"They were a high-strung bunch, the Hamiltons. My father used to say affectionately that they were all crazy." — John Steinbeck in Journal of a Novel (109).

Initially, Steinbeck's plan was to write this book for his boys, Thom and John, and to address the Hamilton chapters to them, "to tell them what their blood is." Curiously, he seems barely interested in the Steinbeck blood, his father's Germanic roots—he was more descriptive of his mother's Irish lineage. From her family came the stories, the creativity, the passion. Although dates are rearranged and personalities heightened, the Hamilton family stories are true. And in the story of the Trasks and Lee, Steinbeck suggests much about the emotional context of his own family.

Photo Credit: The Steinbeck House / Valley Guild  


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