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In Dubious Battle (Penguin Classics) von…
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In Dubious Battle (Penguin Classics) (Original 1936; 2006. Auflage)

von John Steinbeck (Autor), Warren French (Herausgeber), Warren French (Einführung)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen / Diskussionen
2,104415,941 (3.81)1 / 136
Set in the California apple country this novel portrays a strike by migrant workers that metamorphoses from principled defiance into blind fanaticism.
Mitglied:EugenioNegro
Titel:In Dubious Battle (Penguin Classics)
Autoren:John Steinbeck (Autor)
Weitere Autoren:Warren French (Herausgeber), Warren French (Einführung)
Info:Penguin Classics (2006), 274 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
Bewertung:*****
Tags:Keine

Werk-Informationen

Stürmische Ernte von John Steinbeck (1936)

  1. 10
    Les "Raisins de la colere" de John Steinbeck (Foliotheque) (French Edition) von Marie-Christine Lemardeley-Cunci (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: L'exploitation des travailleurs agricoles aux Etats-Unis. La lutte des classes, l'organisation d'une grève. Les pratiques anti-communistes aux Etats-Unis dans la premiere moitié du XXè siècle.
  2. 00
    Germinal von Émile Zola (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: La lutte des classes, l'organisation d'une grève. La répression des grévistes par la troupe.
  3. 00
    Im Aufruhr jener Tage: Roman von Dennis Lehane (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: La lutte des classes, l'organisation d'une grève. Les pratiques anti-communistes aux États-Unis dans la première moitié du XXè siècle.
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Certainly not a book to read for entertainment, "In Dubious Battle" is a terrifyingly relevant novel about disaffection, polarized groups, manipulation, mob mentality, and the brutality that lies just under America's veneer. Brutality is the core of this novel, and Steinbeck does not hesitate to lay it bare. Again, Steinbeck's portrayal of individuals in speech and behavior is pitch-perfect, but the rub is how they work as mobs:

"It's different from the men in it. And it's stronger than all the men put together. It doesn't want the same things men want-"

While no "side" has clean hands here, and only a few more innocent characters (like the young mother, Lisa) stand apart from the conflict, the bosses and vigilantes take initiative and act while the disenfranchised and unarmed strikers react. What goes on between these groups is identical to race and ideological group behavior in the USA of 2021. And as for the vigilantes -- the empowered, armed, white, paranoid, xenophobic heavies -- well, Steinbeck calls them out by name.

“Why, they're the dirtiest guys in any town. They're the same ones that burned the houses of old German people during the war. They're the same ones that lynch Negroes. They like to be cruel. They like to hurt people, and they always give it a nice name, patriotism or protecting the constitution.”

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. ( )
  MLShaw | Oct 2, 2021 |
As a straightforward novel about striking apple pickers, this is a good look at the mechanics of strikes and yet another good look from Steinbeck at the psychology of people placed in nearly impossible situations. The book follows Jim, the son of a famous Communist Party fighter, and his own journey from just another unemployed worker to Party organizer himself. He joins fellow Party men Mac and London in the fictional Torgas Valley and its fight against exploitative farm owners. Steinbeck uses Jim and Doc, the doctor, as the primary mouthpieces for his trademark vernacular philosophizing - Jim slowly changes from bystander to violent vanguard, while Doc is always the cool voice of reason, theorizing on the peculiar characteristics of the mass of men the Party is trying to build out of the unorganized mob of desperate strikers.

A big theme is the way that people get used for bigger things; not only Jim and the "his name is Robert Paulson"-type scene at the end, but throughout the book there are constant discussions of how bloodshed will turn the mob into a machine, an entity that will rampage over the callous and malignant growers. Eric Hoffer must have read this book several times before writing his own The True Believer on the nature of members of mass organizations, and in In Dubious Battle I also see echoes of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle in terms of how the organizers see the Communist Party as savior. What's interesting is that aside from glancing mentions of Hoover (who would have been out of office by the time book is set) there is basically no mention of the government. Steinbeck was probably trying to isolate the characters in the tiny valley setting for dramatic effect, but you could probably write an interesting paper on how the pro-labor liberalism of the New Deal with its Wagner Act helped defuse a lot of the Communist Party radicalism seen here.

