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Monograph Review– Walter J. Stein

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Okie family migrating to California in an old pick up truck with all their kin and belongings.

The monograph I chose that correlates with my intended topic beautifully is the book California and the Dust Bowl Migration by Walter J. Stein.  Before I put complete faith in this source however, I will do a simple background.

1) The author:

Although google is not infallible, there is really nothing on the author other than that he is a professor.  There are no wikipedia articles, no odd blogs, nothing.  In the book, there is no about the author and he gives nothing away in his preface or acknowledgments.  In the acknowledgments there can be found a lot of thanks to professors and universities or their help with his research.  He thanks The University of California,  The University of Winnipeg, and The Canadian Historical Association.  From all this I can gather that even if I can not find intimate details about Stein’s profession, I can at least assume he did extensive research on the subject he wrote this monograph about.

2) Publishing Company:

The publishing company for this book is Greenwood Press Inc. is a publishing company based in Westport, Connecticut, and London, England.  It is a educational and academic publishing company that prints works mostly by scholars and teachers.  This particular book is part of the Contributions in American History series, number 21.

3) When the book was published:

This book was first published in 1973, then again the same year, and then in paperback 1974.  There is no indication of the edition other than that it was published in 1973 and is hardback so I would assume it was a second printing of the book.

4) Relevance to paper topic:
This book is very specific to my paper topic.  The book is about Oklahoman’s and their migration to California and then the history of what happened to them when they got there.  From the first chapter, “In Oklahoma I busted– In California” I trusted to the last chapter, “The Failure to Organize the Okies” it focuses mainly on the Oklahoman’s and their exodus to California.  Furthermore skimming the index, there are many pages that are under “Steinbeck” which means Stein even references The Grapes of Wrath specifically in this book.

5) The Preface:

The preface is not exactly “the author’s moment to shine” in this book but a brief history of California; its history of migrant population and workforce.  If there would be any biased opinion that shows through the preface it would be the Stein’s confusion as to why California so rejected the Oklahoman’s when it was historically built up by a constant inflow of immigrants.  The Oklahoman’s were even white protestants as opposed to their migrant predecessors from various racial and religious backgrounds.

6) Impression from skimming every first and last page of each chapter:

This monograph is very specific to my paper topic and will be a great help in my research about whether Steinbeck created a historical myth of the Okies in his novel, The Grapes of Wrath.