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Summary

Believing that a good, interesting life is marked by quality, not quantity, John Steinbeck took note of his itchy feet and prepared to travel. He was accompanied by his French poodle, Charley, diplomat and watchdog, across the states of America from Maine to California. Moving through woods and forests, dirt tracks and highways to large cities and wildernesses, Steinbeck observed America and the Americans with a humorous and sometimes sceptical eye. What he sees is a lonely, generous nation too packed with individuals for single judgements. His vision of how the world was changing, however, speaks to us warningly and prophetically through the decades.

©1962 John Steinbeck (P)2011 Hachette Digital

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maureen
  • EDINBURGH, United Kingdom
  • 01-03-12

Captivating

I bought this book on the strength of recommendations in Amazon reviews and because, in my final year at school, I had learned to love John Steinbeck's books on the USA depression. I was not disappointed.

Travels with Charley is, however, quite different from the 'depression' books. The language is still beautiful and the descriptions captivating but this is a wonderfully crafted travelogue by a very observant traveller. The book contains much humour - particularly in his relations with Charley. The pace is fairly gentle with time to learn from the various characters he meets on the road. As you listen it is hard to remember that it was written in the very early 1960s. So many of the comments are still applicable.

Peter Marinker's reading is beautiful and his voice is just right. You feel that he is John Steinbeck!

This is a book to savour and one you certainly wish was longer. I highly recommend it to you.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Karla
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 23-12-12

Classic Travel Book

Two years before he died, John Steinbeck said goodbye to his wife, loaded up his truck & trailer, packed his dog, Charley, and took off on the road to see if the America he had been writing about for years had changed substantially. We listened to this book driving from London to Glasgow and back and it enthralled driver and 4 passengers for 12 hours. Steinbeck captures the idiosyncracies of the American people and places he encounters with great compassion and humour. An engaging account of a time and place in America that no longer exists.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Sublime

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

A small masterpiece. A road trip written by one of America's best known writers. Steinbeck takes to crossing the states with his ageing dog "Charlie ". Happy, sad and reflective. Read by one of the loveliest of narrators.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Travels with Charley?

The beginning. I found I had been smiling while listening.

What about Peter Marinker’s performance did you like?

Whenever I see Peter Marinker's name I know it is going to be a good book! He has a relaxed and sympathetic way of reading.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Charlie Wake up.

Any additional comments?

great travel read

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Get it

If you like Steinbecks stuff get this, you'll love it. The way he writes is lovely to hear and you forget it was written so long ago, it's so relevant to now, which I find quite hopeful

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A joy

I really enjoyed this audiobook The authors reflection of his country and self are brilliant Cleese Nd engaging. The narration was excellent really added to the journey. I am just sad now it's come to an end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • Hastings, United Kingdom
  • 13-04-13

Time, people, places, memories of life.

We walk run or drive our way through life and we think we have observed...how wrong we are! John Steinbeck captures every moment of a character, every trait thought, desire or aspiration. He is a true wordsmith and this book is no exception to his long list of successful novels and it is understandable how his genius was recognised by his Nobel prize. In his search to be reacquainted with the USA this book will fill the canvas of your mind with the stunning view of people, places and experience.

BoeingTell

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Edward
  • Kent, United Kingdom
  • 08-04-13

Classic travel writing

What a great combination, John Steinbeck and travelling through America. Subjects on which he is both knowledgeable and passionate about. This is no dry chronicling of a journey, rather a discovery of country and self, interspersed with anecdotes and humor.



Excellently narrated by Peter Marinker.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

great lite summer read!

Literally couldn't stop listening to this, finished in 3 days & the narrator was excellent! highly recommend for a lite summer read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A book for now as much as when it was written

Can't believe it has taken me this long to read/listen to a John Steinbeck book but I'm so pleased I did. Excellent, relevant, observation of life in America by a magnificent writer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great for a family road trip!

We enjoyed listening to this as we drove up highway 101 in California and Oregon, with our two teens. Good story/memoir and fun to think of what has changed and what hasn't in 50 -60 years.

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  • Leo Saumure
  • 07-11-15

A blogger way before blogs. Timeless and prophetic

What did you love best about Travels With Charley?

This was a deeply personal, immersive, humorous and lovely book to listen to! If Steinbeck were alive today, I'm sure he would be one of the foremost bloggers of our time. More often than I can recall, I found myself smiling at his stories, many times I laughed out loud as well.
What was great is the fact that the book didn't end with a cliche! I was expecting something to the effect of: I left to find America, and in the journey, I found myself.
That didn't happen, and I'm very glad of it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

John Steinbeck and Charley of course!

What does Peter Marinker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I loved hearing Peter Marinker read this book. When he was reading the deep and profound passages, he came across as solemn and thoughtful. When he was reading the humour parts, you may have expected to hear a rim-shot.
I also loved that he gave voice to the characters with feeling as well as accents. I will look for more books read by him.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book did make me laugh many times. As mentioned before, I thought much of this book could have easily been written yesterday instead of in the early 60s.

Any additional comments?

Hearing this book may make me look at more written by Steinbech. I may even read Of Mice and Men again.

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  • Tor
  • 22-02-13

Travels with Charley.

Where does Travels With Charley rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I read Travels With Charley first when I where about 18 years old. I never forgot how good I liked this book with it's many stories from the locals in USA.

Now I'm 61 years and the bok is just as good as the first time. This book I will recommend for all readers.

Best regards
Thor Andersen
Drammen
Norway.


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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • w.a.m.
  • 23-01-13

Nice, but also a good sleeping pill

The story is nice. I like traveling through the USA.
However I didn't dare to listen in the car while driving, because in bed after 5 minutes I was fast a sleep. It took me ages to get those few hours of listening ended.