Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The book “The Other Side of Eden” by John Steinbeck IV and Nancy Steinbeck, I reviewed in my previous article that you may easily access by scrolling back to there. Considerable interest in this book has been expressed to me both in comments, private emails and verbal discussions with people I’ve encountered in my daily life. For that reason, I have chosen to share additional links to Internet websites I subsequently initiated researching in response to that interest.

In my previous article titled, “Choosing Books We Read – Steinbeck IV,” I described the varied route I followed which resulted in my selecting this particular book. After the book’s selection, I took note of the fact John Steinbeck IV was the son of a famous parent who was recognized world-wide with notable awards for his writing. I became particularly intrigued with how being the child of such a recognized figure could, and sometimes does, impact some children. I could name numerous children of famous public figures and celebrities whose lives have been positively and/or negatively affected by their parents’ status, as probably many readers could also. Naming or making comparisons with these children is not the focus of what I write.

My particular interest centers on the informative, sensitive account of how John IV perceived his life that he wrote about in his uncompleted autobiography before his unfortunate premature death. There may have been several “uncompleteds” in his life at certain stages. We each must make our own way through this world on a sometimes barbed and thorny, occasionally crooked rutty road, fraught with detours, even dead ends. Only the naive fail to recognize the challenges in making this journey, which is more difficult for some than others, for a multitude of reasons both within and beyond our control.

When we’re children we are especially vulnerable to adult influences that can contribute to complicating the rest of our lives. His untimely death is doubly tragic since not only was he deprived of life, but his wife, children, and family missed his love and companionship. His friends, plus those who recognized and appreciated his talents and skills, would no longer benefit from the further materialization of his unknown potential.

Who of us does not see life through varying lens at age 20, then 40, next 60, again 80 years and, for some, even 100 years or more? Actually, even life view changes at 30, 50, 70 and 90 can be significant. John IV was sharing his observations in this book from the viewpoint of a mature adult in his mid-forties who had many unique experiences throughout his life. One of his writing achievements when in his twenties is the highly acclaimed Vietnam memoir, “In Touch.” Since we have his perceptions at mid-life, he might even have wanted to share an account of a further evolved life viewpoint about which he could have been motivated to write in the following years.

His wife compiled “The Other Side of Eden” knowing of his intent to have his writings published. She wrote additional chapters to augment his and their life narrative, specifically noting at the beginning of each chapter the ones he wrote, those she wrote and any that might be a combination of his views, as she knew them, coupled with her own knowledge and perspective.

Co-author Nancy Steinbeck’s website can be reached with a click HERE for the book jacket description and reviews.

She reads from the book HERE.
This 9 min. reading requires you to download a RAM file and follow the written instructions to access.
There is also a slide show on the site that requires a Real OnePlayer to watch but if you do not have a necessary plug-in or helper application you can download a free one there.

For anyone interested in John Steinbeck IV’s father’s legacy through his award-winning novels (discussed in my preceding article,) I suggest this link to The National Steinbeck Center.

John IV’s brother, Thomas, serves on the Board of Directors, there in Salinas, California, in the heart of the story setting for some of John Steinbeck’s novels. The city is a scenic 17-mile drive from the popular vacation spot, Monterey, for those who might want to plan an interesting travel experience to both places. There are some spectacular colorful ocean scenes along the coastal Monterey area on writer, Thom’s web site HERE, which also contains information about his books beginning with his first, "In The Shadow of the Cypress."


  1. Darlene says...

    "John Steinbeck is my favorite author. I loved East of Eden and read it twice. The Grapes of Wrath is such a true portrayal of the Great Depression that it has become the hallmark of writing of that era. And the characters in his novels about Monterrey are so lovable that you will never forget Doc and his friends once you have read Cannery Row. "

    (Received in email as she was unable to get comment to publish here.)

  2. Thanks for this and the previous post. Thought I'd read, and enjoyed, all the Steinbeck works in existence. For reasons unknown, I was unaware of "The Other Side of Eden." It's now right on the top of my reading list.