Read Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell Lewis Nordan Online


Tobacco Road IMDb Tobacco Road out of I take pride in watching bizarre movies from every country and every decade but I never figured that s what I d be viewing when I sat down to watch this John Ford film that seems to have been forgotten over the years The movie, based on the famous novel and long running play, centers on Jeeter Lester Charley Grapewin and his family, poor Georgia farmers Tobacco Road novel Wikipedia Tobacco Road is a novel by Erskine Caldwell about Georgia sharecroppers.It was dramatized for Broadway by Jack Kirkland in , and ran for eight years, an astounding feat for a non musical and, as of , it was still the th longest running Broadway show in history as well as being the second longest running non musical ever on Broadway The novel ultimately argues for the Cigar Shop NashvilleCigar Shop Nashville Tobacco Road Tobacco Road Coffee Smoke Shop Your Nashville cigar shop Smoke a cigar grab a beer, hang out have fun with your friends Located in in Crieve Hall just south of Nashville. Golf Courses Golf Packages Tobacco Road Golf Club Highly decorated, never duplicated Tobacco Road Golf Club in Sanford, NC was recently voted one of the top courses in the world Golf Course Architecture. Tobacco Road Sports Cafe Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill Tobacco Road is not a sports bar The Amra brothers share a passion for both sports and good food Unfortunately, they found that their favorite places to watch the game were never the same as their favorite places to eat, and wanted to remedy this for the people of the Triangle. Tobacco Road Coffee Smoke Shop Yelp reviews of Tobacco Road Coffee Smoke Shop Nice laid back atmosphere the staff was very helpful great selection of cigars and pipe tobacco Tobacco Road Rustic LLC in Goodlettsville, TN Company Feb , Tobacco Road Rustic LLC is a Tennessee Domestic Limited Liability Company filed on October , The company s filing status is listed as Inactive Dissolved Administrative and its File Number is The Registered Agent on file for this company is Grant Taskerud and is located at Old Clarksville Pike, Joelton, TN . Tobacco Road The Nashville Teens YouTube Dec , The British Group With An American Name.Brilliant Innovative Version Can You Hear Future Classic Rock In Here What A Marvelous Record.These Guys Are Like To What A Bad Record For Some Teens Tobacco Road Coffee Smoke Shop in Nashville Tobacco Find Tobacco Road Coffee Smoke Shop in Nashville with Address, Phone number from Yahoo US Local Includes Tobacco Road Coffee Smoke Shop Reviews, maps directions to Tobacco Road Coffee Smoke Shop in Nashville and from Yahoo US Local Tobacco Road Sports Cafe Durham Tobacco Road Sports Cafe Parking There are numerous parking garages on the American Tobacco Campus, including one right in front of our restaurant located between Tobacco Road, the Aloft hotel and the Durham Performing Arts Center Hold Your Next Event at Tobacco Road From corporate events to small gatherings with friends and family, to your fantasy football draft, Tobacco Road Sports Cafe can help make your next


Title : Tobacco Road
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780820316611
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Tobacco Road Reviews

  • Teresa
    2019-04-14 00:33

    Probably thirty years ago, if not longer, I read the play based on this novel and until now that's all I knew of the book, besides its being steeped in controversy. I understand why it is, but I think those who take offense are looking at only one part of the picture. If you believe Caldwell is mocking the poor sharecroppers, then what is he saying about the townspeople who mercilessly ridicule them, and in their hearing, also cheating them of the little bit of money they might have? None of that was humorous to me, though I have a feeling some found it so.The Lester family is starving -- literally -- and the little they might acquire is consumed by a hierarchy, a survival of the fittest. Grandmother Lester knows she is expendable and keeps out of the way. For all the Lester females, silence is power to a certain extent. Except for the once-silent mother Ada and Bessie, who is not technically a Lester, I don't believe any of them speak; but they watch, and act when they can. The father Jeeter does not act, but he does talk, repeating himself all the time: no one is listening.The book alternates at times between what comes across as almost slapstick (not something I care for, but well done here) and then musings about the Lester family history and their attachment to the land. I felt the last chapter was an elevation in both content and prose style, the perfect coda.

  • ``Laurie Henderson
    2019-03-27 03:26

    Back in the early 1980's, when I lived in Augusta, Georgia, there was a country backroad outside of town called Tobacco Road. I had heard of the book with this title and I wondered if this was just a coincidence or was this the setting for the book Tobacco Road.Curious, I checked the book out of the library and found out that yes indeed, this road was the setting for this unrelenting tale of horror.I didn't realize at the time that Caldwell wrote this book in order to justify eugenics and the cleansing of such as these poor southerners and others of their ilk who weren't as able and intelligent as Caldwell.Caldwell tries with all his heart to make these characters little more than animals and does an incredibly good job.So if you're in favor of genetic cleansing by all means read this book; otherwise, don't even think about polluting your precious brain cells with such garbage.

