“From start to finish I found no strangers. If I had, I

might be able to report them more objectively. But

these are my people and this is my country. If I found

matters to criticize and to deplore, they were tenden-

cies equally present in myself. If I were to prepare one

immaculately inspected generality it would be this: For

all of our enormous geographic range, for all of our

sectionalism, for all of our interwoven breeds drawn

from every part of the ethnic world, we are a nation, a

new breed. Americans are much more American than

they are Northerners, Southerners, Westerners, or

Easterners. And descendants of English, Irish, Italian,

Jewish, German, Polish are essentially American. This

is not patriotic whoop-de-do; it is carefully observed

fact. California Chinese, Boston Irish, Wisconsin Ger-

man, yes, and Alabama Negroes, have more in com-

mon than they have apart.And this is the more re-

markable because it has happened so quickly. It is a

fact that Americans from all sections and of all racial

extractions are more alike than the Welsh are like the

English, the Lancashireman like the Cockney, or for

that matter the Lowland Scot like the Highlander. It is

astonishing that this has happened in less than two

hundred years and most of it in the last fifty. The

American identity is an exact and provable thing.”

Excerpted from “Travels With Charley”, author, John Steinbeck.

Publisher: Viking Penguin Inc., 40 West 23rd. Street,

New York, New York 10010, U.S.A.