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Chasing after Steinbeck

A Dutchman's attempt to follow in the footsteps of John Steinbeck reveals more about its author than it does about the US today

John Steinbeck and his son visit President Johnson in the White House

In America: Travels with John Steinbeck by Geert Mak, translated by Liz Waters (Harvill Secker, £25)

In Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck’s 1962 account of a journey he made across and around the United States, the author admits that one man’s account of a place is never going to convey the so-called truth of that place. A writer can “talk to key people, ask key questions, take…

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