I wouldn't say this book is as good as The Grapes of Wrath, its most nearly similar Steinbeck book, but I would recommend it to any fan of The Jungle. Steinbeck is incapable of writing a bad book, and while this may seem too political for fans of East of Eden, he does a great job of dramatizing the times, and the eternal conflict between individual, small, antlike people, and the large, collective, powerful anthills they can become. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
“I’ve heard he could lick five cops with his bare hands.”
Jim grinned. “I guess he could, but every time he went out he met six.”

Jim Nolan talking about his father Roy. Pretty much sums up this book - the working man being out muscled by the system. Jim joins up with the "reds" and a guy named Mac and they try to organize a group of apple pickers to strike for higher wages. The story unfolds slowly, but picks up steam at the end. And I felt anger and sorrow throughout, mostly because the plight of the working "stiff" seemed, and seems, unalterable. Even the "reds" seem to take advantage of them even as they fight for them. And the ending really ties the whole thing together - for both sides!

The book really resonates with the time, and with our time. Rich vs. poor. No one really helping the "little" guy. The cyclical sadness of poverty. Whether it be the orchard owner, the police, or Trump, the folks on the lower rung seem to be damned to that lower rung. Err....

On a softer note, it sure was cool to read this as a precursor to "Grapes of Wrath". I didn't even know that this was what it is, sort of the set up story that creates the situation that the Joads will find themselves in. I wish I had read them in order, but reading it now takes nothing away from it. Steinbeck is just that good! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Nov 21, 2017 |
Didactic writing that takes away from storyline and characterization. Didn't like the abrupt ending either. ( )
  flippinpages | Mar 11, 2017 |
One more for the American Author challenge for July. A Steinbeck I had never read before.

The opening was intriguing, like stepping into a noirish 1930's film. I half expected Jimmy Cagney to step through a door. I had to take a look again at the publication history and note this was first published in 1936. No wonder! The blurb on the back cover of my 1961 edition describes this as "Steinbeck's brilliant forerunner of the Pulitzer Prize-winning THE GRAPES OF WRATH."

I was surprised to find that there were many elements of the book that I disliked quite a bit. This is not a happy story. The "good guys", well, the red leader, 'Mac', goes about the union business as if it is war, because casualties, "collateral damage" lets call it at best, acceptable losses more realistically, are not only acceptable to him, they are fuel for the cause. I came to hate him. It is hard not to root for people who only want a living wage and don't want their existing wages cut by the landowners to pick the apple crop. I think Steinbeck has managed to write something that is still relevant 80 years after publication and that shows the good and the bad of man. I use the word man rather than mankind because if there is one element that reflects this as a product of several generations ago it is the lack of strong women characters. I also recognize that women's rights is not what Steinbeck's social cause is here. This is about worker's rights. Steinbeck certainly shows us the bad and ugly of the depression and how unions had to fight to be, and fight for workers. However, the big however, the communist agitators can be almost as ugly as the big bad employers who buy off the cops and let vigilantes have free reign.

Steinbeck was shining a light on a horrible social cost of crop pickers and the great depression of the '30's. This is interesting history even though fiction. Steinbeck makes comments on quite a variety of things and peoples throughout the novel and it kept striking me how true these observations were ... even though Steinbeck wrote this 80 years ago. This is a rather disturbing and scary book.

and the end will kill you. ( )
  RBeffa | Jul 23, 2016 |
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» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (15 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Steinbeck, JohnHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
French, WarrenEinführungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Kossin, SanfordUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Stechschulte, TomErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Velde, Frédérique van derÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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Innumerable force of Spirits armed,

That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,

His utmost power with adverse power opposed

In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven

And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?

All is not lost--the unconquerable will,

And study of revenge, immortal hate,

And courage never to submit or yield:

And what is else not to be overcome?

PARADISE LOST
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At last it was evening.
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Set in the California apple country this novel portrays a strike by migrant workers that metamorphoses from principled defiance into blind fanaticism.

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