East Of Eden by John SteinbeckEast Of Eden by John Steinbeck

East Of Eden

byJohn SteinbeckIntroduction byDavid Wyatt

Paperback | October 1, 1992

Pricing and Purchase Info

$22.24 online 
$24.00 list price save 7%
Earn 111 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


A masterpiece of Biblical scope, and the magnum opus of one of America’s most enduring authors

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.

The masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean and read by thousands as the book that brought Oprah’s Book Club back, East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.

This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by David Wyatt.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses un...
Title:East Of EdenFormat:PaperbackDimensions:640 pages, 7.72 × 5.02 × 1.09 inPublished:October 1, 1992Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140186395

ISBN - 13:9780140186390

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! I never read this in High School, and it was a bit of a random pick for me, but I am extremely happy that I chose it! Engaging story, and one of my favourite books this year! I picked up a second book of his right after reading this.
Date published: 2018-07-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Must read #plumreview no doubt a classic family saga story Steinbeck at his best
Date published: 2018-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Favourite book. Definitely read. I'd give it more stars if I could.
Date published: 2018-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love You have to read this masterpiece. Do not be afraid of the size/number of pages, it reads like a charm. Such a wonderful book. When people ask my favourite book I answer East of Eden or Frankenstein (or let them know both). I don't know, this book just has a special place in my heart.
Date published: 2018-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved this epic a fantastic read, one of my favourites - a literary saga following two families. I also tried the audiobook which is an astounding number of hours of listening to a book - do yourself a favor and buy a paper copy instead.
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific story A terrific story. The eternal, internal struggle between good and evil that every person has to endure throughout Life. The guilt of doing "bad"; the difficulty of doing "good". A lifelong struggle for us all. A wonderful family saga.
Date published: 2018-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it 3 times It's a cliche, really it is, but this is one of the books that changed my life. I first read it in my teens, and have read it another two times in my early twenties. The meaning of the story changed for me as I got older and I think it's a must read for everyone.
Date published: 2018-03-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Long but worth it! I was intimidated by the length of this book when I first purchased it. However, it's definitely worth dedicated your time to it.
Date published: 2017-12-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from OK Novel is very well written and ensures a connection between reader and character. Interesting read, but I found it quite lengthy and slow.
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Long, but worth it. Another beauty by Steinbeck. This book is long, but it draws you in. Well worth the read.
Date published: 2017-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Favourite Steinbeck This is my favourite book by Steinbeck. Really long but worth it. It is slow getting into it but it is well worth it. Very interesting characters. Check out the film East of Eden with James Dean after you are done reading the book.
Date published: 2017-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible An incredible tour-de-force
Date published: 2017-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from on the best books list this is a must read for everyone. the trick is to get through the first 1-2 chapters where he describes the Salinas valley in such detail that it's like watching paint dry. after that, i couldn't put it down... but it took me about a year to get there lol.
Date published: 2017-10-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not for me I was so looking forward to reading this book, especially since I loved Of Mice and Men. I don't know why, but I just found this to be so slow! I couldn't get into it at all, and it took me forever to read.
Date published: 2017-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Top 10 One of my top 10 books of all time.
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic A brilliant demonstration of literary skill -- epic in scope, yet emotionally intimate. A must read.
Date published: 2017-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Intriguing story with captivating characters
Date published: 2017-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't recommend it enough. Exciting, beautiful, captivating. Not at all what you expect it to be. It's an observation on classic nature v nurture, good v evil, but told in a way unparalleled by any other book I've read. Literally found myself wishing it was double the length just so it didn't have to end.
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent East of Eden is truly an American epic. It's well worth the read and the characters are all fleshed out and interesting.
Date published: 2017-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Beautifully written and i love the tie in to the familiar biblical story of Cain and Abel. John Steinbeck certainly puts an interesting spin on it and this is a worthwhile read for sure.
Date published: 2017-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic Epic tragedy of the lives of two families. Couldn't put it down
Date published: 2017-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it! Epic! Amazing book and definitely one of my favorites! This was the first Steinbeck novel I read and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of his works.