  • Cathy DuPont
    2019-04-12 21:25

    In Palatka, Florida, 36 miles from where I live in St. Augustine, the Latimer Arts Center (Prairie School of architecture and quite lovely) Larimer Arts Center served as the county library from 1930 until 1992. Atop the arched entranceway are the phrases “Ignorance Breeds Crime” and “Knowledge is Power.” These two phrases have always intrigued me especially since I never thought of Palatka as the center of knowledge in northeast Florida. (In part, I must admit that comment is due to a local rivalry.)Doorway of Larimer Arts CenterWith that said we know that reading is an education. Reading allows a person to learn about anything and everything. This knowledge can be obtained at your local library where readers can find information at their fingertips which, as readers, we already know.Larimer Arts Center, Reid St., Palatka, FloridaWith that said, it bothers me to hear comments that readers didn’t like the book because it was depressing, sad, dark, and inhumane. Even the word ‘ignorance’ came up; the ignorance of the characters. There are many other adjectives to describe what’s been said by readers about Tobacco Road but I agree with Melanie Hierholzer who says “I am amazed that so many people on this website just did not get this book. Here's Melanie's excellent review: Tobacco Road. Knowing the subject of the book and early in my reading, I was looking for a reader who I thought voiced an opinion that might be similar to mine. Thankfully I found Melanie's review and we had a great conversation. I think every book I've ever read that was placed during the 1930’s depression had a dark tone. The depression was not the best of times for America’s economy (or the world for that matter) and of course, it's citizens. Erskine Calwell is considered a naturalistic writer the definition being “characters can be studied through their relationships to their surroundings.” The Theme of the Book is The Land (My opinion, of course.)The land kept the Lester family in food, clothing, and shelter for generations but when the land gradually lost the needed nutrients it grew less and less. A much larger land area (a plantation, can’t recall) belonging to the Lesters was sold off gradually by each generation. Over time the land simply gave out from being overused with the nutrients gradually depleted from the planting of tobacco and later, cotton. The land was all the Lester family had known as poor and illiterate farmers. (Of course this was prior to any Headstart programs, Food Stamp Programs, any governmental assistance programs whatsoever.) Jeeter Lester, the patriarch of the family, would not and could not fathom working in the city in one of the cotton mills. The cotton mill was where their neighbors migrated to make a living. But the Lesters wouldn't leave the only thing they had ever known which was farming the land. Every year Jeeter thinks “if I can get cotton seeds and guano” everything will be fine. But of course seeds and fertilizer cost money. There’s plenty of hopelessness but no money. And Jeeter continues to await a windfall of some kind. Talking to the shopkeeper asking for credit, Jeeter says “…You storekeepers won’t let us have no more credit since Captain John (now owner of the land) left, and what is we going to do? I don’t know what’s going to happen to me and my folks if the rich don’t stop bleeding us. They've got all the money, holding it in the banks, and they won’t lend it out unless a man will cut off this arms and leave them there for security.” The Lesters blame the bankers and the shopkeepers for their plight, their inability to farm the land. Boiled fatback once a day I guess can be a little filling when you add some cornbread. No, not cornbread, cottonmeal bread because cottonmeal stretches further in the household. And lordy, lordy, don’t be late for dinner otherwise the table is empty; none of that “let’s save some for Dude” the 16 year-old son in the family or Grandma Lester. It’s every man for himself. Grandma Lester does her best to stay invisible since she’s the oldest and least productive. She knows her death is just one less mouth to feed.And they all slowly starve to death. The basics of survival have kicked in. This, I think, is what alarmed readers...that people could be both this selfish and this ignorant. Everyone is unattractive, except 12 year-old yellow-haired and lovely Pearl Lester Bensey who is married to Jeeter’s friend Lov Bensey. Ok, let’s call it what it is, everyone seems to be ugly but it’s all ugly; the land, the situation, their rag clothes, the corn husk beds, the dirty sheets. Everything is ugly and damaged just like the land.The one thing Jeeter and his wife, Ada, accept is death. They tell anyone who will listen what they want to wear new and stylish clothes when they’re “laid out.” Although it doesn't mention it, at the time when someone died they were placed in open wooden coffins in the main room of the house and relatives and friends came to pay their respects. In death Jeeter and Ada thought and wanted to look nice when they passed and were laid out. No, the book was not depressing to me personally although it was a depressing subject. The book was about a hard life that was slow to disappear. Hey, this is America. We can read what we like. If I don't like a book, I won't read it. This book may not be for you and yes, you might find it depressing. If so put it down and pick up Mary Poppins, something that will make you happy. I loved Caldwell's writing and will read more books written by him. It was all I expected and more. My Family StoryYears ago I was visiting Daddy's birthplace (at home) on a cotton farm in southwestern North Carolina, between Hayesville, North Carolina and Hiwassee, Georgia. I was sitting on the steps of Philadelphia Church with my cousin Rex and I asked him why Grandma and Grandpa moved around so much? He laughed asking me “you don’t know?” No, I didn't know. Rex said they were itinerant sharecroppers and they had to move where land was more fertile, where their crops would grow to feed the family. (I’m from a small (pop. 13,900) Florida city in north Florida, not a farmer for sure, so this came as news to me, the why of their moving frequently.)The one thing I did remember from visiting Grandma and Grandpa was that they never lived in any house where there was indoor plumbing. There was always an outhouse. To get to every home they lived in that I recall, there were always many switchbacks up a mountain. I recall Daddy saying he looked at the rear end of a jackass from sunup until sundown for so many years he couldn't count. They weren't much on education either with all, I believe, of the nine kids in the family dropping out of school and the girls, I think, marrying while in their mid to late teens. None ever divorced either. Daddy said he never had a 'real' toothbrush until he joined the service when he was 17. (He made them from a twig of a specific tree branch by flaring and separating one end to act as bristles. He showed us how he did it on one visit to see Grandma.)Grandma and Grandpa, Mary Jane Gibson Ledford and Mark Ledford ---Hard working people, maybe in early 40's?In talking to Rex and his wife Marie after reading the book, Rex said that they saw the movie Tobacco Road and Grandma and Grandpa’s life and those of the nine kids (Daddy being the seventh, Rex’s Dad the oldest) wasn't much different than the Lester’s life as portrayed in the movie. Hummm, was my only response. Daddy’s great grandfather (can't recall how many greats) in the early 1700’s came to America from Lancashire, England, a farming area in northwest U. K. He, John, was 15 and came with two older brothers. At the time many immigrants got passage to America as indentured servants. John farmed for the boat/plantation owner for seven years and was a free man at age 22. No surprise that he farmed for his service. Me and my brother on Grandma’s porch looking like we fit in, barefoot, of courseWhen we visited Grandma, Grandpa and our aunts, uncles and cousins, they thought we were rich because we lived in Florida. They thought anyone who lived in Florida had to be rich. We look rich, huh?How My Family and My GR Friend Jeff Keeten's Family May Have Fit TogetherIn some specific reviews my friend Jeff Keeten has written that his cousin, in researching their family, found their linage includes the Royal Dynasty of the House of Plantagenet. My response has been jokingly “my kinfolk were outside your castle in the rain planting, then picking and pulling food from the ground to place on the table of your family. I said it tongue-in-cheek. As a joke, you know and now it doesn't seem too far-fetched. Huh? Jeff? :D Wish I had read this many years ago, however it's unlikely I would have much family background which made me relate to the book more than I probably would otherwise. And no, you don't have to have itinerant farmers as relatives to praise the excellent historical writing of Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell, in my mind, a classic.

