In Dubious Battle
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This is a novel that fearlessly explores the line between principled defiance and blind fanaticism, John Steinbeck's. In Dubious Battle contains an introduction and notes by Warren French in Penguin Modern Classics. 'This book is brutal. I wanted to be merely a recording consciousness,' Steinbeck said of In Dubious Battle, which aroused immense controversy when first published in 1936. It follows the fortunes of Jim Nolan, disenfranchised and alone, his family destroyed by the system. Desperate to find his place in the world, Jim joins the Communist Party and becomes entangled in a strike of migrant workers which spirals out of control, unflinchingly detailing the apocalyptic violence that breaks out when the masses become the mob. This fast-paced, compelling novel is at once a brilliant observation of social and political turmoil and a moving story of a young man's struggle for identity. In Dubious Battle explores and dramatises many of the ideas and themes key to Steinbeck's writing. If you enjoyed In Dubious Battle, you might also like Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, also available in Penguin Classics. "Sweeps along with the torrential impetus of a great natural fire, impelled by a poetic energy." (Guardian). "Dramatically intense, beautifully written. It is the real thing; it has a vigour of sheer storytelling that may sweep away many prejudices." (New Republic).