East of Eden

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A masterpiece of Biblical scope, and the magnum opus of one of America's most enduring authors

In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book," and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families-the Trasks and the Hamiltons-whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

The masterpiece of Steinbeck's later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean and read by thousands as the book that brought Oprah's Book Club back, East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.


I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer—and what trees and seasons smelled like—how people looked an...

About the Author:

John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about 25 miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919…

Ratings (70):

Incredible (19)
Loved It (31)
Liked It (12)
It Was OK (5)
Did Not Like (3)

Reader Stats (155):

Read It (65)
Want To Read (66)
Did Not Finish (2)
Not Interested (22)


Loved It
a true american epic

This book ranks among my favorites. It's a story of the human experience that everyone can identify with.

2 readers liked this
11/10/2023 4:21:45 AM
Loved It

The Trask family saga, spanning three generations from the late 19th century through World War I. Stunning writing.

11/18/2022 6:06:44 AM
Liked It
perfect story telling

Beautiful book; it didn't quite hold my attention as The Grapes of Wrath did, but it's definitely up there among the best.

11/18/2022 3:16:59 PM
Loved It
amazing writing, classic

A great book, if not the greatest I've ever read. It's a huge time commitment, but the breadth of the plot and the depth of the characters make it worth it.

11/17/2022 9:57:50 PM
Loved It
family saga, epic

Difficult to put down. Fascinating saga of a family, with references to the Bible. The characters' lives are used to look at the strengths and weaknesses of people in general.

11/22/2022 8:31:46 AM
Loved It
biblical themes throughout, a great novel

In comparison to Steinbeck's previous works, I would rank this one at the top.

I found it be somewhat tedious at first, but the richness of the characters ultimately made the book worthwhile.

11/22/2022 2:00:45 AM

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East of Eden?

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