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The Good Earth 1st edition cover

A Pearl S. Buck novel.

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amazing historic insight and memorable story

  • Jun 30, 2010

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck was such an odd book. That said, it is completely memorable. I read it when I was quite young (junior high I think) and I still remember vivid mental pictures of the harsh life that the Chinese farmers led. The American author spent a great portion of her life in China, and grew up bilingual. The book tells the story of a poor farmer across many years of his life, starting when he is young and gets married to his wife. They have many hardships together, but after many years of hard work and successful farming, they are able to buy more land and become more and more successful. Unfortunately the success starts to corrode the morals and marriage of the main character and his sons. I don’t want to give too much away, but there are some very poignant twists near the end of the book that just burn in my memory. Perhaps the fact that I grew up on a farm really makes this book stand out to me. The main character knows that all of his wealth and success come from the land, and I totally identify with this emotional and intellectual tie he feels to the land.

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More The Good Earth reviews
review by . October 05, 2003
This work is a classic which describes life in the pre-  revolutionary period. The author traces the life of Wang Lung-  a Chinese peasant who eventually becomes wealthy through  land acquisition. The story progresses from a life of poverty  to the wealth of Wang Lung. The transition into a higher  social status is not a panacea of pure contentment because  the main character suffers a series of disappointments and  adversities. …
review by . June 28, 2010
i was really blown away by the way that buck was able to capture the many epic and changing moments of a man and family's life. i found myself particularly fond of the main character's wife, who handled the station in life that she was served with grace despite the many forces against her and humiliates that she underwent. i liked the way their relationship grew as the story progressed, and particularly the way the main character's outlook on the world changed as his station did. it …
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
Read this when in elementary school, and it has always been a favorite.
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
An all time favorite
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
I love the stories of Pearl Buck. This novel explains you the Chinese culture over a few generations.
review by . June 26, 2010
DELETE THESE QUESTIONS IF/AFTER YOU RESPOND!!       I thought this book was very interesting.  It teaches you about the Chinese culture and the different generations.  It was a great book which I do not think people still read today.       The book was recommended to me by one of my aunts and I think itis worth reading.  It is not trashy.  I read the book quite a while a go.   The book takes place in China.    …
Quick Tip by . June 25, 2010
My 9th grade geography teacher made us read this. Its interesting.
review by . June 23, 2010
I first read this book in high school. In fact, we read it every year that I was in high school and I hated it. I found it boring, and I didnt understand its relevance. In college, I was asked to read it once again.  That time it make more sense. Pearl. S. Buck does an amazing job following several generations of Chinese farmers as they experiance poverty and eventually wealth. This book delves very deeply into some of the customs of the …
Quick Tip by . June 19, 2010
I really wanted to love this book. I wanted to pick it up and never put it down. I wanted to really remember the characters and their struggles. But the truth is that I couldn't really do any of that. This book was frankly really dull.
review by . June 17, 2010
What was your emotional reaction as you read? Why? This book has a sorta life of it's own. I found it to be very touching, infuriating, humbling, simple and just plain "down to earth."  The author beautifully and effortlessly enveloped you in the world so different and yet so tangeble. I found it to be a very quick read and but the characters within have stayed with me through out the days, even since the frist day I started reading it.   This book is very …
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Michelle ()
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About this book


The Good Earth is a novel written by Pearl S. Buck. It was published in 1931, won the Pulitzer Prize a year later, and was adapted into a film in 1937. In addition to describing traditional Chinese village life, the novel helped gain support for a Chinese-American alliance in the 1930s in the face of looming war with Japan in World War II.

The story describes the life of a poor Chinese farmer who is forced to sell all his possessions in order to secure enough money to move south and seek employment. However, despite selling most of his possessions, the farmer refuses to sell his land. While working in the south, he joins a mob and robs a wealthy man. He uses his new wealth to return north with his family and begin cultivating his land. As the years pass, the farmer grows wealthier and is able to purchase a concubine. However, with his increased wealth arrives countless problems that plague him until his death.

Buck's The Good Earth focuses on two central themes: the power of wealth to destroy tradition, and the importance of man's connection to the earth. It was received warmly among the public and rocketed back to the best seller list when Oprah Winfrey chose the book to be part of her book club in 2004.   
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Author: Pearl S. Buck
Genre: Historical Fiction/Drama
Publisher: John Day
Date Published: March 2, 1931
ISBN: 0-381-98033-2
Format: Novel
Polls with this book
1984 (British first edition)

Collection of Classics


A Fine Balance

Oprahs Book Club 2000-2009


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