Pacific Grove offers an unparalleled quality of life. Sharing borders with the Monterey Bay, City of Monterey, Pacific Ocean, and the Del Monte Forest, our town offers breathtaking views and recreational activities. The City provides services to the community including: excellent fire, emergency, and ocean rescue services; an award-winning natural history museum; the lowest crime rate of any city in Monterey County; a nationally-recognized 18-hole golf course; a monarch butterfly habitat sanctuary; sandy beaches; and, the oldest continuously-operating lighthouse on the west coast. We are known for our small-town hospitality and friendliness in a place we simply call '.' (from The City of Pacific Grove website)
Steinbeck and Ricketts were not only friends, they were collaborators. Steinbeck had been interested in marine biology since his days at Stanford University. In 1940, just after Steinbeck's epic novel The Grapes of Wrath was published, Steinbeck and Ricketts embarked on a six-week marine expedition to the Gulf of California. During the trip, which covered 4,000 miles of coastline, they discovered 35 new marine species. The following year, the book based on their expedition, Sea of Cortez , was published. It was co-written by Steinbeck and Ricketts.
John Steinbeck (1902-1968), born in
Salinas, California, came from a family of moderate means. He
worked his way through college at Stanford University
but never graduated. In 1925 he went to New York, where he tried
for a few years to establish himself as a free-lance writer, but
he failed and returned to California. After publishing some
novels and short stories, Steinbeck first became widely known
with Tortilla Flat (1935), a series of humorous stories
about Monterey paisanos.
Steinbeck's novels can all be classified as social novels dealing with the economic problems of rural labour, but there is also a streak of worship of the soil in his books, which does not always agree with his matter-of-fact sociological approach. After the rough and earthy humour of Tortilla Flat, he moved on to more serious fiction, often aggressive in its social criticism, to In Dubious Battle (1936), which deals with the strikes of the migratory fruit pickers on California plantations. This was followed by Of Mice and Men (1937), the story of the imbecile giant Lennie, and a series of admirable short stories collected in the volume The Long Valley (1938). In 1939 he published what is considered his best work, The Grapes of Wrath, the story of Oklahoma tenant farmers who, unable to earn a living from the land, moved to California where they became migratory workers.
Among his later works should be mentioned East of Eden (1952), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), and Travels with Charley (1962), a travelogue in which Steinbeck wrote about his impressions during a three-month tour in a truck that led him through forty American states. He died in New York City in 1968.