  • Margitte
    2019-03-30 00:44

    BLURB"Set during the Depression in the depleted farmlands surrounding Augusta, Georgia, Tobacco Road was first published in 1932. It is the story of the Lesters, a family of white sharecroppers so destitute that most of their creditors have given up on them. Debased by poverty to an elemental state of ignorance and selfishness, the Lesters are preoccupied by their hunger, sexual longings, and fear that they will someday descend to a lower rung on the social ladder than the black families who live near them."COMMENTJeeter Lester could have moved away to the cotton mills, like everybody else, when the soil was so depleted of nutrition that neither tobacco nor cotton could grow in it anymore. But Jeeter was a man of the land. He would rather dream of trying to plant a cotton crop than go to Heaven. He was made to farm. He couldn't farm, due to his financial situation, but he was a religious man. God would provide, even if Jeeter sometimes had to steal sweet potatoes and turnips from the neighboring places, or even rob his son-in-law, until there was nothing left to steal. Ada, his wife, needed snuff to kill the hunger pains. He was unable to provide that. Neither could he buy her a decent dress to die in one day. Not that it was a priority for the head of the family. His needs came first, and he was not going to die and have the mice eat half his face away in his coffin, like it happened with his father. No, he had clear instructions on how he was to be handled when his time would come. Ada would just have to wait her turn.He was a very sinful man. Probably the most sinful man in the country, he claims, with some of the neighboring children bearing his resemblance, and the new couple who moved in years ago ...Ada did not want him to finish his sentences, when he got this excited about his legacy. Seventeen legitimate children born by Ada later, with twelve surviving, he was a man who knew how to plant seed and let them grow. He did not see any other future for himself or his land, than planting as much seed in any way he could. That is God's plan for a man like Jeeter Lester.Occassionaly his conscience would remind him of his sins. Fortunately, there was neighbors like, Bessie, who could save his soul.“The Lord told me to come to the Lester house,” the woman preacher said. “I was at home sweeping out the kitchen when He came to me and said, ‘Sister Bessie, Jeeter Lester is doing something evil. You go to his place and pray for him right now before it’s too late, and try to make him give up his evil goings-on.’ I looked right back at the Lord, and said, ‘Lord, Jeeter Lester is a powerful sinful man, but I’ll pray for him until the devil goes clear back to hell.’ That’s what I told Him, and here I is. I came to pray for you and yours, Jeeter Lester. Maybe it ain’t too late yet to get on the good side of the Lord. It’s people like you who ought to be good, instead of letting the devil make you do all sorts of sinful things.” “I knowed the good Lord wouldn’t let me slip and fall in the devil’s hands!” Jeeter shouted, dancing around Bessie’s chair. “I knowed it! I knowed it! I always been on God’s side, even when things was the blackest, and I knowed He’d jerk me out of hell before it was too late. I ain’t no sinner by nature, Sister Bessie. It’s just the old devil who’s always hounding me to do a little something bad. But I ain’t going to do it. I want to go to heaven when I die.” Shocking, graphic, heartbreaking, bleak, often humorous, in a brilliant way. I can clearly see why Erskine Caldwell is regarded as a literary giant in the American psyche. He not only captured a situation completely with his observational and journalistic skills, in his graphic realism, but he also captured the heart and souls of the people he exposed to the world in their own language. I couldn't decide if the dire poverty and destitution could be termed a tragicomedy or not. There was singular moments in which only humor could deflate a situation, but the underlining message was a tragic one. In other instances I was shocked to the core with the cold, inhumane actions of the family members who have lost their sense of dignity and compassion a generation or two ago.Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt had the same effect on me than this book. I laughed and cried simultaneously. Nobody or nothing in the book endeared me to the situation. Yet, I could not help but keep on reading, hoping that something good will happen for the family. The author, in an almost cold calculating voice and graphic detail, described the lives of the Lester family; the situation of dehumanized paupers, the sharecroppers, living on the isolated back-roads of America. He meticulously painted the harsh realities of life in the American South during the Great Depression. But behind the ruthless exposure, hides the compassionate soul of someone who deeply cared and wanted their story told as part of the social history of a country. These people were exploited to the last quarter in their pocket by the affluent members of society. The Lesters, and all the hundreds of families like them, were regarded as the scavengers of humanity. Yet, he managed to give them a warm, endearing voice in which to tell their stories themselves.The author clearly was way ahead in his thinking and wrote his stories for many generations later to appreciate and understand. During his own lifetime he was not appreciated. "His first two books, Tobacco Road (1932) and God’s Little Acre (1933), made Caldwell famous, but this was not initially due to their literary merit. Both novels depict the South as beset by racism, ignorance, cruelty, and deep social inequalities. They also contain scenes of sex and violence that were graphic for the time. Both books were banned from public libraries and other venues, especially in the South. Caldwell was prosecuted for obscenity, though exonerated."It takes a few hours to spend with a family like the Lesters, reading their story. It takes a lifetime to appreciate the message behind it.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

  • Melanie Hierholzer
    2019-03-25 00:51

    I am amazed that so many people on this website just did not get this book. Perhaps it has to do with their innate feelings about people from the South. Maybe they should look to own their prejudices.This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. While there were certain humorous passages, I did not find this book in the least bit funny, and I cannot understand the thinking of anyone who did.The Lesters were a family who were caught up in the end of an era - the era of sharecropping, brought on by a sea change in farming practices and the Depression (anyone see any parallels here?). Yes, they were ignorant, but that is not to say they were stupid. They were facing the real possibility of starvation because the only life they had ever known had been taken away from them. They were desperate and concerned only with survival.Of course they made silly choices, but they were aided in this by unscrupulous people such as the Captain, the car salesman, and the "hotel" manager. They did not know any better and were taken advantage of because of it. I found Jeter Lester to be an unsympathetic character for the most part, until the very end, when Lov gave a kind of eulogy about people who love the land and what they expect from it. This passage gave me a better understanding of Jeter and I read it over and over again. Jeter had had the ambition and life beaten out of him by the breakdown of the only system he had ever known and the final betrayal was that of the land itself.Altruism and high moral standards come easily in a wealthy society. This book points out what can happen to the people who are left behind.

  • Scot
    2019-04-11 03:28

    Once considered a classic of American literature, but rarely read today, I suspect, unless it is assigned, Tobacco Road is the remarkable story of the antics and tribulations of a destitute white trash family, the Lesters, written by Erskine Caldwell, and was later adapted into a play that was popular in the 1930s, and then adapted again to film by Nunnally Johnson in 1941. First published in 1932, it was followed the next year by Caldwell's other great work on poor whites in the South, God's Little Acre, which also went from play form to eventually become a film in 1958, including in its cast Buddy Hackett, Tina Louise, and a young Michael Landon. Warning: this is a book most people will dislike, yet some people might find hilarious, because of the way it portrays poor southern whites in Georgia during the Great Depression. Do not read this if you are looking for something frivolous, or characters you can readily identify with. The characters are coarse and earthy, the bawdiness is truly remarkable for a work of serious literature in that period, and the reader should prepare to be shocked, or at least respond somewhere on the range from mildly to severely disgusted from time to time. Why, then, would I give it five stars? Because, as Faulkner pointed out, Caldwell certainly has a knack for writing. I was drawn into the story and was compelled to learn what happened next. I also am fascinated by the fact that many people found this work so funny and entertaining then--it is a damning portrayal not only of the characters in the text, but on some levels, of the class sensibilities and lack of compassion in the entertained readers as well. (I don't mean to sound pompous or self-righteous here in judging them--truth be told, part of my revulsion was expressed with mixtures of chuckles and gasps as I read on, mesmerized by Caldwell's story-conveying ability.) The characters are caricatures, pathetic human beings, shiftless, lazy, and incredibly selfish. Yet there is a sense of overarching tragedy here as well, connected to the loss of arable land. And as a historical artifact, we can look here for significant antecedents of some powerful stereotypes about white trash that circulate in our society today, stereotypes widely propagated by the Jerry Springer Show and that live on through several reality shows currently airing on Viacom channels.

