With the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of America and Americans on the horizon in 2016, we have the advantage of almost a half century of hindsight to explore how Steinbeck’s America informed his contemplation of its future in the book’s final essay “Americans and the Future.” This paper will look back at America in the early 1960s, followed by a comparative view of America today, guided by Steinbeck in “Americans and the Future” (with several side trips into the other essays and selected writings), to argue that not only was Steinbeck sharply perceptive about the challenges and opportunities facing his era, but he held an intuitive grasp of American identity that is timeless and relevant to twenty-first century Americans.


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pp. 155-170
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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