Worth more than the sales of my ebook “Dogging Steinbeck” are the nice, smart comments I’ve gotten from my fellow journalists and perceptive readers at Amazon.com — without having to bribe a single one.
The great travel writer Paul Theroux, who doesn’t dig it when famous travel writers lie about their trips, hasn’t read the book. But he encouraged me to write it and has credited me for my findings of Steinbeck’s literary fraud.
“I compared his published letters with his travels and saw great discrepancies,” the author of “The Tao of Travel” told me in an email. “These facts have been public for years, but no one cared to mention them. … Steinbeck falsified his trip. I am delighted that you went deep into this.”
Curt Gentry, the author of a dozen books including “Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders” (with Vincent Bugliosi), did read “Dogging Steinbeck.” He’s also a “character” in it — a mini-hero, actually.
Here’s what Curt wrote about my book in his Amazon blurb:
“I still believe John Steinbeck is one of America’s greatest writers and I still love ‘Travels With Charley,’ be it fact or fiction or, as Bill Steigerwald doggedly proved, both. While I disagree with a number of Steigerwald’s conclusions, I don’t dispute his facts. He greatly broadened my understanding of Steinbeck the man and the author, particularly during his last years. And, whether Steigerwald intended it or not, in tracking down the original draft of ‘Travels With Charley’ he made a significant contribution to Steinbeck’s legacy. “Dogging Steinbeck” is a good honest book.”
Not everyone will like my book, what I say about Steinbeck or his book, or what I say about America and what/who ails it.
But whether “Dogging Steinbeck” is a bust-seller or a best-seller, comments like Theroux’s and Gentry’s are priceless.