  • Sue
    2019-04-04 00:49

    Such a harsh story of hard times in a hard place. Though the Lesters definitely appear to be more a type than a real family (in fact no one seems particularly real) rural poverty certainly was (and still is) real. There are many messages here about the loss of land, the state of tenant farmers, etc, but there are also messages about personal responsibility.I have seen Tobacco Road labeled as satire -- and I wondered given the degree of realism present. But then I think of Granny behind the chinaberry trees, Pearl with the almost unnaturally beautiful blond hair, Bessie the lustful preacher woman with "the face" no one can abide, and lastly the car -- the object that both embodies so much emotion and is the "vehicle" for so much pain and evil. So I guess satire is there after all.Caldwell occasionally steps somewhat clumsily into the narrative to discuss his message more boldly. Otherwise he lets the story provide the details of the rich in power, tenant farmers set loose with nothing, the land being lost to poor use practices over generations.While I agree that government and ownership policy were long to blame, I also find individual actions (or inactions) very much at fault and Caldwell seems to point to that also. But isn't that the problem in much of life -- the complexity of much of life -- which requires us to think beyond easy solutions or quick fixes. Jeeter planned the same action every year with every year the same non-result. Caldwell would lile us to look further, I believe.

  • Diane Barnes
    2019-04-01 03:35

    A quick read but not an easy read. I have no idea how to do a review of this book. First thing is to categorize it in my mind.Tragedy? Too many comic moments in this book for that.Comedy? Likewise, too much tragedy to give it that.Love story? Not unless you count Lov's love of Pearl's yellow hair curling down her back.Documentary? Hmmmmm.......Okay, that's not going to work. Let's try this - just exactly what was Caldwell trying to say about these people? Did he love them or hate them? Was he making fun of their ignorance, or making excuses for it? And for that matter, were they really that ignorant and unfeeling, or had poverty and hunger just taken everything away from them? Lester Jeeter also had a love/hate relationship with God, blaming him for every bad thing that happened, apparently never hearing the adage "God helps those who help themselves." What was Caldwell trying to say there? Was he making fun of religion, or using it to justify poor people's reliance on it?Maybe that is the brilliance (and it is brilliant) of this short tale of a few days with the Lesters. You don't really know what to think, but you continue to try long after having finished.

  • Duane
    2019-04-20 22:37

    Quote from Slate critic Dwight Garner: "Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road is a greasy hairball of a novel; one of the sickest and most lurid books to have emerged from the literature of the South". I can't disagree because it contains derogatory slurs against African Americans, women, the elderly, people with disabilities. There are references to incest, prostitution, child marriage. Well, you get the idea. Yet you can find this novel on several lists of best novels of the 20th century.The people from that part of Georgia, around Augusta, despise Caldwell for his portrayal of the locals. But Caldwell wasn't trying to be sensationalist or funny. He believed he was calling attention to the plight of these dirt poor tenant farmers during the Great Depression. What it does call attention to is ignorance, the effect of zero education, of inbreeding, of exploitation of the poor by...well, by everyone. It's hard to read, hard to listen to the words of ignorance and prejudice, but I believe these people existed, and I think some of their descendants are still trying to pull themselves out of that dark abyss.

  • Richard Derus
    2019-03-23 22:39

    Book Circle Reads 148Rating: 3* of fiveThe Publisher Says: University of Georgia Press's sales copy--Set during the Depression in the depleted farmlands surrounding Augusta, Georgia, Tobacco Road was first published in 1932. It is the story of the Lesters, a family of white sharecroppers so destitute that most of their creditors have given up on them. Debased by poverty to an elemental state of ignorance and selfishness, the Lesters are preoccupied by their hunger, sexual longings, and fear that they will someday descend to a lower rung on the social ladder than the black families who live near them.My Review: Ye gods and little fishes! Talk about "been down so long it looks like up to me!"A shockingly honest book when it was published in 1932, it's still a picture that comparatively rich urban Americans need to see. The details have changed only a little in 80 years. This kind of poverty not only still exists, but these horrific racial prejudices do too. Read Knockemstiff and The Galaxie and Other Rides and American Salvage for the modern-day honest storytellers mining the same vein of American life. Winter's Bone is its direct descendant! So many of the works I've labeled hillbilly noir...and this is the granddaddy of 'em all. I loved the fact that it was so grim when I first read it as an angry, angsty teen, and it still, or again, aroused my loathing and ire when re-read last year at 52.I can't remember not thinking that people were vile, irredeemable scum, and reading books like this taught me I wasn't the first to have this insight. Even the best are brought low by the vicious kicks of a merciless gawd. They keep going to church, though, to get kicked again...ultimately the solace of "at least we're not black" (though they use the other word I can't stand even to type) isn't enough to overcome the characters' various phobias and anxieties.This won't make sense to someone who hasn't read the book, and will if one does read or has read it, but constitutes no spoiler: GO RATS!! Sic 'em!A megaton of misery detonating in your brain, leaving craters a mile wide for compassion to leak out of.

  • Howard
    2019-04-20 02:54

    Second Reading.Nathaniel Rich writes on "The Daily Beast" website, "As a comedy, Tobacco Road is a modest failure; as a tragedy, it is an abject failure" and that the novel is "as indelible as a freak show or car crash." Dwight Garner on the "Slate" website called it "a greasy hairball of a of the sickest and most lurid books to have emerged from the literature of the American South." Both writers, however, proceed to give the novel a generally positive review. Their conflicted response is typical of both critics and readers. Experts, however, have ranked it as one of the hundred most significant novels written in English in the 20th century. And, especially after its success as a Broadway play, the novel eventually sold ten million copies.Rich goes on to say that Erskine Caldwell is a "progenitor of what could be called the degenerate school of American fiction," which I suppose could be called a subgenre of the so-called grit-lit genre. At any rate, it seems that a straight line can be drawn from Caldwell to writers such as Harry Crews, who also attempted to combine tragedy and comedy in their novels.Tobacco Road, published in 1932, was meant to be a work of social protest, a condemnation of poverty among the poor whites of the Deep South. John Steinbeck wrote about some of the same issues a few years later in The Grapes of Wrath. But it is only on the surface that the two books are similar. Unlike Steinbeck, Caldwell refused to resort to sentimentality or to imbue his characters with any degree of dignity in coping with their suffering. Other than poverty and being dispossessed of their land, Caldwell's Lesters share very little in common with Steinbeck's Joads. Most readers, and I include myself, struggle with Caldwell's depiction of the Lesters as being "ignorant, selfish, crude, sexually promiscuous, indecent, but also comic figures." Caldwell seems to simultaneously sympathize with his characters while at the same time maintaining a disdainful attitude toward them. The book is a call for social action to combat poverty, but one that provides no solutions.Caldwell claimed that he wrote the novel as "a rebuke of the perfumed 'moonlight and magnolias' literature of the South." Well, it was that.And there is this, too: it was edited by Maxwell Perkins; William Faulkner and Malcolm Cowley admired the book; and Saul Bellow thought Caldwell should have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