Date published: 2017-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorite books! Amazing book and definitely one of my favorites! This was the first Steinbeck novel I read and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of his works.
Date published: 2017-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! I loved reading this book. It's really well written kept me interested the entire way through. I highly highly recommend. Steinbeck is amazing!
Date published: 2017-04-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Epic! Steinbeck at his best! If you are a fan thisi a must!
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from my favourite book This is my favourite book, definitely a classic that I believe everyone should read. This edition is absolutely beautiful too. I love it.
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my most favorites This book will always be one of the best I have ever read. It is a bit tough to get through if you aren't used to the type of vocabulary used in this book, but stick with it - trust me. This book is worth the harder read and it will reward you in the end. Passages are beautiful.
Date published: 2017-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enlightening This book brings to life its characters and brings so much depth to biblical morality. It's one of my favourites, a must read. #plumreviews
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You will be a better person for reading this All you need to know about this book is "timshel" -- thou mayest.
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice Beautiful story of well crafted characters - as can be expected from Steinbeck. Excellently written and pulls you through the tale!
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't wait to read this! I started this book and I am loving it! So moving and I cannot wait to finish it!
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful. This is an incredibly emotionally involving book. I found myself going through the pages of this family saga as though I were reading a detective story. The characters are so well-realized and their story is so gripping. This is a truly wonderful read.
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from East of eden It stands the test of time. What a great book.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read #plumreview American classic as biblical allegory. Truly great.
Date published: 2016-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wish I could read it again for the first time The first chapter or so isn't very enticing. Steinbeck sets the scene with intricate details of the scenery of Salinas. This foundation becomes valuable later as the themes develop, but the book quickly becomes far more exciting and remains so until its end. I found this book to be a complete surprise. Such a unique, deep contemplation of such common themes. East of Eden is the kind of book that gives you the feeling of having gained insight into yourself.
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read You can never go wrong with a Steinbeck novel. An absolute must-read at least once in your life.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books ever! In life we meet so many people with different personalities and perspectives, but we don't often get to objectively observe how they have come to be such a way or have a certain view of life. "East of Eden" offers a way to do just that through a fictional narrative that features an unparalleled set of diverse and complex characters. Although some are ugly and evil, and others are beautiful and near sublime, all are human. Our families and social interactions shape us whether we like it or not, and some people overcome what they are given for different reasons, and for better or for worse. I encourage everyone to read this book as it will open your eyes to how various people absorb and interact with the world about them, fictional or not.
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stop looking and buy this book! You are still looking, go and buy it! This powerful story feels more like a myth than a novel. The religious imagery is intense in this inspired classic.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read! I can't say enough good things about this story, it's everything I look for in a book. Despite having being written in the 50's, Steinbeck's wisdom and ability to create fully rounded characters (like Samuel Hamilton, for example) are unsurpassed. Just read it and find out for yourself. It's worth ever minute.
Date published: 2015-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent read John Steinbeck remains one of my favourite authors. This book is such a wise journey, wrapping up lessons of a generation while keeping pace with a thrilling tale of love and loss. It's as timeless as the bible. I will read it again and again.
Date published: 2014-08-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was good 3.5 stars Adam and Charles are brothers who grew up in Connecticut, and are quite opposite. Under his father's pressure, Adam joins the army, but hates it. When he returns after wandering for a time, he marries, and leaves for California. Charles hates Cathy, Adam's new wife. There is something a little "off" about her. The remainder of the book focuses on Adam's life on a farm in California, including raising his twin sons, Cal and Aron, and his relationships with his neighbour, Sam Hamilton, and his employee, Lee, who helps run the household. It was good. I found some parts more interesting than others, especially those parts that focused on Cathy. I thought the characters were very well done.
Date published: 2012-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional This story takes place at the turn of century (1900) in Salinas, a mostly fertile valley in northern California. The story covers 2 families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks, and their trials and tribulations as farming neighbours. While one is a large, happy family, the other is infected with pure evil. Filled with murder, betrayal, and cover-ups and told through unforgettable characters, makes this story truly exceptional. East of Eden will take you into the darkest corners of the human mind and at the same time show our capacity for great love and unselfishness. Steinbeck’s talent as an outstanding story teller shines through in this unforgettable saga. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended.
