John Steinbeck would relish our economic decline if he were alive today, writes Rachel Dry in the Washington Post. The author of the Great Depression classic Grapes of Wrath, which is regaining popularity these days, romanticized economic hardship and grieved over the affluence of post-WWII America. "He'd think that maybe we're ready to learn a lesson or two," Dry writes.
"If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick," Steinbeck once wrote. Now that we've been "brought low by stuff," writes Dry, it's time to heed his advice. Her recommendation? Pick up one of his later, angrier books, like Travels With Charley in Search of America—which recounts his road trip through a nation gone soft in the 1960s.