  • FotisK
    2019-04-04 03:32

    Βραδυφλεγές και απόλυτα ελεγχόμενο βιβλίο τα "Καπνοτόπια" προχωρά με αργούς ρυθμούς, αφαιρώντας εκ προθέσεως τα όποια λογοτεχνικά στολίδια σε βαθμό κουραστικό αλλά άκρως ρεαλιστικό, προκειμένου σταδιακά να σκιαγραφήσει μια απόλυτα πεσιμιστική ατμόσφαιρα. Η φρίκη εδώ δεν κρύβεται στις τελούμενες πράξεις -και ας είναι σκληρές και οδυνηρές για τις αισθήσεις μας-, αλλά στην αταραξία με την οποία αντιμετωπίζουν οι ήρωες όσα ενσκήπτουν καθημερινά, σταθερά, με το ρυθμό της ανατολής και της δύσης του ηλίου ή καλύτερα με εκείνον της σοδειάς του καπνού που στον "κύκλο" του ζουν και πεθαίνουν -με κτηνώδη απουσία ενσυναίσθησης - τα αποκαΐδια της ζωής. Δεν είναι το κόκκινο ή -βεβαίως- το μαύρο το χρώμα του θανάτου, αλλά το λευκό. Θεωρούμενο ως απουσία, ως ατέρμονη ακαμψία ανθρώπινων ζωών που "αλέθονται" στη "μυλόπετρα" της ιστορίας, αθύρματα καταστάσεων των οποίων το νόημα εσαεί τους διαφεύγει. Η αρρώστια, τα γηρατειά, ο θάνατος -βίαιος ή φυσικός- δεν αποτελεί παρά μία ακόμα στιγμή στο λευκό τοπίο του Limbo, όπου έχουν για πάντα μετοικίσει οι ήρωες του βιβλίου. Μέχρι τέλους, τα πρόσωπα του δράματος (τόσο "αφυδατωμένα" από αισθήματα και ανθρώπινη ουσία που δύσκολα χαρακτηρίζονται "τραγικά") αγωνίζονται όχι για να ξεπεράσουν τη δεινή κατάσταση στην οποία έχουν περιέλθει, αλλά για να επαναλάβουν την ίδια ακριβώς πορεία που τους οδηγεί στον όλεθρο "δειλοί, μοιραίοι και άβουλοι αντάμα". Αλλά το θαύμα που προσμένουν δεν θα προκύψει για να τους σώσει από τον εαυτό τους και το τέλος δεν είναι παρά μια ακόμα επανάληψη της αρχής. (Διαβάστηκε το καλοκαίρι του 2017)

  • sappho_reader
    2019-04-08 19:28

    Brutal. Horrific. Terrifying.Tobacco Road has haunted me for days. The characters and their shenanigans have permeated my subconscious. I cannot help but dwell on it even when I am not actively reading.Jeeter Lester and his family are unforgettable. They live in rural Georgia during the height of the Great Depression and practically starving to death on their sharecropper cotton farm. The men are amoral, ruthless, and liars. The women have physical deformities and are just as mean-spirited. It is an unpleasant story to be sure.Erskine Caldwell aims to take the reader out of their comfort zone into unknown territory. He wanted to challenge us. And he succeeded. Many scenes were filled with cruel images.This is not a simple tale. There are complex layers that kept me thinking and thinking. The social injustice issues of the 1930's, the racial hatreds, the war between rich and poor, and the role of evangelical religion among the poor.But despite all this there are hints of humor within the bleak landscapes and several times I couldn't help but laugh. A strange paradox.Caldwell highlighted the cruelty of humanity and many will not like it one bit. Read at your own risk.

  • Chrissie
    2019-03-24 02:30

    Read the GR book description one more time:"Set during the Depression in the depleted farmlands surrounding Augusta, Georgia, Tobacco Road was first published in 1932. It is the story of the Lesters, a family of white sharecroppers so destitute that most of their creditors have given up on them. Debased by poverty to an elemental state of ignorance and selfishness, the Lesters are preoccupied by their hunger, sexual longings,and fear that they will someday descend to a lower rung on the social ladder than the black families who live near them."I have underlined what I question. Does poverty do that to the extent that it is drawn in this book? I do not equate poverty with stupidity. The Lesters had seventeen kids. Five died. When the novel begins only two (Dude and Ellie May, an eighteen-year-old with an extremely ugly cleft lip) remain still at home with mom (Ada), dad (Jeeter) and grandma. The son Dude who is sixteen gets married to a women preacher named Bessie Rice. She is thirty-nine. She has a deformed face. These six individuals and a few others are drawn as imbeciles, as animals, as depraved, crude human beings. Religion is used as an excuse - for laziness, for doing nothing, for accepting fate. The only sign of hope are the ten children who have left. Little is known or said about them. The little that is said draws them too as unforgiving, cruel and uncompassionate individuals.Is Caldwell criticizing society, which provided no help, OR the individuals for letting themselves fall to such a low level? One feels no sympathy for any character. Their behavior makes this impossible. I don't quite know what the author is trying to say. Yes, poverty destroys, but these individuals need not have fallen so low. So who is at fault?The audiobook narration by John MacDonald is good. The intonation matches the language of these uneducated, poor, depraved souls. Of course the dialog is filled with grammatical errors. Reading this book will sicken and shock you. The book holds together. There is nothing wrong with the writing, but what is the author saying? ****************************Lucille, a GR member has given me some interesting articles about Caldwell: first link relates Caldwell's writing to the prevalent theories of eugenics in the 1930s.The second link gives general information about the novel, Caldwell's writing and further reading sources. The third link names the people Caldwell based his characters on.The fourth link considers humor and Caldwell's writing. I do not agree with all views expressed but I found the articles interesting.

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-04-21 02:51

    What is primary: poverty or depravity? Actually, it is a vicious circle – poverty aggravates depravity and depravity exacerbates poverty until a human being has been reduced practically to the animal state. And then a man continues to live ruled by primitive instincts and physiological needs.“When his father died, what was left of the Lester lands and debts was willed to Jeeter. The first thing that happened was the foreclosure of the mortgage. In order to satisfy the creditors, all the timber was cut, and another large portion of the land was sold. Two years later Jeeter found himself so heavily in debt that he did not own a single acre of land, or even a tenant house, after the claims had been settled. The man who purchased the farm at the sheriff’s sale was Captain John Harmon. Captain John allowed Jeeter and his family to live in one of the houses, and to work for him on shares. That was ten years before the World War.From that time forward, Jeeter had sunk each year into a poverty more bitter than that of the year before. The culmination had apparently been reached when Captain John sold the mules and other stock and moved to Augusta. There was then to be no more two-thirds’ share of a year’s labor coming to Jeeter, and there was never again to be credit for food and snuff and other necessities at the stores in Fuller. With him, Captain John took his credit. Jeeter did not know what to do. Without snuff and food, life seemed not worth living any longer.”And Erskine Caldwell specialized in portraying exactly this kind of living and was a great expert of human miseries. And Tobacco Road is one of the most effective trips to the bottom of human existence.Once a man starts falling into an abyss, there is no way to stop…

