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"'A Strange, Bloody, Broken Beauty,'" The New York Review of Books, May 27, 2010

“What are Americans like today?” John Steinbeck set out to answer that question in Travels with Charley, his 1962 travelogue, but it had been a theme of his fiction, as it had been a theme of many works by American writers loosely labeled naturalists. It was not a query of merely local interest. America was to be the world’s great experiment in freedom and self-reliance. How its people adapted to their conditions and expectations—whether they would thrive or wither in the great spaces given to them—could be understood to suggest something about human nature itself. --from The New York Review of Books, 27 May 2010