Date published: 2012-02-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great The novel East of Eden is about the sides of good and evil in society, and the novels explores a great deal of themes such as depravity and love, to name a few. What is also quite interesting is that the novels has a great deal of parallels with the Book of Genesis, specifically Cain and Abel. It is certainly the magnus opus of John Steinbeck.
Date published: 2012-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gripping Read You can never go wrong with Steinbeck and this is one of his best works. It is gripping from beginning to end and impossible to put down, and a book that everyone should read at some point in their life.
Date published: 2012-01-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Philosophy of the East of Eden John Steinbeck’s East of Eden talks about who people really are inside- the good, the evil and all those in-between. In fact it was clear that one could not say for sure certain people were purely evil or good but there was a certain understanding why someone was someway. John Steinbeck took you into the heart and soul of each character so you could understand why people are the way they are. East of Eden is really a story about life-even if it doesn’t directly apply, the events in the book do not specifically happen to you, you can relate to each character because they are symbols of different people in our society. But the part the grabbed me the most was perhaps the most important part in the book. At the end of the book when Lee asks Adam to forgive his son Cal by saying his name before he dies of his stroke Adam speaks only one word: “Timshel!” and dies. Timshel is the Hebrew word for “Thou mayest.” It was discussed earlier about the translations of the fourth chapter of Genesis. The King James version has “thou shalt”, which was apromise that Cain would conquer sin. But the American standard bible had that part listed as “Do thou” which was an order. But it was discovered that it was “Thou mayest rule over sin,” which suggests choice because you may but you may not. At the end Leee asks Adam to forgive his son so his son does not have to carry the guilt of Aron’s death but all Adam says is ‘Timshel” which suggests to me that Adam is giving his son Cal a choice whenever or not he will forgive himself for it. This is a good book if you want to go deep into the philosophy of life.
Date published: 2010-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! A very touching story. This book could easily be considered a timeless classic.
Date published: 2010-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Best Books of All Time Why? Because there is next to no ego in the last book John Steinbeck ever wrote. You finish "East of Eden" and you remember the characters not the writer. You remember Lee, who is so selfless and good and wise; you remember the two sets of brothers, Adam and Charles, and Cal and Aron; and with a series of spinal shudders you find you cannot forget Cathy (or Catherine) who has to go down as one of the most sinister - and interesting - characters in all fiction. No tricks, no overly clever plot-twists or wordplays, this is just a straight-ahead, old-fashioned, fascinating story about the greatest biblical theme of them all: people's struggle with good and evil. But that's not all. It's so much more than that. [Ok, nerdy confession time:] I drew up a list of all the great themes "East of Eden" covers but have since scrapped it because Steinbeck does precisely that in the book's appropriately humble epigraph, delivered as a simple letter to a dear friend: "Dear Pat, You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, 'Why don't you make something for me?' I asked you what you wanted, and you said, 'A box.' 'What for?' 'To put things in.' 'What things?' 'Whatever you have,' you said. Well, here's your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts - the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation. And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you. And still the box is not full. John" What more need be said? -Probably Because I Have To
Date published: 2010-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging and addictive novel This is one of the best books I have read. I love the classics, but with few exceptions, am not usually crazy about the American classics. This book was really fantastic, written superbly makes you feel like you are a part of the story. I am glad I gave Steinbeck a chance. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2009-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing One of my favorite novels of all time. I enjoyed it much more than Grapes of Wrath, though that is not to say that it is better. The biggest difference in my eyes is that Grapes of Wrath starts slow and builds and builds in pedantic but wonderful prose, towards an unforgettable ending. East of Eden seems to do the opposite. The first half of the novel is full of wonderful stories that set the tone for the second half which is a bit slower and less exciting. Either way Steinbeck is a master of prose, and this is worth reading for anyone.
Date published: 2009-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really a great book It's difficult to describe what exactly this book is about, except to say that it tells a story of numerous characters whose lives are inter-twined with each other. Steinbeck is a master with his words at helping the reader really understand the intricate dimensions of the character. We are lead to appreciate that people are not one-dimensional being either good or evil, but complicated. This is probably the strength of this novel, and the story just lets us get to know the people.