  • Travelin
    2019-04-01 21:53

    Erskine Caldwell was the son of a Presbyterian minister. It seems his Caldwell ancestors hailed from an area where one of my Caldwell ancestors came from, although the two families appear to have been unrelated. As a good Presyberian, Erskine Caldwell couldn't help moralizing about personal responsibility, waste and lasciviousness, even if it was 3 years into the Great Depression. But as a rain-hardened Celt, a certain part of him seemed to be enjoying the craic. It struck me quite forcefully in the first chapters that I would be enjoying this humourous and mildly sarcastic send-up of self-destroying do-nothings far more than Angela's Ashes, which seemed like suffering without the benefit of 50 years hindsight.The humour goes a long way in explaining how anyone as selfish as Jeeter Lester could make an entertaining and even sympathetic protagonist. Jeeter is at times brutally efficient, when it comes to denying food to his starving mother or assessing the marriage prospects of his daughter with a cleft palate. This is an ugly human being. The brutal, self-centred, but pleasure-loving assessment of other people plays out like a very funny home movie. I wouldn't be surprised if "The Beverley Hillbillies" and their car got some inspiration from these miserable, hilarious equivalents. Some of Jeeter's sexcapades would seem beyond rational possibility, except that a few modern Facebook sites from Ireland and England are so reminiscent of those intrusive sex jokes and motivations.Caldwell makes these idiots sound sympathetic. But he does it without using The Great Depression as an excuse. He returns time and again to Jeeter's "love of the land" as his only reason for not making money in the cotton mills, as everyone else does. Really, the cotton mills were booming during The Great Depression? Possibly like a good Presbyterian preaching to the holier-than-thou, Caldwell isn't accepting grand excuses or, generally speaking, personal failure. Caldwell even goes so far as to suggest that none of the cotton farmers knew the basics of farming, and ended up burning down the trees on unproductive land every year, just because burning the land was simply tradition. I'm not sure I have time to research whether such burnings helped fertilize the fields, but was this minister's son turned comedy writer also a farmer to die for?The saddest lesson of the book is the effect of deprivation on families. It seems that Caldwell concluded that Jeeter was simply wicked at story's end, but that he and his family became sympathetic because forces greater than them but less than God had turned their people against each other, in the most brutally possible way.

  • Connie
    2019-04-15 01:49

    "Tobacco Road", written in 1932 in the tough years of the Great Depression, portrays a dirt poor white sharecropper and his family in Georgia. The Lesters have lived on the land for many generations, first growing tobacco and later cotton, until the land was depleted of nutrients. They have no money for seed and fertilizer, and even worse, no money for food.Their older children have left the family to work in the mills in the city. But Jeeter Lester feels tied to the land, and refuses to look for work in the city. Jetter has been cheated by loan sharks in the past who have charged him high interest rates to borrow money, so he won't go that route again. The family is portrayed as hopeless and illiterate with their life reduced to basic longings for food and sex. They have no ambition and just hope that God will provide, unwilling to change as the world moves on. The women are just expected to do whatever the men decide. The family members seem to be overly exaggerated stereotypes of the poor.The book often reads like a black comedy, especially when it deals with death. Nobody seems to care when Grandmother Lester and a black man are hit by a car in separate incidents. But the horrible events are part of a comic story about a young man who pays more attention to honking the car horn than watching where he is driving. There is also a flashback when a corpse is attacked by a rat, but it is also wrapped up in a humorous story. Caldwell also shows the hard life of the physically deformed, but they are portrayed as oversexed grotesque characters. Bessie spends all her money on a car to attract a man, but has no cash to fix a leaking roof or buy food.Caldwell seems to be calling our attention to unwise agricultural practices, financial inequities, and the plight of the poor in the years before the government provided some kind of financial safety net. But the Lesters are such unmotivated, uncaring, unlikable people that it's hard to feel too much sympathy for that particular family.3.5 stars

  • Trudi
    2019-03-28 22:38

    This was a tough one to get through. Almost too raw for me, especially that end scene with the grandmother and the family's treatment of her. I was extremely disturbed by some scenes and almost hoped Caldwell meant this to be a parody of harsh, destitute country life. But no. Whereas Steinbeck illuminates our humanity, painting portraits of human dignity and courage in the face of unspeakable tragedy, Caldwell zeros in on our baser natures. The characters of Tobacco Road are cruel, vicious beings driven solely by primitive urges. There is no humanity, and certainly no dignity. The whole book depressed me, but maybe I'm missing the point.

  • Megan
    2019-04-13 03:50

    Tobacco Road is the quintessential hillbilly book. First published in 1922, this book has no doubt shaped this country’s view of rednecks everywhere. Erm… really I want to write more about this but…The thing is, author Erskine Caldwell apparently meant for this book to be a true portrayal of life amongst poverty stricken people in the rural South. But it is easy to see why so many people mistook Tobacco Road as a comedy. We are introduced to a few members of the Lester family; Jeter, Ada, Ellie May, Dude, the old grandmother. We also meet neighbors Lov and Sister Bessie. (Even their names scream poor white trash, right?) We see them act out their frustrations, hampered by their ignorance, driven by sexual urges… but throughout, we never really learn the motivation for their actions. Listening to the audio version of Tobacco Road made me feel as if I were watching a play. That is, the book is filled with a lot of dialogue and a little action. But nearly no inner monologue. Therefore I was left to guess at the reasons behind the Lester’s inexplicable behavior. The few encounters this family has with, well regular people, they are laughed at and taken advantage of… it is easy to see readers doing the same. It’s a shame. This story is absorbing. The characters complex… I assume. Unfortunately Caldwell left their complexity up to the imagination of the reader. I would love to know more about this family, what makes them tick, and how they feel about themselves, their lives and each other. I can’t help wishing Tobacco Road was as enjoyable as favorites by Flannery O'Connor or Eugene O'Neill. Unfortunately, Caldwell’s writing lacks the depth that could have made this story truly fantastic and meaningful.

