John's Steinbeck's 1939 tale of an "Oakie" family who crosses Route 66 seeking to escape the Dust Bowl only to discover California isn't the paradise it's been advertised as is one of the most iconic Great American Novels in our literary history. Its impact was profound and immediate: rarely has a novel been so viciously denounced simply for promoting the belief that all Americans deserve to make a living. But the novel has also been celebrated as a testament to democratic protest, inspiring folks songs by Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen that have in turn been covered by later generations of musicians such as Rage Against the Machine. This episode explores what makes the novel such a fan favorite, as well as the pros and cons of tackling politics in literature. We examine the curious role of Steinbeck's intercalary chapters, which, alternating with the story of the displaced Joad family, raise their plight to mythic levels. We also dig deep into the journalistic inspiration for the novel as well as its Hollywood legacy with John Ford's classic 1940 adaptation.