Cover of: East of Eden | John Steinbeck

About the Book

Steinbeck considered East of Eden to be his masterpiece. In his journal, Journal of a Novel (often read as a companion to the novel) he notes that “this is the book I have always wanted and have worked and prayed to be able to write.” Set primarily in the Salinas Valley in the early twentieth century, the novel traces three generations of two families – the Trasks and the Hamiltons – as they grapple with the ever-present forces of good and evil. From this plot emerged some of Steinbeck’s most fascinating characters – many of whom are modeled after people in his own life.

Part allegory, part autobiography, and part epic, East of Eden was an ambitious project from the start – a gift to Steinbeck’s sons that was meant to teach them about identity, grief, and what it means to be human. Tinged with biblical echoes of the fall of Adam and Eve and the rivalry of Cain and Abel, this sprawling saga has captivated audiences everywhere for generations. It is through the popularization of East of Eden that the Salinas Valley was truly transformed into “the valley of the world”; a place where everyone is able to find a piece of themselves in the golden, rolling hills.

About the Edition

In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

Adam Trask came to California from the East to farm and raise his family on the new rich land. But the birth of his twins, Cal and Aaron, brings his wife to the brink of madness, and Adam is left alone to raise his boys to manhood. One boy trhives nurtured by the love of all those around him; the other grows up in loneliness enveloped by a mysterious darkness.

First published in 1952, East of Eden is the work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the enecplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence. A masterpiece of Steinbeck's later years, East of Eden is a powerful and vastly ambitious novel that is at once a family saga and a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis.

--jacket flap

Edition Notes


Copyright Date
1952, 1980


Dewey Decimal Class
Library of Congress
PS3537.T3234 E3 2002
LCCN Permalink

The Physical Object

601 p. ;
Number of pages

ID Numbers

Open Library
Internet Archive
LC Control Number
52474316, 262189799
Alibris ID
Library Thing

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December 20, 2018 Edited by Lisa Added new cover
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December 10, 2018 Edited by Lisa Added new cover
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Initial record created, from Scriblio MARC record.