  • Jim
    2019-04-06 02:49

    I get a bit on the uncomfortable side when I read a book like this. I get the same feeling I used to get when I used to watch one of the Ma and Pa Kettle movies or the Beverly Hillbillies ...I get a squirming sense of embarrassment on behalf of the characters who know very well the stigma associated with poverty. It's as if you must be defective in some way because you have not thrived as others have; you have not kept up with the times. Some people have claimed that this book portrays the American South in a negative way. I can't agree with that...I think it portrays Jeeter Lester in a negative way, and deservedly so. When your own wife is happy that your daughter was born with a harelip so you won't be sexually attracted to her, you know you have problems! Jeeter is a shiftless layabout squatting on land that once belonged to his ancestors but was frittered away through years of misfortune and indolence. He and his wife Ada have raised a passel of young' uns, most of whom flew the Lester coop in search of greener pastures. It is significant that they never return or make contact with their parents. Remaining in the Lester coop are the misinformed and the malformed: Ellie May with her harelip and her brother Dude. Dude would need to get half a brain in order to qualify as a halfwit. Sister Pearl, the looker of the family, was married off at an early age to a yokel with a job. There is reason to suspect that Pearl was sired on Ada by some party passing through, and this would account for her attractiveness.As the tale unwinds, it becomes obvious that the Lesters are in their plight thanks to Jeeter, a stupid, shiftless scheming man. His reluctance to leave the ancestral land he no longer has the right to profit from will affect the lives of all who remain.I think that Erskine has perfectly captured the essence of destitution with no prospects. He portrays the disdain shown by the successful to those less fortunate, even while the former fleece the latter of what money they have. He shows the grasping, scheming nature of the impoverished, manoeuvring to turn an acquaintanceship to personal advantage through loan or theft. Not least, he shows the utter hopelessness of the women who are basically the chattel of the protagonist; they share his future while having done nothing to deserve it.I could hardly put this down once I got started on it. Parts of it made me cringe at distant memories, but I wouldn't rate the book as perfect. I would have liked to have seen Caldwell get into Ada's head a bit more, maybe have her articulate a bit about how her spirit was crushed after vowing to be Jeeter's wife through eternity.

  • Camie
    2019-03-31 20:40

    The story of the Lester's a 'white trash' family who lived on Tobacco Road in Augusta, Georgia during the Great Depression . It focuses around Jeeter the father, who appears amazingly indifferent towards his family ( including the 15 of 17 children who have already fled the poverty and devastation of the place ) Was he always like this or has the need to survive made him this way ? At times Jeeter is forced to stoop pretty low to try and sustain what's left of the family ( marrying off his 12 year old daughter) etc. but he's not a completely unlikeable guy. I liked the second 1/2 of the book better as I started to understand that the frequent repetition of some sentences served to show us the helplessness of the situation. Everyday Jeeter would wake up with a goal or destination to change the situation, and everyday it would go undone. Mostly he thinks about plowing a field, and planting some cottonseed and guano. We hear about it a lot , a real lot , because If only he could bring in a crop everything might be okay. Of course it never gets done, but is it lack of inertia( laziness), lack of hope or lack of means ( or all three) that keeps them stuck living in this terrible existence . When someone finally manages to have some money, the starving people buy a new car. Of course they have their reasons, but the car becomes a metaphor for their lives , as within a short time they have completely destroyed it, while saying with each new dent or ding , that it is still okay because the car in still running ( mostly) but finally ending up right back where they started . Still Jeeter daily pins his hopes on that never to be planted field, and I finished this book wondering if the whole theme was about hopelessness or hope ??? 3.5 stars. This is a book I wish I could have read as a homework group. It's one of those short seemingly simple books, but you know there's much more there. I did read it for an online club , I'll be watching for other's reviews.

  • Laura
    2019-04-14 20:41

    Just not feeling this book. At times I thought this book was a comedy act. Is it possible that these people would continue to starve instead of actually doing something about working?! I don't blame the children for leaving that life behind. Nothing was changing and it wasn't "life's greatest mystery" as to why they never had anything. Poverty and starvation are no laughing matters but when you do nothing to make a go of it, that's wrong. Also, two lives were lost due to car accidents caused by the same character and one was a family member living in the house with them and nothing was done. Hmmm, who is the heartless one in this scenario. This seems like more than ignorance to me.

  • Stela
    2019-04-22 00:25

    Beyond Humanity…Some considered Tobacco Road a pulp novel. Others said it is a failure either as a comedy or a tragedy. And of course, the entire South rejected it indignantly (but didn’t they do the same with Faulkner?) on the grounds of image denigration. With all these more or less accurate descriptions, what made writers like Faulkner or Saul Bellow prize the book, moreover, why is it included in Modern Library's list of the Best 100 Novels in the English Language and, finally, how come is it, even after almost a century, still readable?Maybe it is so because it belongs to a confusing, fascinating and rather underrated aesthetic category – the grotesque. That grotesque linked with satire and tragi-comedy (hence the impression of failing both), which generates characters the reader is both pitiful of and disgusted by, in a narrative that aims to disrupt the sense of normalcy through exaggeration and distortion in order to shock the reader out of any conventional meaning.Not so far from what was called the Southern Gothic, nor from the neo-realism Caldwell wanted his novel classified as, Tobacco Road tells the Lesters’ story, which fulfills almost all the criteria of a grotesque narrative. They are “white trash”, either physically or mentally deformed beings: Jeeter, with his plans he never accomplishes and who more than once tripped, fell and remained lying for several hours because he was too sluggish to get up, is a case of chronic, forlorn laziness; Dude, who accepts to get married to blow the horn of his wife’s car, is the typical halfwit; the grandmother, who remains stubbornly alive despite Jeeter’s wishes, is the dejected waif and the mirror of what Ada would have become if she had lived; and Ellie May with her harelip that repulses everybody is the pitiful monster.Primitive, cruel and loveless, the Lesters seem more like a pack of hungered wild dogs than a family and not even death will be able to redeem them. However, their low condition and poverty do not stir the readers’ pity, but rather a disgusted fascination that keeps them reading to learn how far dehumanization can go. And far it goes:At the time he had made a bargain with Jeeter about Pearl, he said he might consider taking Ellie May if Jeeter would take her to Augusta and get a doctor to sew up her mouth. Jeeter had thought the matter over thoroughly, and decided that it would be best to let Lov take Pearl, because the cost of sewing up the harelip would probably amount to more than he was getting out of the arrangement. Letting Lov take Pearl was then all clear profit to Jeeter, Lov had given him some quilts and nearly a gallon of cylinder oil, besides giving him all of a week's pay, which was seven dollars.On the other hand the abjection is so thorough that it gains some logic of its own, leading to explanations so absurd that they fall into the category of black, almost morbid humor:Lov said. "I'd have taken Ellie May at the start if it wasn't for that face of hers. But I knowed I couldn't sleep with no peace of mind at night with her in the bed with me, and knowing how it looked in the daylight."The novel is full of such nonsensical dialogues that border tragic and comic without really stepping into one of them, so that when you feel like laughing you also feel embarrassed of your mercilessness and keep wondering whether you are so far from their world as you would like to think. And this is maybe the most genial stroke of the grotesque: the demythologizing process without compensating, in order to cure humanity of all illusion of superiority.

