John Steinbeck Books In Order

John Steinbeck, born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California, was one of the most celebrated American authors of the 20th century. Growing up in the fertile agricultural valley of Salinas, the environment and people he encountered would greatly influence his later writing. Steinbeck attended Stanford University intermittently in the 1920s but never graduated, instead choosing to pursue his passion for writing independently.

Throughout his prolific writing career, he authored an impressive 33 books, including a collaborative effort with Edward Ricketts. His literary contributions encompassed 16 novels, six non-fiction works, and two collections of short stories, showcasing his versatility and depth as a writer.

Emergence as a Writer
Steinbeck’s early career was marked by a period of experimentation and struggle. His first novel, “Cup of Gold” (1929), received little attention, but he persisted, drawing inspiration from his observations of the working class and the plight of migrant workers. His experiences during these years laid the groundwork for his later celebrated novels.

Major Works and Themes
Steinbeck’s breakthrough came with “Tortilla Flat” (1935), a novel that won him critical acclaim. However, it was “The Grapes of Wrath” (1939) that catapulted him to national fame. This powerful depiction of a displaced Oklahoma family during the Great Depression, and their journey to California, won the Pulitzer Prize and has since been recognized as one of the great American novels.

His other significant works include “Of Mice and Men” (1937), a tragic tale of two itinerant workers; “East of Eden” (1952), a multi-generational saga set in the Salinas Valley; and “Cannery Row” (1945), a novel that captures the essence of life in Monterey, California’s sardine canning district. Steinbeck’s writing is characterized by his empathy for the common person and his insightful, often stark portrayal of their struggles and resilience.

Writing Style and Influence
Steinbeck’s narrative style combines realism with a deep humanism. His simple yet powerful prose and his ability to weave compelling stories from the fabric of everyday life made his work popular with both critics and the general public. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, cementing his place in the literary canon.

Personal Life and Legacy
Steinbeck’s personal life, including his marriages and his views on politics and society, was as complex as his novels. He was a vocal advocate for social change, a theme that permeates much of his work. John Steinbeck passed away on December 20, 1968, leaving behind a body of work that continues to be widely read and studied. His novels, with their enduring themes of struggle, dignity, and injustice, remain relevant and influential, reflecting the depth and breadth of his understanding of the human condition.

Below are a list of all his books in publication chronological order.

Publication Order of Cannery Row Books

Cannery Row(1945)
Sweet Thursday(1954)

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Cup of Gold(1929)
The Pastures of Heaven(1932)
To a God Unknown(1933)
The Red Pony(1933)
Tortilla Flat(1935)
In Dubious Battle(1936)
Nothing So Monstrous(1936)
Of Mice and Men(1937)
The Grapes of Wrath(1939)
The Forgotten Village(1941)
The Wayward Bus(1947)
The Pearl(1947)
Burning Bright(1950)
East of Eden(1952)
The Short Reign of Pippin IV(1957)
The Winter of Our Discontent(1961)
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights(1976)
The Gift(1992)

Publication Order of Plays By John Steinbeck

The Moon is Down(1942)
Zapata(1975)

Short Stories/Novellas In Order of Publication – By John Steinbeck

Flight(1938)
The Vigilante(1938)
Murder(2005)
The Chrysanthemums(2007)

Publication Order of Collections

The Long Valley(1938)
The Short Novels of John Steinbeck(1953)
The Chrysanthemums and Other Stories(1979)

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Harvest Gypsies(1936)
Bombs Away(1942)
A Russian Journal(1948)
Sea of Cortez(1951)
The Log from the ‘Sea of Cortez’(1951)
Once There Was a War(1958)
Travels with Charley(1962)
America and Americans(1966)
In Touch(1969)
Journal of a Novel(1969)
On Writing(1988)
Working Days(1989)
Of Men and Their Making(2002)
Steinbeck in Vietnam(2012)

Publication Order of Anthologies

Great Short Masterpieces of Mystery(1950)
50 Great Short Stories(1952)
Short Story Masterpieces: 35 Classic American and British Stories from the First Half of the 20th Century(1954)
This Was Your War(1960)
Editors on Editing(1962)
50 Great American Short Stories(1963)
21 Great Stories(1969)
Unknown California(1985)
The Pendragon Chronicles: Heroic Fantasy from the Time of King Arthur(1989)
The Short Story: 30 Masterpieces(1992)
Win, Lose or Die(1996)
The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century(2000)
40 Short Stories: A Portable Anthology(2000)
The Book of Spies: An Anthology of Literary Espionage(2003)
The Little Big Book of California(2005)
Not To Be Read Until I Am Dead: And Other Stuff(2014)
Letters to Change the World: From Pankhurst to Orwell(2018)
Writers: Their Lives and Works(2018)

If you like John Steinbeck’s work then you may also like…
Ernest Hemingway
William Faulkner

Leave a Comment