Stories of our century: “The grapes of wrath”

This programme is part of the series Stories of Our Century
The Dust Bowl in South Dakota in 1936 (© Wikipedia Commons)

In 1999, Radio Netherlands broadcast a series of 12 programmes telling the story of the 20th century through famous books. In each programme, a guest speaker gives us the historical background behind the story in the book and tells us about the actual events that inspired it.

“The Grapes of Wrath” is a novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. This realistic depiction of the immense hardship brought on by the economic disaster of the Great Depression and the environmental catastrophe of the Dust Bowl helped to win its author the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. It tells the story of a family of tenant farmers, the Joads, forced off their land and in search of a livelihood in the Promised Land, California, where they are confronted with the realities of modern-day capitalism.

Our guest speaker is the distinguished historian Howard Zinn (1922-2010), professor emeritus of Boston University and author of the acclaimed “A People’s History of the United States”.

Producer: Marijke van der Meer

Broadcast: March 1999

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