humorous insight into the lives of the people in this district, their struggles, their joys, and their simple pleasures.

    The 560th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Winter Of Our Discontent

    This novel explores the moral decline of a man, Ethan Allen Hawley, who once belonged to a family of wealth and prestige in a small New England town. Working as a grocery store clerk after his family's fortune has been lost, Ethan is confronted with the ethical decay of those around him and the societal pressures to achieve success at any cost. As he navigates through temptations of dishonesty and betrayal to regain his family's status and wealth, the story delves into themes of integrity, personal conscience, and the American Dream, ultimately questioning what it means to be truly successful and honorable in a changing world.

    The 1972nd Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The Pearl

    A poor pearl diver's life is turned upside down when he discovers a giant, magnificent pearl. Initially seen as a blessing, it quickly becomes a curse as the man and his family are consumed by greed and paranoia. Despite their dreams of a better life, the pearl brings them nothing but misfortune and tragedy, leading them to question the true value of wealth and the destructive power it can hold.

    The 3123rd Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Travels with Charley

    This novel is a travelogue of an aging man and his poodle, Charley, as they embark on a road trip across America. The man, a noted author, seeks to rediscover his country and its people, using the journey as a means to reflect on his life and the changing world around him. It is a poignant exploration of the American landscape, its diverse inhabitants, and the nature of travel and self-discovery.

    The 3504th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Moon is Down

    The book tells the story of a small coastal town in Northern Europe that is occupied by an invading, unnamed army. The town's mayor, a central figure in the story, attempts to maintain order and dignity in the face of the occupation, while the townspeople begin to form a resistance against the invaders. The narrative explores the tensions and moral complexities of war, occupation, and resistance, as well as the human capacity for dignity and bravery under oppressive circumstances.

    The 4547th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Red Pony

    This narrative centers around a young boy's journey through early life on a California ranch, exploring themes of responsibility, loss, and coming of age through his interactions with a series of ponies. The boy's dreams and realities collide, particularly with the gift of a red pony, leading to profound lessons about life, death, and the complexities of human and animal relationships. Through vivid storytelling and rich symbolism, the story delves into the harsh realities of nature and the process of growing up, capturing the emotional landscape of youth and the inevitable passage into maturity.

    The 5640th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Tortilla Flat

    This novel is a humorous and poignant story set in the hills above Monterey, California, following the lives of a group of paisanos—poor, Hispanic men with a penchant for wine, freedom, and camaraderie. After one of them comes into possession of a house, the group forms a unique, albeit unconventional, household. Their adventures and misadventures, often fueled by their love for wine and their quest for dignity, paint a rich tapestry of loyalty and friendship amidst poverty. The narrative, deeply infused with warmth and a sense of community, explores themes of simplicity, happiness, and the human condition, making it a timeless exploration of the bonds that tie people together.

    The 5650th Greatest Book of All Time