Date published: 2008-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Classic Must Read I'm a little hesitant about some of Oprahs book club picks especially when they are considered classics but I was blown away by this book. I was interested in every word that was written and was disappointed when it ended. Everybody should read this book.
Date published: 2008-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding work After reading this wonderful cast of characters, I had to take a trip to the Salinas valley. I fell in love with John Steinbeck all over again. A gifted writer with so much to share. do yourself a favour and read this wonderful book...you wont be sorry.
Date published: 2008-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Classic Worth Reading I always have a really hard time getting into classic novels and as such am always afraid of reading them. For the most part it always feels as if I should expect to write a book report afterwards and that the story itself will be written in this "old-fashioned" way. It was with great surprise that I really found myself enjoying "East of Eden". I actually really like the story, the pace, and all of the characters Steinbeck created. This is one where I truly understand why after all this time people still talk about it and still enjoy reading it.
Date published: 2008-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Impossible to put down! Really touching story... This is a great book and a true classic. A must-read!
Date published: 2007-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MY FAVOURITE I chose to read this book for a final in a course I took and I'm so happy I picked this one. The imagery, metaphors, and characters are so beautifully crafted. This was a fantastic read!
Date published: 2007-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Some parts were a little slow for me but then something would happen and then before I knew it, I couldn't put the book down and when I did all I could think about was "what will happen next?".
Date published: 2006-06-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very disturbing. I found this book very disturbing. One of those books where men try to play out fantasies about how they think women really think....but far, so far from the truth....attempted abortions, manipulative hookers...really not so taseful.
Date published: 2006-06-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Shocked! I was pleasantly surprized when I read East of Eden. I didn't know what to expect, I hadn't had much luck with other "oprah book club" books. I read Grapes of Wrath in high school and apparently that was a little too deep for a 17 year old because I hated it. My friend told me that I NEEDED to read this book and I'm glad I did. I may not have liked the characters but I cared about what happened to them. This one is a keeper.
Date published: 2006-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Wow. This was the first time I read a Steinbeck novel and I was thoroughly impressed. The characters are rich, the story moves along beautifully and the theme of Able and Cain holds a strong impact to the reader. The saying 'Thou Mayest' will now become part of my own internal monologue. I highly recommend this novel!
Date published: 2005-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from East of Eden An alien from another planet could study this book, and when finished have a full and complete understanding of all humans and how they think and feel, from birth to death. The most inspiring highs to the most repulsive lows and all tangents in between. Hope, jealousy, success, happiness, pressure, hate, love, all loves and on and on.The old California setting adds nostalgic value to the epic, and today, serves an escape to a far and different land.Stienbeck is a master of creating a vivid picture in the mindês eye. The difference between the settings of the good ol days and today, strengthens the portrayal of the timeless spectrum of human emotion and being. Best read slowly and savored.
Date published: 2004-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining Read This was the first Steinbech novel I ever read and it took me a bit to get into it, but I loved it and highly recommend that everyone read it. The reason it took me a while to get into it is that Steinbech is extremely descriptive, but once you get used to the style, he draws you in and you don't want the story to end.
Date published: 2003-11-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not as difficult Don't let the 'size' of this book intimidate you. Once you have started, you can hardly put it down. Not one of those 'classic' books that you need to sometimes refer back because you have completed a page and have no idea what you have just read. An outstanding book and a very good choice for a book club.
Date published: 2003-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful It is a book that everyone should read. You will discover yourself in it. You will see that the purpose of life is not to be perfect as an individual but to know that you aren’t perfect!
Date published: 2003-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good and Evil This was Steinbeck's "first book" although, by this time, he had published the controversial "Grapes of Wrath." It outlines the history of two families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks, at the turn of the century. The dominant character is Cathy. She happens to be an evil whoremaster reponsible for the deaths of her parents and boss. She weds Adam Trask, and they have a couple of boys. But Cathy abandons her family. Adam spends the rest of his life in a search for meaning, bringing him eventually to the Masonic (of which there is only a page's mention). Multiple other characters are surveyed throughout. It is episodic rather than plot-driven. The book tended to be repetitive, but many of the sentences had striking similes. As always, we are shown with Steinbeck the struggles of the Californian working class.
Date published: 2001-05-11

