Twenty-nine seconds in, Geert Mak starts talking about “Bill Steigerwald” during an interview in Holland last spring.
Mak’s book, “Travels Without John in Search of America” is being translated into English. Mak kindly mentions me about a dozen times, favorably. Someday we plan to meet — over there.
If you read/understand Dutch, enjoy:
Geert Mak was in Leeuwarden. Hij vertelt over het boek Reizen zonder John. Maar zijn roadtrip was niet helemaal uniek vertelt hij de aanwezigen. Er waren meer mensen die in de voetsporen van John Steinbeck treden.
For English readers:
If you can read Dutch, you can order Geert Mak’s new book “Traveling Without John in Search of America.” Mak, a well-known and high-quality journalist and author in the Netherlands, did what I did and carefully repeated Steinbeck’s trip in the fall of 2010.
Mak did a lot of the same Steinbeck research I did and his nearly 600-page book about the current state of America includes much of what I discovered about Steinbeck’s real trip.
Here, translated by Google’s clever but imperfect computers, is how the book is described on Mak’s web site:
Travelling without John
Looking for America
On September 23, 1960 left the legendary writer John Steinbeck and his poodle Charley for an expedition across the American continent. He wanted his country and his countrymen again know. Exactly fifty years later, on the hour, was Geert Mak again for the old house of Steinbeck. It was the beginning of a renewed inspection tour in the footsteps of Charley and John, but now with the eyes of 2010. What is the past half century in American cities and towns changed? Where is Main Street USA go?
Which dreams chased the Americans over the centuries their ideals? What is it ended? What remains of that “city on the hill”, the Promised Land which was once the world looked? And above all, what we have together, America and Europe in the 21st century?
Geert Mak avoided, like John Steinbeck, the beaten path. He drove thousands of miles through the potato fields of Maine and the infinity of the Midwest, sat day after day at the table with farmers, laborers, fishermen and schoolmasters, met with shiny suburbs and boarded-up village shops, searched, again and again, to the stories of this country which nobody ever gets finished.