This book describes Steinbeck's road trip across the country and back; his goal was to discover what Americans are like. The obvious book to compare Travels with Charley with is Blue Highways. Not only is Steinbeck a better writer, but he also knows when to stop, resulting in a tighter book. However, Steinbeck tends to be too sentimental and to make annoyingly broad generalizations, and he definitely doesn't have Least Heat Moon's knack for extracting stories from the people that he meets along the way. Also, it's a little funny when he talks about how modern everything is and how big the cities are, since he's talking about 1960. Nitpicks aside, I enjoyed this book a lot.
copyright © 1998 John Regehr