  • Shaun
    2019-03-31 01:32

    Wow, this is a strange one, and oddly thought provoking.It seems to me this was meant to be a statement about social injustice, namely the mistreatment/dismissal of the poor. Often hard to stomach, Caldwell's cast are more caricatures than characters. Yet while the main character Jeeter Lester is perpetually lazy, immoral, and simple, I couldn't help but feel for the tragedy of his circumstances. For despite his faults, and there are many, the man has noble the end of the day, he simply wants to farm his land, earn a living, and continue on in the tradition of his family, except he doesn't have a chance against a progressive world that has no sympathy for his suffering, an indifferent world that is all to happy to send him off to the cotton mill, literally.The Lester family are like a seedy and depressing version of the Beverly Hillbilies before striking oil. Their life is a coupling of pathetic and perverse. Again...strange and at times ugly, but boy did it draw me in.Bottom line: as strange and ugly as this is, Caldwell brings it full circle and manages to drive his point home, making it all worth it, at least for me. I liked it. It was well written, the characters were well developed, albeit unsavory, and the message is clear and relevant even today.Would recommend to those who are willing to read past the ugliness and can get beyond the literal to the allegorical.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2019-04-20 21:38

    May I be honest? I'd forgotten this piece of......waste material, until I ran across it here. I had it on my shelf in paperback form back in the flaming days of my youth when anything supposedly "racy" will catch a young man's attention. Here's a secret. It's not racy, it's not daring and if it's accurate about some of the poverty in the south in it's era, it's purely by accident. I didn't bother to slog all the way through this book and I have no idea what happened to the copy from my shelves.Mr. Caldwell was somewhat controversial in his own day. Born in Georgia he "ticked off" others in the south with his "view" of the area.I'm from the south, I grew up on the western side of the Smokies. His view of the people of that part of the country as almost universally backward, grotesque, stupid (not just ignorant) and superstitious has been perpetuated in the popular view for years. There are people who are poor, have birth defects and get involved in cults or believe in ghosts in the south, as there are everywhere. These aren't the majority and ideally they should not be viewed as fodder for some writer's (or for that matter movie maker's) imagination or pocket book. The nonsense in this book is drawn from the worst examples, is misrepresented, and I felt not all that well done in any event. (Could I write as well? Maybe not in some sense, but I hope I can feed the spirit with more than despair.) I didn't finish it and mostly forgot it, till as I said I ran across it here. Not one of the best out there. Usually I simply recommend or don't recommend, in this case I'd recommend against. But it's up to you. By the way, I really don't pay much attention to who thinks what is among the best 100, 1000, or 1,000,000 books in the English language. I'm supposed to review it based on what I think. I don't find grotesque tragedy humorous, maybe a failing on my part. Maybe the book is written well in some sense. But I didn't chose to suffer through it and I don't plan to go back.

  • Lu
    2019-04-11 23:34

    Caldwell ha una capacità di scrittura così vivida e intensa che leggendo della miseria della famiglia Lester pare, al lettore, di odorare l'olezzo polveroso nel quale si ritrova a vivere. Leggendo pagina dopo pagina, viene quasi istintivo passare le mani sugli abiti per scrollare via di dosso la sabbia e lo sporco che infestano la lurida catapecchia dove Jeeter, Ada, Ellie May, Dude e la nonna dormono e cercano di non morir di fame. Il breve romanzo realista pubblicato nel 1932 vuole dipingere le condizioni di brutale inòpia in cui la famiglia Lester è rovinosamente caduta, in un profondo Sud in cui povertà, ottusità ed ignoranza spadroneggiano rendendo schiavi sia bianchi che neri, inchiodandoli ai loro degradanti destini. Caldwell usa uno stile chiaro, scorrevole, ma altresì diretto e crudo tanto da divenire grottesco e scioccante. E nelle ultime pagine è disarmante l'atteggiamento di Dude, unico figlio maschio rimasto accanto a Jeeter e Ada, vittima, come il padre, di una scarsa intelligenza che lo risucchia in quello stesso loop distruttivo nel quale Jeeter stagnava marcendo da tutta la sua misera vita.

  • Frederick
    2019-04-06 23:48

    This shocking book was published almost eighty years ago. I have deliberately not read any introductory material on it. Erskine Caldwell wrote a preface about twelve years after it came out and again in 1978. I'll read those introductions tomorrow, but I want to post some of my views. In the Goodreads group "The Rough South," I've posted my idea that this novel is about patriarchy denied. While I won't elaborate much, it being about 5:00 a.m. right now, I'll say that what strikes me as unusual in a book with a clear message about the redistribution of wealth is its insistence that a patriarchal society is a healthy one. In TOBACCO ROAD, the farmer around whom the action centers has been left to struggle on land which, two generations before, had been a source of tremendous prosperity. Nobody will help him any more and he refuses to work at the mill where other farmers, driven off their land, have gone.This story could easily have been written in the seventeen-hundreds in England. The main characters have the mindset of that time and place.Another unusual thing about this book is that its humor seems almost that of Li'l Abner or THE NATIONAL LAMPOON. It is merciless in its depiction of the depravity of the family at the center of the book. And yet, its very unsentimentality makes its appeal to charity all the more compelling. There are no mawkish detours a la Charles Dickens here. these characters are ugly and stay ugly in their apalling hardship, stubbornness and scheming. There is only one speech which even seems slightly contrived and it's a lot more graceful than the equivalent in a lot of American novels from the same era.

  • Tom Mathews
    2019-03-31 02:24

    I'm coming into this story with nothing more than the title and Caldwell's introduction to guide me as to what the story is about. I was immediately perplexed as to what Caldwell was trying to do. Was he trying to publicize the plight of the poor as Steinbeck did in The Grapes of Wrath or was he doing something else?Don't get me wrong. The book is very well written but I'm not sure of the author's intentions. Early on it became apparent that his portrayal of the Lester family is exaggerated to the point of being a caricature. You can call it a work of black comedy but, if so, it is still mean spirited. I can understand why people were offended when Tobacco Road was first published.

  • tai
    2019-04-19 21:45

    i know this is on the modern library's best 100 list, but i found it simply disturbing. it seems like we were meant to laugh at the horrible people doing stupid things and making disastrous decisions, but what's the fun in that? why write a book of it? on a good note, the character of ellie mae had captivating imagery. her blazing red split lip, pouring from her nostril; her always peering out from behind one or another chinaberry tree like some wild creature. the book isn't worth reading for this, though.

  • Seham Al-Mutairi .
    2019-03-23 03:30

    حاصد القطن كالدويل كان قد كتب:كان رجلاً يحب أن يُنبت بعض الأشياء في الأرض. والمصانع لا تصلح محلاً لرجل تجري تلك الرغبة القوية في دمائه. فالمصانع تشبه السيارات بعض الشبه، إنها صالحة لقضاء فترة من الوقت يلهو فيها الإنسان، لكنها لا تزوّده بالحُب الذي تغدقه الأرض عليه. فالأرض تسهر بشكل من الأشكال على مصلحة الناس الذين يُبقون أقدامهم فوقها. وحين يقف الناس طول الوقت على الألواح الخشبية المنصوبة في الابنية ويمشون في الشوارع المفروشة بالاسمنت فعندئذ تفقد الأرض اهتمامها بالإنسان.