Read from the Book

Chapter 1[1] THE SALINAS VALLEY is in Northern California. It is a long narrow swale between two ranges of mountains, and the Salinas River winds and twists up the center until it falls at last into Monterey Bay.I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer—and what trees and seasons smelled like—how people looked and walked and smelled even. The memory of odors is very rich.I remember that the Gabilan Mountains to the east of the valley were light gay mountains full of sun and loveliness and a kind of invitation, so that you wanted to climb into their warm foothills almost as you want to climb into the lap of a beloved mother. They were beckoning mountains with a brown grass love. The Santa Lucias stood up against the sky to the west and kept the valley from the open sea, and they were dark and brooding—unfriendly and dangerous. I always found in myself a dread of west and a love of east. Where I ever got such an idea I cannot say, unless it could be that the morning came over the peaks of the Gabilans and the night drifted back from the ridges of the Santa Lucias. It may be that the birth and death of the day had some part in my feeling about the two ranges of mountains.From both sides of the valley little streams slipped out of the hill canyons and fell into the bed of the Salinas River. In the winter of wet years the streams ran full-freshet, and they swelled the river until sometimes it raged and boiled, bank full, and then it was a destroyer. The river tore the edges of the farm lands and washed whole acres down; it toppled barns and houses into itself, to go floating and bobbing away. It trapped cows and pigs and sheep and drowned them in its muddy brown water and carried them to the sea. Then when the late spring came, the river drew in from its edges and the sand banks appeared. And in the summer the river didn’t run at all above ground. Some pools would be left in the deep swirl places under a high bank. The tules and grasses grew back, and willows straightened up with the flood debris in their upper branches. The Salinas was only a part-time river. The summer sun drove it underground. It was not a fine river at all, but it was the only one we had and so we boasted about it—how dangerous it was in a wet winter and how dry it was in a dry summer. You can boast about anything if it’s all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.  

From Our Editors

California's Salinas Valley is the proving grounds for John Steinbeck's version of Cain and Abel. East of Eden runs the course of two generations from the end of the American Civil War to the Beginning of the First World War. Adam Trask is innocent and fair. His wild brother Charles isn't - he sleeps with Adam's prostitute bride, the manipulative Cathy Ames, on the wedding night. Twins fall from her womb just days before she shoots her husband and runs off, leaving him to care for Aron and Caleb. The epic story of these lives, filled with heartbreak, betrayal and hope, consistently barters with human emotions in its convincing attempt to render the world conflicted.

Editorial Reviews

"A novel planned on the grandest possible scale...One of those occasions when a writer has aimed high and then summoned every ounce of energy, talent, seriousness, and passion of which he was capable...It is an entirely interesting and impressive book."—The New York Herald Tribune "A fantasia and myth...a strange and original work of art."—The New York Times Book Review "A moving, crying pageant with wilderness strengths."—Carl Sandburg"When the book club ended a year ago, I said I would bring it back when I found the book that was moving…and this is a great one. I read it for myself for the first time and then I had some friends read it. And we think it might be the best novel we've ever read!"—Oprah Winfrey